I recently had the privilege of indexing Erin Manning’s forthcoming book Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance. I will write a review for it once it is released in January and a post on what it is like to write an index (this was my first). For now you will find below a description of the book and some endorsements.
In Always More Than One, the philosopher, visual artist, and dancer Erin Manning explores the concept of the “more than human” in the context of movement, perception, and experience. Working from Whitehead’s process philosophy and Simondon’s theory of individuation, she extends the concepts of movement and relation developed in her earlier work toward the notion of “choreographic thinking.” Here, she uses choreographic thinking to explore a mode of perception prior to the settling of experience into established categories. Manning connects this to the concept of “autistic perception,” described by autistics as the awareness of a relational field prior to the so-called neurotypical tendency to “chunk” experience into predetermined subjects and objects. Autistics explain that, rather than immediately distinguishing objects—such as chairs and tables and humans—from one another on entering a given environment, they experience the environment as gradually taking form. Manning maintains that this mode of awareness underlies all perception. What we perceive is never first a subject or an object, but an ecology. From this vantage point, she proposes that we consider an ecological politics where movement and relation take precedence over predefined categories, such as the neurotypical and the neurodiverse, or the human and the nonhuman. What would it mean to embrace an ecological politics of collective individuation?
“In this book, Erin Manning takes us on an amazing journey. It is a journey of philosophical thought, to be sure; but it is also a journey of bodies in motion, through landscapes that are enlivened and transformed by their passage. Always More Than One is a book about the vitality of the in-between. It presents a vision of life adding to life, whether in the simplest everyday encounters, or in the densely articulated webs of works of art.”—Steven Shaviro, author of Post Cinematic Affect
“In Always More Than One, Erin Manning produces a truly original choreographic thinking. I don’t just mean that she writes about choreography. She thinks how the body moves, and moves her writing in step with that thinking. She performs an expanded choreography, developed in dialogue with dance, putting dance in dialogue with other practices. A must for dancers who think – and philosophers who wish they could dance.”—William Forsythe, Choreographer and Artistic Director of The Forsythe Company
“Erin Manning’s book offers a philosophy of neurodiverse perception, encouraging us “not to begin with the pre-chunked.” How ironic, then, that the impulse to categorize and to pathologize is generally seen as evidence of the normate’s proper functioning. In Manning’s splendid book, autism comes to signify not a disorder but a relational “dance of attention,” one that refuses to strand any entity at the margin of our concern.”—Ralph James Savarese, coeditor of Autism and the Concept of Neurodiversity, a special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly