José Antonio Magalhães is a juridico-political theorist, researcher, and teacher. They received their PhD in Legal Theory from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) in 2021 with a thesis that investigated cloud platforms as juridico-political entities by introducing concepts and themes from contemporary speculative theory into legal theory. They have since held a postdoctoral fellowship at the same institution to research relations between law, territory, and ecology drawing on Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s work on metaphysical perspectivism, as well as teaching graduate-level research-based seminars.

Magalhães’s research operates at the interfaces between speculative juridico-political theory, technology, and ecology. Their broader project draws on modified readings of legal thinkers Hans Kelsen, Evgeny Pashukanis, and Carl Schmitt toward a heuristic for mapping and navigating not only non-modern, but also non-human (technological, ecological, spiritual) juridico-political orders. Some of their recent publications are ‘Platforms as Law: A Speculative Theory of Coded, Interfacial and Environmental Norms’ in the Journal of Cross-disciplinary Research in Computational Law (CRCL) and ‘Platforming and Perspectivism’ published through the Singapore Biennale. They also teach various para-academic courses and workshops in institutions such as The New Centre for Research & Practice and Foreign Objekt

Bricoleurs of the Abstract: Scale, Perspective and the Decolonization of Planetary Technology
ICI Project 2024-26

This project seeks to offer a counter-colonial approach to planetary-scale technology on the basis of metaphysical perspectivism. It frames the problem in terms of Yuk Hui’s work on cosmotechnics and does so in such a way that the cosmotechnical problem appears as a tension between scales: the large scale of globalized technology and the small scale of non-modern cosmotechnics. It then seeks an alternative to Hui’s approach to this problem through his dialogue with Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, which suggests the possibility of a cosmotechnical perspectivism influenced by Amazonian metaphysics.

In a second movement, a perspectivist approach to the problem of scales is sought through the opposing conceptual characters of Terran bricoleurs, who give and follow examples, and Inhuman engineers, who make and apply models. Those appear prima facie as associated with small/local and large/global scales respectively, though this automatic association is precisely what will be put into question. The project introduces the Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of the diagram as a form of mediation between Inhuman models and Terran examples, aiming to produce a trans-scalar heuristic that neither relies on the modern unidirectional conception of scale-ordering, nor becomes stuck on impotent or reactionary versions of horizontalist localism.