Brian Massumi is professor of communication at the University of Montreal. He specializes in the philosophy of experience, art and media theory, and political philosophy. His most recent books include Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception (Duke UP 2015), Politics of Affect (Polity, 2015), and The Power at the End of the Economy (Duke UP, 2014). He is co-author with Erin Manning of Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). Also with Erin Manning and the SenseLab collective, he participates in the collective exploration of new ways of bringing philosophical and artistic practices into collaborative interaction, most recently in the frame of the "Immediations: Art, Media, Event" international partnership project.
Fields of research
philosophy of experience
art and media philosophy
IKKM Research Project
The research project will have two streams. The first will be a philosophical inquiry into the the concept of "immediation." This notion, closely allied with process philosophy, works from the premise that activity and event are the fundamental categories for understanding, rather than subject, substance, or structure. This premise troubles notions of medium and mediation, insisting that everything that registers as real does so in the immediacy of an event. The project will focus on A.N. Whitehead's theory of "transmission." This term in fact hinges on the notion of "reenaction," which lies at the heart of Whitehead's account of the immediacy of process. Surprisingly, Whitehead ties transmission to the concept of continuity. The project will displace the problem of mediation from the usual framing in terms of communication towards the problem of the continuum and division, rethought in terms of the event, drawing also on the C.S. Peirce's logic of continuity. The second stream will use the results of the philosophical inquiry into immediation to attempt to generate a vocabulary capable of accounting for the singularity of the media figure of Donald Trump and the modalities of power enacted through his person.
Animals and Animality in the Literary Field, ed. Bruce Boehrer, Molly Hand, and Brian Massumi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.
The Principle of Unrest: Activist Philosophy in the Expanded Field. London: Open Humanities Press, forthcoming 2017. 144 pages.
After the Planes: A Dialogue about Movement, Perception, and Politics, with Krystian Woznicki. Berlin: Diamondpapers, 2017. 207 pages.
Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception (contents different from German book Ontomacht). Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. 306 pages.
What Animals Teach Us about Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014.