October, 155: A Questionnaire on Materialisms (2016)

6 March 2016, dusan

“Recent philosophical tendencies of “Actor-Network Theory,” “Thing Theory,” “Object-Oriented Ontology,” “Speculative Realism,”and “Vibrant Materialism,” have profoundly challenged the centrality of subjectivity in the humanities and, arguably, the perspectives that theories of the subject from the psychoanalytic to the Foucauldian have afforded (on the operations of power, the production of difference, and the constitution of the social, for instance). At least four moves characterize these discourses:

• Attempting to think the reality of objects beyond human meanings and uses. This other reality is often rooted in “thingness” or an animate materiality.
• Asserting that humans and objects form networks or assemblages across which agency and even consciousness are distributed.
• Shifting from epistemology, in all of its relation to critique, to ontology, where the being of things is valued alongside that of persons.
• Situating modernity in geological time with the concept of the “Anthropocene,” an era defined by the destructive ecological effects of human industry.

Many artists and curators, particularly in the UK, Germany, and the United States, appear deeply influenced by this shift. Is it possible, or desirable, to decenter the human in discourse on art in particular? What is gained in the attempt, and what—or who—disappears from view? Is human difference—gender, race, power of all kinds—elided? What are the risks in assigning agency to objects; does it absolve us of responsibility, or offer a new platform for politics?” (from the introduction)

Responses by Emily Apter, Ed Atkins, Armen Avanessian, Bill Brown, Giuliana Bruno, Julia Bryan-Wilson, D. Graham Burnett, Mel Y. Chen, Andrew Cole, Christoph Cox, Suhail Malik, T. J. Demos, Jeff Dolven, David T. Doris, Helmut Draxler, Patricia Falguières, Peter Galison, Alexander R. Galloway, Rachel Haidu, Graham Harman, Camille Henrot, Brooke Holmes, Tim Ingold, Caroline A. Jones, Alex Kitnick, Sam Lewitt, Helen Molesworth, Alexander Nemerov, Michael Newman, Spyros Papapetros, Susanne Pfeffer, Gregor Quack, Charles Ray, Matthew Ritchie, André Rottmann, Amie Siegel, Kerstin Stakemeier, Artie Vierkant, McKenzie Wark, Eyal Weizman, Christopher S. Wood, and Zhang Ga.

Edited by David Joselit, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, and Hal Foster
Publisher MIT Press, Winter 2016
ISSN 0162-2870
108 pages

PDF (updated on 2017-11-24)

Timothy Morton: Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (2013)

14 October 2013, dusan

“In this book Timothy Morton, an ecologist, literary theorist, and object-oriented philosopher, lures us into a magical night of objects. If things are intrinsically withdrawn, irreducible to their perception or relations or uses, they can only affect each other in a strange region of traces and footprints: the aesthetic dimension. Every object sparkles with absence. Sensual things are elegies to the disappearance of objects. Doesn’t this tell us something about the aesthetic dimension, why philosophers have often found it to be a realm of evil?

Object-oriented ontology (OOO) offers a startlingly fresh way to think about causality that takes into account developments in physics since 1900. Causality, argues OOO, is aesthetic. Morton explores what it means to say that a thing has come into being, that it is persisting, and that it has ended. Drawing from examples in physics, biology, ecology, art, literature and music, he demonstrates the counterintuitive yet elegant explanatory power of OOO for thinking causality.”

Publisher Open Humanities Press, 2013
New Metaphysics series
Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 License
ISBN 9781607852025
228 pages

Review: Nathan Brown (Parrhesia, 2013).



Michelle Kasprzak (ed.): Blowup: Speculative Realities (2013)

8 April 2013, dusan

“This eBook ex­plores the sig­nif­icance of the recent philo­soph­ic move­ments known as ob­ject-​ori­ent­ed on­tol­ogy and spec­ula­tive re­al­ism for the vi­su­al and me­dia arts. It was edited in connection to the Speculative Realities exhibition.

Two artists and one col­lab­ora­tive duo were com­mis­sioned to make new art­works re­flect­ing broad­ly on con­cepts with­in ob­ject-​ori­ent­ed on­tol­ogy and spec­ula­tive re­al­ism. The artists were Tu­ur van Balen & Re­vi­tal Co­hen, Cheryl Field, and Karoli­na Sobec­ka.

To sup­ple­ment the de­scrip­tions of the works and brief in­ter­views with the artists in this eBook, three new in­ter­views were com­mis­sioned. Sven Lüttick­en was in­ter­viewed by Rachel O’Reil­ly, Jus­si Parik­ka was in­ter­viewed by Michael Di­eter, and Rick Dol­phi­jn was in­ter­viewed by Michelle Kasprzak.

The ex­hi­bi­tion took place from De­cem­ber 8, 2012 un­til Jan­uary 11, 2013 at Rood­kap­je, Meent 133, Rot­ter­dam.”

Publisher V2_, Rotterdam, January 2013
Blowup Read­ers series, Vol. 6
55 pages