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Composing with the Event—Moving Toward Neurodiverse Perception/Sensation


Composing with the Event—Moving Toward Neurodiverse Perception/Sensation

Bernett, Sheena (2022) Composing with the Event—Moving Toward Neurodiverse Perception/Sensation. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Neurodiversity is the mode of composing. The infinite diversity in diversity, of the field of
relation making itself felt in its becoming.

This thesis is this composing.

Relationality is the dance itself of all that is compelled to move in a mode of composing
worldings/bodyings. Movement is the force, the ever transitioning/thresholding (of shapes/forms,
etc.), the excess, as well as the arena of qualities continuously arriving to their singularity.
Simultaneously, both the voicing and the harmony in the atonal dance of relation in emergence.

Composition as ecology.

Relationality, not between located fixed objects, but rather the field of relation at the interstices
themselves, of becoming and abecoming (without becoming). The excess makes a difference in
the architecting of the spaces and silences by which movement is informed. Forces emerge, and
through the singular moving qualities, matter is weathered into shapings and formations that
reciprocally shape space and silence—forever a transitioning from the middle. Qualities express
at the interstices of the edging of emergence. Singular qualities event, pulsing frivolously
throughout the continuum of the multiplicity of potential.

How to read this thesis? This thesis invites you to cut the words into fragments, throw them to
the wind and enter the dance of relation in a co-composition.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bernett, Sheena
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:7 November 2022
Thesis Supervisor(s):Manning, Erin and Tsabary, Eldad and Georges, Dimitrov
Keywords:Neurodiversity, Composition, Music, Diversity, Art, Theatre, Devised Theatre, Research-Creation, Relationality, Process Philosophy, Radical Empiricism, Sensation, Movement, Perception, Direct Perception, Affect, Speculative Pragmatism, Immanence, Intensity, Emergence, Becoming, Event, Event-time, Event-space, Queering, Quality, Transdisciplinarity, Collaboration, Non-bodies, Bodying-Worlding, Neurodiverse, Technicity, A-aesthetics, A-category, A-ending, A-time, A-conclusion, Non-Perspective, Ecological Perspective, Bursting, Attunement, Trans-sensory, Autistic, Quality, Creation, Voice, Potentiality, Multiplicity.
ID Code:991748
Deposited On:21 Jun 2023 14:49
Last Modified:07 Dec 2023 21:53
Related URLs:
Additional Information:Examiner Report: M. Remi Yergeau Dissertation: Sheena Bernett, Composing with the Event—Moving Toward Neurodiverse Perception/Sensation 10 January 2023 Comments: Composing with the Event is a project that refuses form. It shuffles across discursive boundaries, effecting a critique of normative convention through its very composition. Among its primary interventions is to elucidate how neurotypicality manifests as a discursive regime. One of Bernett’s most crucial claims is that any discursive regime is a neurotypical one. The concept of the neurotypical — as it unfolds across pages, multi-mediated propositions, and surrounding entanglements — is one that demands languaging. As Bernett compellingly echoes (literal-material echoes), neurotypicality is not a state or identity, but rather an obliterating force. It is an obliterating force precisely because to neurotypical (in the verb sense) is to reduce. These reductions, Bernett shows us, are the reductions that attend representation, symbolicity, categorization, and filtering — the sorts of motions that languaging depends on in order to effect its norms. In Composing the Event, neurodiversity is always-emerging. As with neurotypicality, neurodiversity is not a property that one holds or a thing or object that can contained/be contained. Rather, the neurodiverse is an expansive mode of relation. Importantly, Bernett notes, neurotypicality cannot exist without neurodiversity: these terms are not polar opposites, but are rather co-constituted. Playing with and simultaneously rejecting form, the thesis lurches, spits, pauses, and digresses. For instance, Bernett draws our attention both to the footnote as a digressive form as well as the potentiality of citational practices as modes of activation rather than neurotypical norms for social-academic discourse. This sideways movement, to use a term from Jay Dolmage, works to expand the multi-sensory features of the project, such that digression is a neurodiverse feature rather than a neurotypical bug. During the defense, there are some questions that I would be eager to learn Bernett’s thinking and perspective on. For example, I am interested in Bernett’s continued reflections on clarity (p. 9) and clustering (p. 41), among other moves that are described as being (wholly) neurotypical. I wondered, at times, if there might be room or possibility for conceiving clustering or clarity as having neurodiverse iterations. (In this, I am wondering about tics and spasms, which cluster and ripple; or perseveration, which might be thought about as a clarity without recognition or audience or meaning or purpose?) There is so much to praise in this project: As a neurodivergent reader, I feel seen. The prose activates a form of languaging that draws from autistic repertoires of co/composing. (As I read, I often wondered whether de/composing might serve as another mode for thinking through dis/relation and life!) Bernett’s amethodology and critiques of neurotypical empiricism resonates with other moves within (and without) critical disability studies in the arts and humanities, especially scholars, artists, and activists who advocate that disability is neither subject nor object but rather a way of sensing. The propositions in the thesis complicate, revise, and undo what comes before. There is a pronounced commitment to composing with the event throughout the thesis, which is an incredible feat.


Bernett, Sheena. Composing with the Event—Moving Toward Neurodiverse Perception/Sensation. 2023. Concordia University, PhD dissertation.
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