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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

Housing the Body (2007)

“what emanates from the body and what emanates from the architectural surround intermixes”
Arakawa & Gins

August 24-27, 2007 at the Society for Arts and Technology, Montréal

Part 2 of Technologies of Lived Abstraction a 4-part event sponsored by The Sense Lab (Erin Manning, Concordia University ) and the Workshop in Radical Empiricism (Brian Massumi, Université de Montréal)

“In the skin itself,” wrote William James, “there is a vague form of projection into a third dimension.” Conversely, in the third dimension there is an echo of the skin. The body is not what is inside the skin. The body is what emerges at the intersection where what is inside the skin reaches out to meet its environmental return. The body is what makes a life of a moving in-between.

This event will be dedicated to a collective exploration of the dynamic cross-genesis of the body and its constructed environment. The environment will be taken to include not only the architectural surround but also technological and cultural extensions of it. This cross-genesis involves not only the reciprocal reach-and-return of skin and space, but also extends to other modes of perception (proprioception, hearing, vision, smell). For Bergson as for theorists of “embodied cognition,” the relation between perception in all its modes and action is also one of reciprocal reach-and-return. This wider cross-genesis, of action and perception, in turn opens onto thought. Every perception: already a thinking in action. Every act: a thought in germ. The premise of this event is that there is generative nexus between action, perception and conception which can be modulated from the environmental side. In constructing our environment we are not only housing the body, we are building modes of embodied experience and thought. We are refitting the body for new forms of life: cross-dressing its self-expressive potentials. The event is conceived as a collaborative exploration of this extended nexus, zeroing in on the formative moment at which action, perception, and conception constructively (e)merge together and diverge.

“our agenda should be to short-circuit action, perception and construction” Lars Spuybroek

This is not a conference. There will be no prepared communications. It is a “research creation” event organized along the lines of a structured improvisation. We would like to challenge the dichotomy between creation and thought/research by establishing a working environment in which the emphasis will be placed on the ways in which creative research reinvents collaboration and on the new modes of thought and action this makes possible. This project proposes to create such a platform of experimentation – where the body is actively produced through technologically mediated environment – in order to foster the future potential of research-creation. What we propose is to ask how movements of thought can engender creative tools that further the production of culture. New forms of collaboration are here not simply locales for experimentation: they are matrices of cultural becoming. Experimentation will function as much at this collective level as at the conceptual level, and on both levels technically. The aim of the event is produce a platform for speculative pragmatism where what begins technically as a movement is immediately a movement of thought. Participants are invited to propose pragmatic “platforms of relation” that can be experimented with during the event.

“our bodies penetrate the sofas upon which we sit, and the sofa penetrates the body” Boccioni

Come couch with us Invited Participants: TONI DOVE, Independent artist, New York 

GREG LYNN, University of California-Los Angeles / FORM Architectural Office