Category Archives: Rhythmanalysis

Rhythmanalysis Seminar: Yi Chen

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There is a new seminar series hosted at Goldsmiths and organised by Paola Crespi, Mike Featherstone, and Sunil Manghani called: ‘Rhythmanalysis: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask’.

Unfortunately, I missed the first session on ‘Rhythm in the work of Gilles Deleuze’ given by Stamatia Portanova. This week’s session, given by Yi Chen, was on ‘Rhythm and Rhythmanalysis’. Yi talked about her book on Practising Rhythmanalysis (2016) and on working with rhythmanalysis as philosophy and method to explore two sites: walking practices in the East End of London in the 1970s and the institutional rhythms of the British postal system in the years immediately after the Second World War.

To get at these two sites, Yi developed and distinguished between two connected concepts of rhythm, as bodily meta-sense and as assemblages of time-space activity.

There was some very interesting discussion about the impact of distinguishing between these two senses of rhythm (as meta-sense and as time-space), for Lefebvre’s project of rhythmanalysis and the potential of what Yi described as a non-essentialist method. Understanding rhythms at different “scales” is something that I have struggled with myself, in exploring immediate and extremely visceral bodily rhythms like the rhythms of martial arts and much “larger” phenomena like the institutional rhythms that comprise hospitals. So it was very useful to think about how and whether this issue needed resolving.

I did have some reservations about the idea of “applying rhythmanalysis”, and about the questions that followed about which methods rhythmanalysis might be best applied to. For me, this comes back to the question of ‘what is a theory?’. I also thought that there was more to say about the idea of eurhythmia and arrhythmia – so I will write a separate short post about that.

The next session has two talks, the first by Paola Crespi on ‘Rhythm in the Work of Rudolf Laban’ and the second by Sunil Manghani on ‘Rhythm and the Neutral’.