Archive for May, 2012

31 May 2012

Progressive Geographies

On Saturday 16th June, at the Tate gallery in London – “Spaces of Transformation: Spatialised Immunity”.

Peter Sloterdijk’s philosophico-morphological theory is based on an understanding of the history of culture as spatialisations of forms. The world in which we live now requires us to design new types of ‘spatialised immunity’. More broadly, the concept of a spherical logic of space – a polymorphologic of form, order and thinking – is explicated in Spheres, his three-volume archaeology of the human attempt to dwell within spaces, from womb to globe. The Spheres project (Bubbles, Globe, Foam) is a significant topological turn in the field of contemporary philosophy, ‘a super-workout for communicative energies capable of finding contact throughout the entire world.’

Details here.

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30 May 2012

Object-Oriented Philosophy

If you’re interested, you can read about it in this essay (in English), HERE.

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26 May 2012


The tobacco association aside, I love the idea of this conference: Knowledge in a Box: How Mundane Things Shape Knowledge Production, July 26-29, 2012; to take place at a renovated tobacco warehouse (the tobacco museum) in Kavala, northern Greece.

We invite proposals from scholars in the history of science, technology, and medicine, science and technology studies, the humanities, visual and performing arts, museum and cultural studies and other related disciplines for a workshop on the uses and meanings of mundane things such as boxes, packages, bottles, and vials in shaping knowledge production. In keeping with the conference theme, we are asking contributors to include specific references to the ways in which boxes have played a role—commercial, epistemic or otherwise—in their own particular disciplinary frameworks.

Update: here is a direct link to the conference website: KNOWLEDGE IN A BOX : How mundane things shape knowledge production, with  the…

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25 May 2012

Everything Is Not Connected

14 May 2012

Everything Is Not Connected:” audio of Graham Harman’s keynote at transmediale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2 February 2012

The idea that everything is interconnected has become a staple of intellectual life. As a related phenomenon, “contextualisation” is now the method of first resort throughout the humanities. This lecture opposes the general trend of emphasising systems and wholes over autonomous individuals. Among the greatest drawbacks of holistic ontology is its inability to explain disruptions and surprises in any system it studies. At best, one posits some sort of “materiality” lying outside all formatted systems that serves as their underground source of change, a theory that fails for a variety of reasons. The only alternative is to adopt an object-oriented model of fully formatted entities lying beyond the grasp of the human mind and even of each other. After providing some theoretical background for this claim, I will consider several recent political phenomena that are better understood by an object-oriented approach than a holistic one.

The Object Strikes Back

2 May 2012

Excerpts from Lucy Kimbell‘s forthcoming interview (in Design and Culture) with Graham Harman:

Objects are the anti-reductive principle par excellence. They exist midway between their tiny components and their palpable external effects. In this way they resist reduction both downwards and upwards– neither undermined nor overmined, neither undercut nor “overcut,” to coin another new term. Objects occupy the middle range in any situation, lurking beneath their outward effects, but they are also something real that cannot be decomposed into tinier elements. (…)

I think one of the weaknesses of the heavily relational approach of ANT (Actor Network Theory) is that it cannot adequately deal with the parts of the object that exceed its current relations. Latour’s best case studies (Pasteur, for example) are about things that have already happened. All the relations and translations have finally done their work, and we can use Latourian tools to explain how it occurred. …

Yet I’m not sure that ANT is quite as useful at counterfactual cases. What counterfactual cases do is allow us to look at the innate powers of a thing that might not have been expressible in their actual environment, and ask how things might have played out differently. …

The danger of relationist thinking is that it focuses too much upon reciprocal interactions in the “now” and too little on what things should be doing that they are prevented from doing by the accidental set of physical and social relations in which they are now entangled. The term “essence” gets a bad press these days, because it has come to be associated with all kinds of oppressive and reactionary dogmas, but if we take “essence” in a more minimalistic sense to mean “what a thing is quite apart from its current accidental situation,” then a certain essentialism is unavoidable.

1 May 2012