It was probably Herzog who first brought it to my attention. I was enthralled by the way that his molars would grind, his tongue lubricate and his lips envelop in Bavarian German the three parts of that cumbersome composite word: “finger”-“spitzen”-“gefühl”. Finger. Top(s). Feeling.
(Mind you, I’ve never actually heard Werner Herzog speak this word. I read it once in an interview published in some book about him that a lover had for keeps. But I also hear Herzog pronouncing the station names with every stop on Vienna’s U4, so figure that. [It’s only the metro that goes in the direction of Hüttelsdorf, by the way.])
“Fingerspitzengefühl” would translate as “intuition” in English, but the airiness of this word is deeply disappointing to me. There is gravitas and a satisfying, clunky thoroughness to the German variant. Doesn’t a situation in which knowing-what-to-do/know-without-really-registering-it-before-you’ve-done/expressed-it exactly start with that odd feeling in your fingertips, a secret knowledge? It’s as tactile as the sweat which builds up, irresistibly, at the point of excitement and discovery.
Ah. Perhaps I rhapsodize about this word unduly. There are others, after all. For the moment, though, this is the one I need.
Hi. I’m ET. I’m starting at/with Theater der Unterdrückten Wien (Theatre of the Oppressed Vienna) in early 2012. It’s time for a blog.
“Theatre of the Oppressed” is basically a series of theatrical forms which allow to explore certain knowledges and situations socially and relationally. Ostensibly it’s a series of practices that is somewhere on the borderline between social work, theatre craft and an exploration of learning through group dynamics — the exact proportions of which depend on the nature of each topic.
You might want to check out what Augusto Boal has to say on it. He’s kind of the guy who started thinking in this vein, fusing Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and its argument for treating the learner as an accomplice in creating knowledge with theatre practice and all that.