Legendary French Prima Ballerina Sylvie Guillem speaks about doubt and taking risks in this clip from her 1996 art documentary Evidentia (Evidence), where she communicates her vision of dance through film, featuring works by her favorite choreographers including William Forsythe, Jonathan Burrows, and Mats Ek.
Rhetorically speaking, the public gathered here as a crowd communicates with vividness (what the Romans called evidentia) and copiousness that reside in the gestures and gaits of particular bodies, fluidly arranged in this ritual setting of time-out-from-routine-time. Individuals stand in composite testimony to the lives of particular others in the area. As a result, the fair provides very literal grounds upon which to enlarge and populate one’s social imagination. Here I am thinking of Hannah Arendt’s idea of an “enlargement of the mind” that consists of taking into account the thoughts of others by imagining their judgments of particular things. ‘To think with an enlarged mentality,’ Arendt wrote, 'means that one trains one’s imagination to go visiting.’ Live mass assemblies like the fair provide corporeal cues for an enlarged mentality tied to a particular place. They provide materials for adjusting one’s social picture and correcting the inevitable demographic biases it contains, based on one’s routine and interactional circles.
Peter Simonson, Refiguring Mass Communication: A History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010), 178.