Defining States. Mattering Differently.

A Conversation with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry Event

Saturday, November 25, 2006
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Rm 066, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design [Building]
University of Toronto

230 College Street

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. Nation state. Rogue state. Natural state. State of exception. State form. Head of state. Police state. State of grace. State of mind. State variable. State of fear. State of emergency. Indeterminate state. Nascent state. Static. State your point. Mental state. Emotional state. Altered state. State jurisdiction. State of the union. State of affairs. State your name. Stately. Statism. Subject of the statement. State your purpose. Smattering. Grey matter. Anti-matter. Love matters. Matter and energy. Matter and memory. Matter of principle. Reading matter. Matter of minutes. Matters of the heart. Matter of course. Matter of opinion. For that matter. Money matters. What does it matter? Mind over matter. Fecal matter. No matter what. Matter-form. Matter of fact. Matter of habit. What’s the matter? Matter of life and death.

“… the question is not how to elude the order-word but how to elude the death-sentence it envelops, how to develop its power of escape.”
–Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

What can be done in the face of states of domination that are able to thrive on the assaults against them? Can we defy these states? Can we matter differently? Join us for an intimate conversation around these questions with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning.

Brian Massumi specializes in philosophy, media theory, and visual culture. He is the author of Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation and A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. His translations from the French include Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. He teaches in the Communication Department of the Université de Montréal, where he directs the Workshop in Radical Empiricism.

Erin Manning is a philosopher, visual artist and dancer. She is assistant professor in Studio Art and Film Studies at Concordia University and director of The Sense Lab, an interdisciplinary research-creation laboratory. She is the author of Ephemeral Territories: Representing Nation, Home and Identity in Canada and Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty.

Entangled Territories | Writing

by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry

Entangled Territories is an event organized by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (in this case, Adrian Blackwell, Greig de Peuter, Christine Shaw, and Marcelo Vieta) as Act 16 of the Public Acts project, was held within Adrian Blackwell’s installation “carpool” on Sunday, August 6th, 2006. In an effort to shift the place of dialogue outside Toronto’s downtown, the event unfolded in North Toronto near Downsview Park, in the parking lot of Idomo Furniture. At the end of a subway line, yet in the middle of the city; amidst the inner suburbs; lodged between an army base, big box stores, and warehouses; and at the confluence of a highway, a subway line, and an airport strip—this site is entangled. It became a temporary commons, animated by bodies in conversation, disagreement, and creative acts in and against the neo-liberal urban agenda….

As we talked, issues, urgencies, tactics, and tensions emerged. We documented them on the paper tablecloths that we gathered around. For us, these conversations confirmed the need to map Toronto’s existing commons, an initiative that would help us to both continue the discussion and further the practice of commoning.

We ate, talked, and listened to the sounds of the political punk project Republic of Safety, who rocked carpool with portable amps. We then left our appropriated site, and dispersed, moving again….

Entangled Territories 2 | Reading Group


Tuesdays, 9:00 – 11:00pm
10 October – 5 December 2006

This 9-week reading group will continue our inquiries across a radical terrain of thought (philosophical, activist, aesthetic) through which social organization is constituted by the collective practices and desires of the multitude. Our point of departure will be a return to Lazzarato’s biopower/biopolitics, via Foucault. We will then extend our encounter with biopolitics with a series of related conceptual/pragmatic tools like state of exception, bare life, sphere of gesture, affect, desire, force, exodus, creative acts, networked resistance, flexible personality…. In combination with a set of theoretical inquiries we will explore contemporary political events, lived relations of power, media activism, squatting, creative actions, the potential of bodies, and joyful life as instances of the multitude innovating alternatives.

Our conversations will inform the design of an event/workshop TSCI is planning with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning for November 2006.

While we have begun to develop a shared lexicon to explore this terrain together, we will continue to create a space of mutual respect and learning, learning that unfolds through grace and joy.

Reading List:

  • Lazzarato. “From Biopower to Biopolitics”
  • Foucault. “17 March 1976,” in Society Must be Defended
  • Agamben. Selections from Homo Sacer and Means Without Ends
  • Massumi. “Fear (the Spectrum Said),” in Multitudes
  • Virno. “General Intellect, Exodus, Multitude: An Interview with Paolo Virno”
  • Simondon. “The Genesis of the Individual,” In Incorporations
  • Malgré Tout Collective. “Manifesto”
  • Negri. Selections from The Savage Anomaly
  • Colectivo Situaciones. “Something More on Research Militancy: Footnotes on Procedures and (In)Decision,” in Ephemera
  • Manning. “Sensing Beyond Security,” in The Politics of Touch
  • Radio Ligna. Radio Ballet
  • Deleuze. “Desire and Pleasure,” in Two Regimes of Madness
  • Deleuze. “What is the Creative Act?” in Two Regimes of Madness
  • Meinhof. “Armed Anti-Imperialist Struggle,” in Hatred of Capitalism
  • Cordingley. “Can Masdeu: Rise of the Rurbano Revolution,” in Making Their Own Plans
  • Goddard. “Felix and Alice in Wonderland: The Encounter Between Guattarri and Berardi and the Post-Media Era,” in Generation Online
  • Holmes. “The Revenge of the Concept: Artistic Exchanges and Networked Resistance,” in Interactivist Info Exchange

Entangled Territories

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry event
With/in Adrian Blackwell’s carpool + Republic of Safety
Sunday, August 6, 2006

download poster

Idomo east parking lot
1100 Sheppard Ave. W.
Near the Downsview Subway station

The gentrification of Toronto’s downtown has displaced low-income residents. New immigrants, often precariously employed, are warehoused in high-density structures within low-density suburbs. City land is rezoned for optimum profit extraction rather than for livability. The costs of using public transit are rising as new programs of surveillance carefully monitor the smog-saturated city.

This neoliberal agenda remains contested by urban social movements committed to the building of a new commons: street protests, squats, community gardens, housing co-ops, public-space interventions, regularization campaigns.

Toronto’s territory is entangled in divergent forces of neoliberal enclosure and public commons. Animating this play of forces is a triad of actors: capitalists, governments, and multitudes. At stake in their balance of power is access to affordable places to live, sources of healthy food, a secure income, mobility, pleasurable forms of life.

+ How is capital capturing urban territories? Which spaces are currently under threat of enclosure?
+ What possibilities exist for the state to protect existing public spaces or initiate new ones, when its role has increasingly become the policing of space?
+ What capacities do we have for escaping existing enclosures, in the name of constructing new urban commons?

Join us for a conversation in and about the city’s entangled territories. We’ll move ourselves through a series of small-group discussions, and then end off the event with a collective conversation.

The event will be held in a parking lot near Downsview Park. This space is entangled, at the end of a subway line, yet in the middle of the city: in the inner suburbs, next to an army base, big boxes, and warehouses, at the confluence of highways, subways, and an airport. Our site is an abstract space of pause within this non-place of circulation.

Yvonne Bambrick (Streets are for People) + Sue Bunce (Planning Action) + Rob Gill (York) + Heather Haynes (Toronto Free Gallery) + Joe Hermer (UT) + Luis Jacob (artist) + Peter Nyers (McMaster) + Darren O’Donnell (artist) + Jay Pitter (artist) + SYN- (artists) + Leah Sandals (Spacing) + Jeff Shantz + Kika Thorne (artist) + Rinaldo Walcott (OISE) + others TBC

About carpool
carpool (apparatus of capture) is a tent that connects four cars to form a larger composition. The cars are caught in fabric, creating a structure as they move apart from one another, temporarily immobilizing them while opening their private interiors to public use.

About Entangled Territories
Entangled Territories is Act 16 of Public Acts 1-29, a network of lines of flight for the experiences and experiments of 29 artists, activists and researchers situated along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Entangled Territories | Reading Group


Mondays, 8:30-10:30pm
6 March – 24 April 2006

This 8-week reading group is a component of an (indeterminate) event TSCI is planning for summer 2006, called “Entangled Territories.” Our conversations will inform the design of Entangled Territories, though we by no means wish to confine our conversations to that purpose.

The proposed reading list is a brief survey of the thought of a handful of poststructuralist philosophers and autonomist theorists. TSCI proposes to approach these readings with a sort of conceptual pragmatism. After opening our conversations by exploring the question, ‘what is a concept?’, we will encounter, map, and question a number of conceptual tools, like joyful passions, constituent power, becoming, autonomy, exodus, biopolitics, biopower, event…

Participants probably have varying levels of familiarity with the texts we’ll be reading. We strive to facilitate a space of mutual respect and reciprocal learning, bearing in mind the (thankfully) different backgrounds that we will each bring to this experiment in collective reading.

Reading List

  • Bifo. “What is the Meaning of Autonomy Today?” In Republicart.
  • Deleuze and Guattari. “Introduction: The Question Then…” and “What is a Concept?” In What is Philosophy?
  • Deleuze. “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” “On Philosophy,” “Control and Becoming.” In Negotiations.
  • Foucault. “So is it Important to Think?” In Essential Works of Michel Foucault: Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.
  • Hardt. “Spinozan Practice: Affirmation and Joy (Speculation, Ontological Expression, Power, Practice)” In Deleuze:An Apprenticeship in Philosophy.
  • Lazzarato. “From Biopower to Biopolitics.” In Pli.
  • Lazzarato. “Struggle, Event, Media.”
  • Negri and Guattari. “The Revolution Began in ’68.” Communists Like Us.
  • Thoburn. “Introduction: The Grandeur of Marx.” In Deleuze, Marx, and Politics.
  • Virno. “Ten Theses on the Multitude and Post-Fordist Capitalism.” In Grammar of the Multitude.