Semblance And Event: Activist Philosophy And The Occurrent Arts

by Brian Massumi

The MIT Press | August 16, 2013 | Trade Paperback |

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Events are always passing; to experience an event is to experience the passing. But how do we perceive an experience that encompasses the just-was and the is-about-to-be as much as what is actually present? In Semblance and Event, Brian Massumi, drawing on the work of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, and others, develops the concept of "semblance" as a way to approach this question.

It is, he argues, a question of abstraction, not as the opposite of the concrete but as a dimension of it: "lived abstraction." A semblance is a lived abstraction. Massumi uses the category of the semblance to investigate practices of art that are relational and event-oriented -- variously known as interactive art, ephemeral art, performance art, art intervention -- which he refers to collectively as the "occurrent arts." Each art practice invents its own kinds of relational events of lived abstraction, to produce a signature species of semblance. The artwork''s relational engagement, Massumi continues, gives it a political valence just as necessary and immediate as the aesthetic dimension.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 232 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.39 in

Published: August 16, 2013

Publisher: The MIT Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0262525364

ISBN - 13: 9780262525367

Found in: Current Events

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Semblance And Event: Activist Philosophy And The Occurrent Arts

Semblance And Event: Activist Philosophy And The Occurrent Arts

by Brian Massumi

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 232 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 0.39 in

Published: August 16, 2013

Publisher: The MIT Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0262525364

ISBN - 13: 9780262525367

From the Publisher

Events are always passing; to experience an event is to experience the passing. But how do we perceive an experience that encompasses the just-was and the is-about-to-be as much as what is actually present? In Semblance and Event, Brian Massumi, drawing on the work of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, and others, develops the concept of "semblance" as a way to approach this question.

It is, he argues, a question of abstraction, not as the opposite of the concrete but as a dimension of it: "lived abstraction." A semblance is a lived abstraction. Massumi uses the category of the semblance to investigate practices of art that are relational and event-oriented -- variously known as interactive art, ephemeral art, performance art, art intervention -- which he refers to collectively as the "occurrent arts." Each art practice invents its own kinds of relational events of lived abstraction, to produce a signature species of semblance. The artwork''s relational engagement, Massumi continues, gives it a political valence just as necessary and immediate as the aesthetic dimension.

Editorial Reviews

"Brian Massumi practices an ''activist'' philosophy indeed, as his writing craft produces an intensive indiscernibility between the abstraction of philosophical concepts and the activation of aesthetic experience associated with art. This amazing book induces a participative thinking-feeling that does not criticize but rather sweeps away the deadening disjunctions paralyzing the adventure of experience."--Isabelle Stengers, philosopher of science, Free University of Brussels; author of Thinking with Whitehead: A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts

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