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A Somatics of Affect: Articulating Affective-Kinaesthetic Experience through BMC approaches to Performance and Writing

Gray, Victoria Kent (2017) A Somatics of Affect: Articulating Affective-Kinaesthetic Experience through BMC approaches to Performance and Writing. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Gray, Victoria Kent

In the past two decades, there has been a ubiquitous turn to affect theory in discourses within the humanities and social sciences. Whilst it is the overarching intention of affect theory to bring the body back into focus in critical and cultural debate, this thesis identifies a paradoxical lack of theorisation regarding kinaesthetic experience in ‘the affective turn’ (Clough, 2007). Specifically, I identify a kinaesthetic gap in affect studies literatures, whose genealogy can be traced to a process philosophy lineage, thereby theorising affect as nonconscious, autonomic, and non-phenomenological (Clough, 2007; 2010a; 2010b; Gregg and Siegworth, 2010; Grosz, 2008; Hansen, 2006; Manning, 2009a; 2013; 2014; 2016; Massumi, 1995; 2002; 2011; 2015; Thrift, 2004a; 2008). I contend that this non-phenomenological movement has had significant consequences for practice-led researchers, such that, embodied articulation of affective experiences remains outside the frame of critical affect studies. In response, I coin the original term affective-kinaesthetic, to close the gap between affect and kinaesthesia, arguing that, the experience of affect is kinaesthetic in nature.

These critiques are informed by my affective-kinaesthetic experience of conservatoire dance training, spinal injury, and my ongoing somatic performance practice. Thus, my research imperative is defined as affect-led, and my research approach is defined as somatic. By putting somatic practice, specifically, Body-Mind Centering (BMC), in conversation with affect studies, I develop a somatic approach to analysing and articulating affect, coined, a somatics of affect. Through the creation of two bodies of research-led performance works titled Prone (2011-2012) and Ballast (2014-2015), and attendant processes of what I term, somatic writing, I contribute a kinaesthetic epistemology of affective experiences to the field of affect studies. I conclude that somatic, and specifically practice-led voices are critical to the development of affect studies, despite being inaudible amongst more dominant affect theorists and philosophers; in short, that somatic voices are the critical, kinaesthetic future of affect theory.

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Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: September 2017
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 08:26
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 15:41
Item ID: 13454
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/13454

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