Choreographic Objects

Synthesizing Whitehead and Deleuze, Erin Manning  (Always More than One) explicates William Forsythe’s notion of choreographic objects.

First, it’s important to clarify that choreography isn’t just something that professional dancers do.  “Choreography happens everywhere, all the time.”  Our lives are immersed in “everyday choreographies.” (91)

Choreographic objects can take their departure from any “everyday object: a balloon, a piece of cardboard, a mirror” (92).  The choreographic object opens the question of what else a body can do, a question that calls for experimental movement.  How does the object create open situations for movement experimentation?  “The choreographic object activates experimentation and play by bringing together the pastness of experience (the object as we know it) and its futurity (the object-ecology in its novel unfolding)” (95).

For Manning, choreographic objects are relational, ecological, participatory.

They extend beyond their objectness to become ecologies for complex environments that propose dynamic constellations of space, time, and movement.  These “objects” are in fact propositions co-constituted by the environments they make possible.  They urge participation.  Through the objects, spacetime takes on a resonance, a singularity: it becomes bouncy, it floats, it shadows.  The object becomes a missile for experience that inflects a given spacetime with a spirit of experimentation.  We could call these objects “choreographic objectiles” [in Deleuze’s sense of objectile] to bring to them the sense of incipient movement their dynamic participation within the relational environment calls forth. (92)

Cosmopolitics of Bodies: Participatory Ecologies

Still thinking of bodies, remembering Spinoza’s point that no one has yet determined what a body can do.  This is a crucial point for ontological accounts of bodies as well as for ethicopolitical interactions with bodies.  Don’t just create new determinations of what bodies are.  Create open situations for the activation of the virtual capacities harbored in the unfathomable indeterminacy of bodies.

Still thinking of bodies, colliding and colluding with the “participatory ecologies” of the distributed, complex, relational body articulated in Erin Manning’s new work of philosophical choreography, Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance (Duke, 2013), p. 110-122.

More-than its taking-form, “body” is an ecology of processes (and practices, as Isabelle Stengers might say) always in co-constellation with the environmentality of which it is part.  A body is a complex activated through phases in collision and collusion, phasings in and out of processes of individuation that are transformed—transduced—to create new iterations not of what a body is but of what a body can do.  What we tend to call “body” and what is experienced as the wholeness of a form is simply one remarkable point, one instance of a collusion materializing as this or that. [..] Continuity and discontinuity commingling to activate the singular in a field of difference. (p. 19)

The inventive task of the ecology of practices that Stengers calls “cosmopolitics” is not simply to map relations of difference, but to activate virtual singularities….

Singularities of the cosmos unite!