Thought in the Act

Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience

Erin Manning
Brian Massumi
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctt6wr79f
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  • Book Info
    Thought in the Act
    Book Description:

    "Every practice is a mode of thought, already in the act. To dance: a thinking in movement. To paint: a thinking through color. To perceive in the everyday: a thinking of the world's varied ways of affording itself." -fromThought in the ActCombining philosophy and aesthetics,Thought in the Actis a unique exploration of creative practice as a form of thinking. Challenging the common opposition between the conceptual and the aesthetic, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi "think through" a wide range of creative practices in the process of their making, revealing how thinking and artfulness are intimately, creatively, and inseparably intertwined. They rediscover this intertwining at the heart of everyday perception and investigate its potential for new forms of activism at the crossroads of politics and art.

    Emerging from active collaborations, the book analyzes the experiential work of the architects and conceptual artists Arakawa and Gins, the improvisational choreographic techniques of William Forsythe, the recent painting practice of Bracha Ettinger, as well as autistic writers' self-descriptions of their perceptual world and the experimental event making of the SenseLab collective. Drawing from the idiosyncratic vocabularies of each creative practice, and building on the vocabulary of process philosophy, the book reactivates rather than merely describes the artistic processes it examines. The result is a thinking-with and a writing-in-collaboration-with these processes and a demonstration of how philosophy co-composes with the act in the making.Thought in the Actenacts a collaborative mode of thinking in the act at the intersection of art, philosophy, and politics.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4227-8
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Part I. Passages

    • COMING ALIVE IN A WORLD OF TEXTURE: FOR NEURODIVERSITY
      (pp. 3-22)

      “There was very little difference in meaning,” says autistic Daina Krumins, “between the children next to the lake that I was playing with and the turtle sitting on the log. It seems,” she continues, “that when most people think of something being alive they really mean, human” (quoted in Miller 2003, 23–89).¹

      What is it we really mean, when we say “human”? According to autism activist Amanda Baggs, we certainly don’t mean “autistic” (2010c). We mean “neurotypical,” we mean expressing oneself predominantly in spoken language, and most of all, we mean being immediately focused on humans to the detriment...

    • A PERSPECTIVE OF THE UNIVERSE: ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD MEETS ARAKAWA AND GINS
      (pp. 23-30)

      “There is an apportioning out that can register and an apportioning out that happens more indeterminately” (Arakawa and Gins 2002, 5).¹ The apportioning out that can register issense, meaning “cognition: apprehension.” The apportioning out that happens more indeterminately is a perception preceding cognitive operation. Apprehension without the “ap-” and with the emphasis on the new first syllable:prehension. It all begins with an uncognitivetaking account ofan as-yet-indeterminate apportioning out (Whitehead 1967b, 69). Difference is founded upon this preoperation (“else all bodies would be alike”). A body comes into its own already finding itself in a difference-making taking-account....

    • JUST LIKE THAT. WILLIAM FORSYTHE: BETWEEN MOVEMENT AND LANGUAGE
      (pp. 31-58)

      In 2001, the Forsythe Company createdWoolf Phrase,¹ a piece conceived from Virginia Woolf’s novelMrs Dalloway, generated, as Forsythe says, by “moving around the rhythm of Woolf’s language” (Sulcas 2001). From its conception, the piece is about movement and language coming together and in relay. Its project: to make a movement phrase of the movement of Woolf’s phraseology.

      The piece begins and ends in a recurrent circling that asks us to encounter how language opens itself to movement and how movement co-composes with this opening. Refrains return again and again: “just like that,” “somehow,” “all of a sudden,” “PAAF!”...

    • NO TITLE YET. BRACHA ETTINGER: MOVED BY LIGHT
      (pp. 59-80)

      Faces. They come and go. They drift, resizing themselves as they shift. At times, they separate from the figures supporting them. The figures also come and go. They multiply forth, no sooner to recede. Vicissitudes of face and figure move through the painting series, in ephemeral community. Their restless movement is not governed by the principles of portraiture, nor by those of figuration in any traditional sense. Bracha Ettinger says of her paintings that they “have their own formative axis that goes through the painting process” (2010). That axis, she explains, is light. The faces and figures that come and...

  5. Part II. Propositions

    • FOR THOUGHT IN THE ACT
      (pp. 83-134)

      The art and intellectual worlds in which we work, specifically in Montreal, are visibly conflicted, as much within the academic institution as among the many independent cultural producers contributing to the city’s international reputation as a creative haven. There is a general recognition that the conditions for research and creative activity have significantly changed with the rise of an increasingly speculative, high-turnover, innovation-driven “knowledge economy.” The “creative capital” fueling the economy tends to derive from fluid forms of social and intellectual cooperation often analyzed in terms of “immaterial labor,” defined as “the labor that produces the informational and cultural content...

  6. POSTSCRIPT TO GENERATING THE IMPOSSIBLE
    (pp. 135-152)

    The previous chapter,Propositions for Thought in the Act, was written as an invitation to voyage. Its purpose was to convey a terrain collectively traveled, in preparation for a coming foray. It was addressed to fellow travelers already in the SenseLab network, and to others who might be inspired to come aboard. It was a kind of conceptual bill of lading attesting to what was coming in the collective baggage, not as an anchor to a particular past, but more as a flotation device for the next lap. In its own terms, it was a platform for relation for the...

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 153-168)
  8. REFERENCES
    (pp. 169-174)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 175-188)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-190)