Erin Manning holds a University Research Chair in Relational Art and Philosophy in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). She is also the director of the SenseLab, a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. Her current art practice is centred on large-scale participatory installations that facilitate emergent collectivities. Current art projects are focused around the concept of minor gestures in relation to colour, movement and participation. Publications include Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance (Duke UP, 2013), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009) and, with Brian Massumi, Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (Minnesota UP, 2014) and The Minor Gesture (Duke UP, 2016).
Abstract |Plenary address: “Affirmation without Credit”
Into all abysses I still carry the blessings of my saying Yes.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
The minor gesture is an operative cut that opens experience to its potential. This operation is affirmative to its core – it affirms the field in its transformation, and it affirms the way this transformation emboldens the in-act of experience in the making. Affirmation is the creative force of a reorientation in the event. What affirmation does, how it effects the cut, is what gives it affective valence in the event. The affirmative cut of the minor gesture catalyzes a reordering. Cuts are not good or bad. It is what they do that makes a difference. The affirmative cut is not the bestowing of a value judgment onto experience. Affirmation is not good or evil, optimistic or cruel.
My presentation will consist of a series of propositions about affirmation and the minor gesture. My aim will be to explore the force of the political at the heart of the Nietzschean concept of affirmation, allied with the complexity of what minor gestures can do.
Abstract |Lecture-performance: “Against Method, or What Else the Threshold Can Do”
For the last decade, the SenseLab has explored what else is at the heart of collective processes. An experimental environment for the exploration of how events are fashioned (and fashion themselves) we have operated, always, at the cusp where processes meet. This meeting, often between art and philosophy, or philosophy, art and activism, or philosophy and politics has aimed to remain sensitive to the singularity of practice, refusing to assume that processes easily connect and fold into each other. Art does its work on its own terms, as does philosophy.
The what else that has consumed us, and continues to move our practice, is always to be discovered. This discovery – of the force of process, of the more-than, of the transindividual at the heart of collectivity – requires an attention to thresholds as they emerge. This is often not easy, or comfortable work: the what else tends to unnerve, to desituate as much as it excites and enlivens.
This workshop will take as its point of departure that the what else resists method. It will resist any facile overcoding of art and philosophy, or art and politics, preferring instead to explore the complex differentials activated in their coming together. It will ask how the threshold between art and philosophy creates potentials for thought in the making, and what kinds of practices need be invented to activate the potential of that threshold. And it will inquire into those processes, of the threshold, that resist human centering.