The Minor Gesture, by Erin Manning - Meeting #5 - Chapters 5 (Choreographing the Political) & 6 (Carrying the Feeling) [6/20]


(Douglas Duff) #1


print by Kai & Sunny

“We are outside the normal flow of time, we can’t express ourselves, and our bodies are hurtling us through life” - Naoki Higashida

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
9 AM MDT / 11 AM EDT

In your time zone: June 20, 2018 3:00 PM

ZOOM video conference:



We are reading The Minor Gesture by Erin Manning, with virtual meeting every 2 weeks between April 25 and July 4 for live discussion.

Reading Schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapters 5 and 6
  • Wednesday, June 27th, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapter 6, continued and Chapter 7
  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapter 8 and Postscript

Organizer: Geoffrey Edwards @Geoffrey_Edwards

Here is the video recording of our session :

(Douglas Duff) #2

“Poetry might constitute a linguistic meeting point for different neurological types, one that honours both the “unlost instinct” (or pure sensory knowing) of autistics and the symbolic proclivities of neurotypicals. The sensual splendour of the world, to which classical autistics are so attentive, shows up by analogy in poetry. Patterned syntax and sound, pulsating rhythm, emotional prosody as a function of tone— these things might induce non- literate autistics to grapple with poetry’s semantic content and, thus, functional language in general. In turn, neurotypicals might be restored to their sensing bodies, and as a result, better understand the sensory world of autistics. Each half of the neurological divide would commit itself to an ethic of neuro- cosmopolitanism. Each would concede the need for repair.” From R. Savarese’s “Gobs and Gobs of Metaphor”

(Geoffrey Edwards) #3

Here is the link to the William Forsythe work mentioned by Cora. Forsythe has done a fabulous amount of work, even since he did this, and a lot of it is available on the net via videoclips - I recommend just searching youtube or vimeo for his work and you will find much of interest. This link however is its own gold mine, giving access to one of the richest and most intriguing analyses of dance movement ever produced. Enjoy!

(Heather Fester) #4

Limits of the Body by HR Hegnaur:

HR’s note about the video: "‘What are the limits of the body?’ is a question that Akilah Oliver asked in a poetry workshop during the 2007 Summer Writing Program at Naropa University. "

(Bobbie Louise Hawkins, one of my favorite prose writers in the Beat tradition, appears as a voice in this video. She recently passed away–within the last month–and a memorial reading was held at Naropa. HR graduated from Naropa’s MFA.)

Growing out of our themes today, this Akilah Oliver recording/video seems relevant “In Aporia/The Stand Still World”:

Here’s one of my own poems that came to me during the call related to my own attempts to synthesize a logic from my empathic ways of understanding/processing the world, and how it has sometimes related to being punished. (The “think” line should carry more force than it does here.) This poem came out of an attempt in 2012 to write in meter for a class I was auditing. (Meter horribly frustrates my brain/subtle ear, so please forgive the formal ‘sins’–this one was also written before I started the MFA program):

A Conversation with Water

I want to feel the sunshine drench my skin
inside the cool yes dream of pool’s response.
My arms will pull the water back—my legs
unfold inside the smooth new waves.
Beside the pool I’ll drip til dry, the cool
layered on body’s heat until I bake.
But this reminds me suddenly of winter.
I think of snowfall when I was a kid.
In my yard, under the tree where my tireswing
hangs, I’m walking next to Dad. He stops and
says, “Why has the snow melted under the stick over there?”
“Where?” I say.
“There.” He points.
“I don’t know,” I say.
“Think,” he says.
I couldn’t feel the sun on dead dark bark.
Instead, I feel the anomaly of
water’s frozen fall. And how it lies in
thick white clouds so calm. I like how water
changes form, like ice contracting as it melts.
“Use your common sense,” he says.
I feel frustrated. “I don’t know!” I say.
I could only wonder at the depth of snow
around the stick with no sign of support.
By the pool, I will converse with the water drying
from my skin, the way the snow and sticks relate.

MC Escher drawing I was referring to (“Myself” in @johnnydavis54’s prompt):

I also had a a few things to add on politics, just to register some resonances after @madrush’s share. Marco’s comments reminded me of Lisa Delpit’s response to students’ right to their own language. “Students Right to their Own Language” is a statement by a professional organization in my field about teaching students with “nonstandard” dialects or even bilingual students. (Lisa’s statement may have preceded this official one–but the issues are part of an on-going conversation nonetheless.) There was a push to let students write in their “own” language from the home, to not try to “educate out of them” the language that was most familiar to their identity. Lisa Delpit (her Delpit (1988).pdf (1.1 MB)
if you want to see the full thing) responds by saying:




I see Delpit’s gesture as one that is endemic to integral thought, “holding the complexity,” in a situation as a way of seeing.

I found that a couple of my own responses to Erin’s own presencing of neurodiversity and neurotypicality is that I wonder how foregrounded the privilege of neurotypical aspects of her own awareness (and what these facilitate) are–especially in this text at the time of her inquiry. Are they invisible as privilege often is described to be? This is not pointing out a short-coming (when it comes from me anyway). I see this as a progressive disclosure that happens–we may be very near a topic, like neurodiversity, and then in deepening and encountering other perspectives, we exfoliate the layers of what we think we “know” and what we “don’t know.” That’s what I’m wondering about here. I think Marco’s critique was right on. And, I also think that the deconstruction work she’s done points so usefully to the nature of neuro-construction of identity/self/experience and how these relate to typicality and subjectivity. A broader view would include her own awareness and discussion of what neurotypical facilitates (maybe), something I’m aware of now after Marco’s comment.

I also wonder if Chapter 5 is committing a bit of a “romanticizing the native” fallacy that Ken Wilber has gone on for years about (re: pre/trans fallacies). I’m not conflating autistic perception with “nativism” by any stretch of the imagination. What I’m pointing to is the “romantic” quality attributed through descriptions of the “other” (as poetic, as richer in experience, etc.). Washburn gave some good critiques of Ken’s pre/trans fallacy as well that might pertain here. I haven’t had a chance to read this article yet, but it references the pre/trans, moving beyond it, and Washburn, so it might be of interest.

There is yet more to respond to from John’s exercise (Great call today!), and what’s coming up for me with the “carrying across” process has to do with formal magic, which I’ve been reflecting on in new ways (and as formative in my development from early on) after reading Gary Lachman’s first few chapters of Dark Star Rising, which @johnnydavis54 linked to (as an interview) in the Life Divine group. Lachman has another interview here (just in case you’re becoming a fan, as I am now moreso. This is an interview of Lachman by Gebserian Aaron Cheak on esotericism and philosophy.) I may come back and say more on magic and Colin Wilson’s discussion of James on volition and depression if I have a chance. (Which relates to another of my favorite Jamesian words that also applies to art: dynamogeny.)

So many tangents (roots of the rhizome), so little time. But, I hope coherence is present as a throughline, even if it is my idiocoherent self that holds them together. Myself. I am. Me, my, mine, ours, and theirs too.


(Geoffrey Edwards) #5

Here is the moving Voronoi diagram. I couldn’t find any animations from my colleague, but this is one showing when all the points are moving :