Brian Massumi – Architectures of the Unforeseen, Essays in the Occurrent Arts


University of Minnesota Press, ISBN-13: 978-1517905965, English, 240 pages, 2019, USA

What happens when one of the most respected philosophers of the media art scene writes an entire book exploring the work of three artists? Brian Massumi defines this undertaking as a “writing with”, where the artworks and positions taken directly influence the writing process, and in some cases vice-versa. The author develops this text through engagement with the work of digital architect Greg Lynn, interactive media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and mixed-media installation artist Simryn Gill, dedicating a full chapter to each. Here the ‘transduction’ between artistic and philosophical issues becomes an intellectual exercise that easily succeeds. Lynn’s digital architectures, Lozano-Hemmer’s relational architecture art and Gill’s installations are interpreted from a fresh and still deep perspective. Massumi metaphorically opens new windows on all three artists and their practices, in a ‘reading’ of the respective works that triggers philosophical scenarios, in a subtle connection. This symbiotic process succeeds in producing a considerable outcome, and the ‘processual design’ involving the three artists often rethinks the space and embodiment it enables. The writing, indeed, is sometimes quite poetic, but always able to extract the process followed by the artist, in an abstract and simultaneously analytical interpretation.