Erin Manning Former Senior Fellow

Erin Manning
April - August 2017


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).

Dated from 2017

Fields of research

I work across art, philosophy and activism. My artworks explore conditions of emergent collectivity, often working with textile as medium. Currently my practice explores the synesthesia of colour-smell. My next exhibition will take place at the Public Art Biennale of Tunis in October 2017. My writing explores the relations between movement, art, neurodiversity and the political through the lens of process philosophy. I am particularly interested in more-than human ecologies of practices and the minor gestures they make palpable.

IKKM Research Project

Of Cuffs and Curcuma - working at the intersection of material practice and smell, I will explore the force of form and its disorientations.

Of Cuffs and Curcuma is part of the ongoing research of The Slow Colour Project, which has now had several iterations. The first iteration, entitled The Smell of Red 1, was a large-scale installation made up of a wearable collection the public was invited to dye with spices from the Americas. The second and third iterations, in collaboration with Nathaniel Stern, also entitled The Smell of Red, were large-scale spice environments that explored the sense relations between cinnamon, paprika and cocoa. In October 2017, I will be showing a new version of work, this time called The Colour of Time, at the Tunis Art-Rue Biennale.

I am calling the phase of the project that will unfold at the IKKM from April-August 2017 Of Cuffs and Curcuma to underscore the project’s interest in the theme of this session – Sehen und Verursachen. Working with 3 large pieces of hand-woven fabric, I am pulling out the threads and then sewing them back in. This work engages with the making perceptible of what is already there but often unseen. My interest in cuffs in this context has to do with a curiosity about the edgings of experience that trouble the line between ornamentation and form. The curcuma has to do with continuing my experiments with the relationship between smell and colour.

Continuing my work on minor gestures (The Minor Gesture, Duke UP, 2016), and exploring ways of knowing that are neurodiverse, my research explores how else / what else we sense when colour and smell begin to co-compose. Dyeing with curcuma using mordants that move the colour from yellow to red, I am interested in exploring what is missed, cast aside, forgotten in the act of perception. I am also interested in creating the conditions for the intensity of experience unparsed that is at the heart of what I have called autistic perception.

As always, my work will travel between art-making and philosophy. Though my focus will be on practice during this period, I will continue to research the relationship between neurodiversity and black life. This work, the first portion of which I will present as my public talk, will eventually become my next book manuscript.

Recent publications

The Minor Gesture. Duke University Press, 2016.
Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Perception, with Brian Massumi. Minnesota University Press, 2014.
Always More Than One: Individuation's Dance. Duke University Press, 2012.
Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy. MIT Press, 2009.
Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty. Minnesota UP, 2007.