Contributor profile: Philipa Rothfield

Philipa Rothfield, video still

Philipa Rothfield, video still

Bio

I’ve just left my job of 22 years, where I lectured in philosophy at La Trobe University. While I’ve always done other things, especially dance, it’s still a big deal for me to leave the institution. One idea behind my leaving is to make space for “other things.”

So, what happened next? I began this year in exactly the same way as last year: I had the same writing obligations, a book chapter for an edited collection, two art pieces, all the while waiting to return to my book. Ironically, finishing my book is one of the main reasons I have left (academic, paid) work. I am more or less halfway through. It is momentous. It ties together my interest in the body, dance and movement, with the stimulation and elaboration of conceptual thinking. Hopefully, I won’t end up like Albert Camus’ character, Joseph Grand, forever writing and rewriting the first sentence of his novel. Apart from that, life goes on, supremely busy but in a nice way. I feel I have a wider horizon of possibility now that I am not locked into a job. Meantime, I return to the body, my body, moving, dancing, rolling, stretching, this way and that. Dancing is one of my great loves.

Exposé

It was nice when, 15-odd years ago, I began to write for RealTime. No footnotes, less protocols, the writing itself was fun. Academic writing is one thing, and I love it. It is especially suited to philosophy, which is a very specific technique. But the flow of writing about art for a different kind of audience is pleasurable for its sheer freedom of form. Not that there aren’t certain constraints, such as obligations towards the artist and the work.

Writing makes you think. It thinks for you. That’s why I’m writing this big book. I have already laid out its philosophical landscape but the detail and depth only comes through the writing. It is emergent. I pursue lines of thought which are not yet formed. I fiddle with them. I read, present and play with concepts and the formation of ideas. These ideas are themselves part of a social and cultural milieu, which poses and provokes problems for thought. In my writing, I move between domains of thought, practice and flashes of insight embedded in movement. After reading a short piece on habit, I will dive back into this interconnected morass of thought.

Selected articles

an intense manifestation of dance
philipa rothfield: dance massive 2013, melbourne
RealTime issue #113 Feb-March 2013 p6

tweaking reality
philipa rothfield: this monster body and one show only
RealTime issue #110 Aug-Sept 2012 p34

between one and the many
philipa rothfield: ros warby, tower suites
RealTime issue #108 April-May 2012 p24

dancing across waves
philipa rothfield experiences contamination and distance at next wave
RealTime issue #26 Aug-Sept 1998 p8

surprising even the body that makes it
philipa rothfield on improvised dance works in melbourne
RealTime issue #25 June-July 1998 p15

See Philipa talking about dance and Dancehouse, as part of their 20 year anniversary celebrations

RealTime issue #113 Feb-March 2013 pg. web

6 March 2013
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