Erin Manning (US) – Meta.Morf 2018 Conference @ Dokkhuset, March 9 – 10, 2018
See full program here.

Every possible feeling produces a movement, and that movement is a movement of the entire organism, and of each of its parts.
William James
A thousand other things sing to me.
John Lee Clark


Not at a Distance On Touch, Synaesthesia and Other Ways of Knowing

Feeling-with the world might be the best definition of synaesthesia. To feel-with is to be incapable of drawing firm boundaries between sensation, experience and world. Bodies don’t lose their limits (as “loss of sense of agency” would suggest), they continuously trouble the edgings into experience of both, making apparent that there never was a firm boundary that separated body and world.
These are the assumptions that come with neurotypicality: that a body is an enclosure; that the world is at arm’s length from the body; that certain bodies have more value than others (white bodies, able bodies); that there is a baseline of sensation that is “normal”; that there are five senses that can be delineated from one another; that life without any of those senses is a truncated life.
In this return to an account of touch ten years after publishing Politics of Touch, I hope to do four things: 1) demonstrate that the force of reaching-toward, which is how I defined touch in Politics of Touch, troubles the model of “sense of agency” at the heart of accounts of mirror-touch synaesthesia; 2) build on John Lee Clark’s account of distantism as it plays out not only in DeafBlind culture but more broadly in the neurotypical worldview; 3) consider the ways in which accounts of mirror-touch synaesthesia as well as synaesthesia more broadly support a deficit model of sensation that is deeply neurotypical; 4) explore how ProTactile, a movement for language-in-the-making and DeafBlind experience, remaps the spacetime of sensation away from the categorical limitations that come with the imposition of sensory regimes that privilege the body-world separation.

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. Current art projects are focused around the concept of minor gestures in relation to colour and movement. 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).