September 5th -> 6th, 2019

London -> Manchester (and the train in between)


“The causal independence of contemporary occasions is the ground for freedom within the Universe”

(Whitehead, 1933/1967, p. 198). 

Linked with the SenseLab’s Minor Movements events across the world, the Biosocial Lab is presenting a series of live art events between London and Manchester on September 5th-> 6th. Suspensions might be characterised as passages, cracks, intervals, and interstices within the institutionally gridded space-times of neoliberal capitalism. Suspensions can be both physical and conceptual, extensive and intensive, embodied and incorporeal, infrastructural and atmospheric.  They invite us to attend to passages of experience that are complicit with social ordering, and yet resistant to regimes of compliance and control.


These live events collectively explored the potentials of “suspension” through theoretical and artistic improvisation, including a live radio broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM from a moving train between London and Manchester in collaboration with curator/artist duo Irruptive Chora (Agata Kik & Ania Mokrzycka).


The train journey was one of seven short Suspensions events in London and Manchester, culminating in a Collaboratory on September 6th at the Biosocial Lab, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Each suspension event is also gently shaped by the movement of a particular concept:  

Suspension 1: Sept 5th, 9:43 – 10:36, public park near Euston (Invisibility)
Suspension 2: Sept. 5th, 10:46 – 11:28, Euston station terminal (Complicity)
Suspension 3: Sept. 5th, 11:40 – 13:46, train from London to Manchester (Passage)

Late lunch (Eighth Day), 14:00-15:00
Suspension 4: Sept. 5th, 15:39 – 16:37, Hulme community gardens (Cultivation)
Suspension 5: Sept. 5th, 17:05 – 18:03, Gymnasium, Brooks building MMU (Metabolism) 
Suspension 6: Sept. 5th, 19:03 – 20:19, 36-38 Whitworth Street/Mayfield depot (Capture)

Overnight in Manchester
Suspension 7: Sept. 6th, 9:30 - 10:30, Anechoic chamber, University of Salford (Volume)
Suspensions Collaboratory: Sept. 6th, 11:30-16:00, Biosocial Lab, room 2.52 Brooks building, MMU

Collaboratory lunch served from 1pm

We are not yet sure what a suspension is, or how we know when a suspension has been achieved. We might think of intimate, everyday suspensions like riding a train, walking to work, waiting for water to boil, or for a child to fall asleep. We can also consider more widely distributed suspensions such as block parties, picnics, community gardens, mobile sound systems, street performances, ruins, free spaces, autonomous zones, meet-ups, hangouts, jams, squats, celebrations of all kinds. Our sense is that suspensions may temporarily prise open some physical and conceptual elbow-room for cultivating techniques that let us hang out and hang in with events. 

We are thinking of techniques of hanging out as practices that orientate toward the keen enjoyment of an event experiencing its own passage. These techniques could link to everyday practices of waiting, gathering, playing, loitering, squatting, chilling, hanging, jamming, daydreaming, wandering, wondering.


Techniques of hanging in may tend moreso toward practices of staying with - a readiness to give, endure, or coalesce. Hanging in asks us to stay with the world, to stay with what happens to us, to cultivate responsibility, generosity, and a therapeutics of care for how events co-compose. 

Suspensions: London->Manchester has been collectively curated by: David Rousell (Biosocial Lab, MMU), Catharine Cary (RCA/SenseLab), Agata Kik (Irruptive Chora) & Ania Mokrzycka (Irruptive Chora)

Suspensions: London->Manchester contributors include: Alecs Pierce, Jasper Llewellyn, Andre Fogliano, Nicola Tirrabasso, Michael Umney, John Hardy, Alex Helps, Erik Lintunen

Suggested Readings in Preparation for the Suspensions Events:

Goodman, A. (2018). Gathering ecologies: Thinking beyond interactivity (Chapter 2: Thinking action and event pp. 54-73). Open Humanities Press.

Campt, T.M. (2016). Listening to images (Introduction: Listening to images: An exercise in counterintuition pp. 1-12). Duke University Press.

Massumi, B. (2017). The Principle of unrest: Activist philosophy in an expanded field (Chapter 1: Capital Moves pp. 7-72). Open Humanities Press.

Manning, E. (2012). Relationscapes: Movement, art, philosophy. Cambridge: MIT Press (“Incipient Action”, pp. 13-28).

Whitehead, A.N. (1933/1968). Adventures of ideas. NY: Free Press (“Past, Present, Future”, pp. 191-200).

Images from Suspensions events in Montreal (SenseLab), Manchester (Whitworth Gallery), London (various), and Edinburgh (Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry): 

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