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Victoria Gray

Published date
19 Jun 2018

Towards a Kinesthetic Universe: Mechanisms of Affective Perception and the Politics of Affective Registers in Performance and Writing

Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

This practice-led PhD project foregrounds kinesthetics as a mechanism for perceiving affective sensations and affective relations that are experienced in and between bodies.

I have developed an embodied and qualitative research methodology whereby kinesthetics are conceived of as a kind of effect, making the sensate kinesthetic experience of the body and its relation to others the object of intentional consciousness (Noland, 2009).

Specifically, this research project adopts and extends corporeal techniques of embodiment, particularly, temporal strategies of slowness, durational performance and stillness, in combination with sensing unsighted. These techniques have been deployed in solo performance, transferred to performative writing and applied in everyday life; all of which are considered sites of 'affective-discursive practice' (Wetherell, 2012) in this research.

However, kinesthetics, as a modality of apprehension is an underdeveloped area of theory and practice according to Dempster (2008), Fabius (2009), Foster (2011), Gardner (2008), Noland (2009) and Reason and Reynolds (2012).

Furthermore, whilst the overarching intention of affect studies in 'the corporeal turn' (Sheets-Johnstone, 1990; 2009) has been to bring the body back into focus in critical and cultural debate, there is a paradoxical lack of theorization regarding kinesthetic  experience in 'the affective turn' (2007).

This can be observed specifically in works by Massumi (2002; 2011) and in works by Manning (2007; 2009a; 2013a).

Through initial problematisation of these literatures, this research project challenges the abstraction of affect as that which is outside of perception and disavows claims that affect is outside of language, subjectivity and emotion.

I place theories and techniques of somatic practice in conversation with a close reading of the work of affect theorist Erin Manning.

In particular, I focus on ways in which Manning's temporal and relational affective theories of 'preacceleration' (2009a), 'prearticulation' (2009a) and 'transsubjectivity' (Manning, 2007; 2009a) can be embodied through kinesthetic strategies. In doing so, I develop a pragmatic kinesthetic framework for perceiving, articulating and practicing affect in performance, writing and the everyday asking; what are the politics of kinesthetic practices if exercised as affective temporal and sensorial ruptures in artistic and cultural contexts?


Dr Hayley Newman

Professor Jane Collins