Out of the Clear
Out of the Clear begins with the question of the clearing: What operations are at work when land is cleared, or thought is cleared, of all that grows wild? Clearing, the settler-colonial act of defining a territory and producing a border, clears the world of the thickets of all that is already at work. Get rid of the muddle. Privilege productivity. This devaluing operation is taken for granted as the necessary operation for all beginnings. Clear the movement-tendencies before you start dancing. Clear the thought-wanderings before you start writing. Clearing’s best accomplice is method. A clear site is one that can be overseen, that can be managed. The resounding image of the clearing in Out of the Clear is the residential school for the forced internment of first nations peoples, the sites always barren, empty of any tangle.
The motif of the clearing weaves through Out of the Clear, a book written in the first year of the 3Ecologies project’s land-based site. In the mode of speculative pragmatism, the book explores what modalities of perspective emerge in the uneasy middling of non-dogmatic approaches to the speculative gardens of our affective surrounds. The impersonal leads in this exploration of what kind of minor sociality might emerge at the interstices of more-than human inclinations.
“To write about the clearing – this sprawling field crowded with the haunting absences of felled trees, genocide, and bodies flattened by the worlding ritual of whiteness – Erin Manning approaches an old growth maple forest with an unpretentious shack and cabin. Fittingly this scene is the site of many troubles and spillages: black geographies lush with noise, loss, and the exquisite potential of new life that exceeds the colonial. A sanctuary heralded by the gaping maw of the monster, this book is a majestically unruly series of dramaturgical dispatches from the cracks. A cartography of loss and surprise. Buttery breadcrumbs on a trail of endarkenment. A geophilosophy on the alchemy of the sweet and exquisite. A decolonial force majeure. Join these awkward rehearsals at the liminal edges of monoculture. But be warned: there is no stage left here. We are coming down to earth, and we will not arrive intact.” – Báyò Akómoláfé, author of These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home
“A capaciously delightful composite of practical and intellectual commitments to the proposition that an event is always an encounter with already entangled beings striving to find new conditions of livability. From wrangling with the effort of moving sap to syrup to moving philosophies of abstraction to speculative pragmatics, Manning fosters not merely new ways of thinking but inspires alternate ways of being together differently.” – Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University
“The 3Ecologies project Manning muses on here consists of motley practitioners generating transversal philosophical concepts from within the collective attempt to live an anticapitalist life on land three hours from Montreal. Unlike many previous off-the-grid “returns” to “nature,” 3E engages blackness, indigeneity, decolonization, neurodiversity, telecommunications, and internationality as intrinsic dimensions of its communal work. The Anthropocene might chain us towards the bleak assumption mere survival of the century will already be a feat. Manning demonstrates there is always more to life than that – provided new vocabularies continue to be spun in the midst of what goes on.” – Arun Saldanha, author of Psychedelic White: Goa Trance and the Viscosity of Race
Bio: Erin Manning studies in the interstices of philosophy, aesthetics and politics, concerned, always, about alter-pedagogical and alter-economic practices. Recent monographs include The Minor Gesture (2016) and For a Pragmatics of the Useless (2020). 3e is the direction her current artistic research takes – an exploration of the transversality of the three ecologies, the social, the environmental and the conceptual. An iteration of 3e is a land-based project north of Montreal where living and learning is experimented. Legacies of SenseLab infuse the project, particularly the question of how collectivity is crafted in a more-than human encounter with worlds in the making.