Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Monday, November 23, 2020

Podcast for BLM #MeToo and everything!

 Please do check out my new Patreon page. I've made five podcast episodes since the US election--which is of course still terrifyingly in process. I just can't hold back anymore. 

There's a piece about me for the New Yorker that hasn't come out. There's plans for another series of my BBC show, which will require so much effort to get approved again. There's a Newsnight interview with me that will never see the light of day. And I'm getting desperate to share my ideas without having to wait. There's no time. 

And since the BBC just will not see what they're doing, in their new lite magazine format, putting fascists and fascist notions on air all the time, in a both-sides format that allows its consumers to contemplate fascism front and center...

Since they've been doing that since Trump was elected, actually since Brexit, which is the same thing...I've decided to boycott them. I'm done. 

Patreon requires a subscription. It's a sliding scale so you can pay as little as $1 a month. I'm donating all the proceeds to the NAACP legal defense fund. 

Look it up if you don't know what that is. After George Floyd was murdered, Trevor Noah, who comes from Soweto and is awesome (look him up too if you don't know, The Daily Show) suggested that we donate to it. 

Black Lives Matter and #MeToo are planet scale collective action to create a future that will also be able to accommodate nonhuman beings in a nonviolent; way. I mean it. America exports a lot of shit, but we also export this. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Take My Summer Class!

You can find out more about it here. We can Zoom together for a too-short month this summer, and I'll teach you for two hours a day, three days a week. Classes are at 8:15am Houston time, which is early afternoon in Europe and a not-impossible 9:15pm in Japan.

You can sign up to audit too.

Tim Morton being weird, three days a week, two hours a day, in your bluetooth speakers or whatever?

I'm not doing any lectures, so this is your chance to see where my mind is at. In addition to talking about ecology I am very highly trained at how to read things, because of my background in literary criticism and theory. Here's why this is important:

“Global warming” versus “climate change.” “Welfare” versus “social security” (which is what they used to call the exact same thing in the UK). Fake news. Tweets. What “they” think. Propaganda. “Science.” “Art.” These are just individual words and phrases and they have so much power. Power over us. This class is designed to help you extricate yourself from the gravitational fields of these words and concepts. By training you from the ground up in how to read any text at all, and how to write (not fancy stuff, but how to understand what you’re learning by doing it yourself), you will gain some immunity from propaganda and fake news and be able to help build a world based on decent sound facts.

A fact is an interpretation of data. The humanities is pre-science, like pre-med is what you take before medical school. In the middle ages, before you got to make scientific facts, you learned how to have facts at all. You learned the basic operating system of meaning (grammar), how to have meaning that was coherent (logic), and how to convey that to others (rhetoric).

Global warming data is way, way scarier than existing scientific facts. That’s because for years scientists were trying to make facts that would appeal to global warming deniers. This was a losing game. They already lost just by trying to play it. They should’ve taken this class.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Here's This Thing I Wrote Six Years Ago with Björk

"I really like your song ‘Virus’. Being alive means being susceptible to viruses and so on. And far more generally, viruses, patterns, appearance, flowers, art--these are all far from useless, they are intrinsic parts of being a thing at all." From This Huge Sunlit Abyss from the Future Right There Next to You

I'll Be Teaching at Sci-Arc in the Fall

Sci-Arc in LA is starting a new "landscape architecture" masters program only it's not called that. It's called Synthetic Landscape, which is a very interesting and I think progressive name. And I've been drafted to help out a little. So...not sure exactly what form the classes will take, what with CoVID-19 and all. But please take a look if you're interested. It will be an honor to work alongside Graham and the rest of the crew!

Here's the page for that.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Architecture Review at Pratt

It was so so good to do this. The Dean established the most amazing form, you'll see.


Friday, January 31, 2020

If You Haven't Seen The Video of The Song Yet

...you are an idiot, or a coward. Or a snob. Or all three. This is a geotrauma love song and I don't care what you think of who made it. This is singing to the whole biosphere and to the one and only beloved being. This is all humans and one human.

If all that I'm on earth
To do
Is solo
Then what a lone, poor shoe
I wanna walk in a two.





Fish fell out of water
Bird stuck on the ground.

My favorite children's book was Fly Away Peter. It was about a giraffe with a long neck and a bird who couldn't fly. And they made friends and helped each other. And it's in Humankind, the final chapter.

Friday, January 24, 2020

I Wrote This Poem

The Customer Is Always Right

So American, how
You tore me open and tossed
Me, a broken toy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tim's Holiday Guide to Commodity Fetishism

I just wrote this on a very gifted undergrad student's final paper and thought, hey, this is news we can use, so, here we go...and because it's Xmas haha and because Santa is a big old Coca Cola bottle or whatever, here is my paradoxical Yuletide gift to you! I think it's quite nice.

This is a really great essay that says a lot of important things in a good way. The only quibble is with the very commonly held assumption that commodity fetishism is somehow a block on knowing that human workers make stuff. If that were true, how could one even know, if the fetishism were effective? But we all know humans make stuff. And knowing that doesn’t dissolve capitalism. So what is it? I teach Marx a lot.

Capitalist economic theory rests on a labor theory of value! The whole idea is that we all know very well that humans make stuff. It's kind of amazing that people keep snapping back to this assumption about Marx, and one could write a whole book on that topic alone.

The key point is that fetishism in this case isn’t a belief. It’s a state of affairs in which commodities seem to behave as if they are agents, really powerful godlike ones, that determine the value of human labour. Sorry man, but the price of oil today means we have to fire you…that sort of thing.
Why do commodities have this power? Because there’s one commodity that has to under-sell itself all the time and that has to make more of itself all the time for the whole thing to work, and that’s the human being. What is being extracted by the system is the value of surplus labor time. I own a factory and I ask you to work an extra five seconds for the same pay. Or you do a tiny extra bit of a job in the same time as you do your regular job. You may not even notice and the factory owner might be a very committed socialist, doesn’t matter. Millions of their employees doing this will make the owner a huge lot of money.

Leisure time is a big old waste of money, so social media fixed that by making us watch ads all the time and more important allow corporations to harvest our data to hone those ads more and more—literally like Capital says, extracting value while we aren’t conscious of that, as if capitalism were a vampire.

Commodity fetishism isn’t a belief that commodities appear out of nowhere. It’s the fact that in capitalism, unlike in feudalism, it doesn’t matter one tiny bit what you believe at all.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I Watch the World Go Round and Round

My first breakup song. So sorry cool kids I can’t help it, it’s etched. I was in the bus back from the night shift at Tesco at 5:30am and this came on the radio.

Isn’t it just so lovely that Phil sings “cayure” (“Need I say I care?”) like it’s in a working class accent?

Amazingly that “ahhhh” sound after the last chorus is not a sample. Listen really hard. It’s a cymbal. Phil went in a store and listened to every crash cymbal till he got one that sounded like that 80s (careless?) whisper of jouissance, in his vocal range and roughly in tune for something with a lot of white noise.

The opening fill after the first chorus is so simple and brilliant, if you know drums. And that’s literally one keyboard line there. Two tops.

You think this is plastic but really it’s the best kind of craft, the rubber meeting the road. Anyone can do vague angst. “I Don’t Remember” is Gabriel’s very best. It’s mostly just about that phrase. The point is to make it also be about a guy jerking off in front of the TV (“Turn It On Again”).

This is why my new book is going to have examples only from Phil Collins and Ariana Grande.

I recently spent an hour explaining to cool architects why Phil was better than Peter Gabriel; even I  was horrified by how effective my argument was, more than I had expected. Graham Harman made me do it lolol nice one Graham. Penguin seem to like the idea of me publishing it thanks Tom!

Need I say I love you,
Need I say I care?
Need I say that emotions
Are something we don't share?
I don't want to be sitting here,
Trying to deceive you,
Cos you know I know baby
That I don't wanna go.

We cannot live together
We cannot live apart
And that's the situation
I've known it from the start.
Every time that I look at you
—Well I can see the future,
Cos you know I know baby
TI don't wanna go.

Just throwing it all away
Throwing it all away
Is there nothing that I can say
To make you change your mind...

I watch the world go round and round—
And see mine turning upside down.

(Throwing it all away)

Now who will light up the darkness,
And who will hold your hand?
Who will find you the answers
When you don't understand?

Why should I have to be the one
Who has to convince you,
Cos you know I know baby
That I don't wanna go.

Some day you'll be sorry
Some day when you're free—
Memories will remind you
That our love was meant to be,
But late at night when you call my name
The only sound you'll hear
Is the sound of your voice calling
Calling out to me.

Just throwing it all away
Throwing it all away
And here's nothing I can say
Ahhhh.... 



Monday, November 25, 2019

Destruction in Art

Fascinating film sent to me by a future partner in BBC crime...


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Hyperobjects versus The Ecological Thought

...it's a momentous day. Hyperobjects has now overtaken The Ecological Thought for scholarly citations. Hyperobjects has 1700 while The Ecological Thought has 1690. Ecology without Nature is still at the top with 2100. Fourth is Dark Ecology with 410. Realist Magic has 310. The next highest is an essay, "Queer Ecology," with 230.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Check This Out

One of my very favorite novels, used by one of my very favorite thinkers, in the greatest paragraph. I'm writing an essay for the book that this appears in, and it just blew me away. Correct, beautiful and disturbing all at once:

In this regard, the earth, in its physical reality, has been transformed through thought and the practice that accompanies thought, becoming an embodied reflection of human thought.  However, what a strange reflection this is!  Unlike a faithful reflection in a mirror or picture in a photograph, the earth is akin to the painting in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, where it endlessly ages and reflects the ravages of how he has lived his life, while Mr. Gray remains eternally young.  The correlate of our thought, the earth, increasingly presents itself as a ruined wasteland transformed by our thought and practice, while humanity still regards itself through the distorted lens of the bloom of innocent youth.  In this regard, humanity does not recognize itself in its own painting.   (Levi Bryant)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Olafur Eliasson on the Iceland Glacier

Hi everyone. Olafur asked me to spread the word so here we go: 

On Sunday, we are mourning the passing of a glacier in a ceremony of commemoration unlike any in human history. The glacier, situated north-east of Reykjavik, was known as OK, and it has melted away and is no more. This is a tragic event, not just for my fellow Icelanders, but for the entire world. Something that seemed eternal has vanished for ever – as a result of human activity and inaction.  

A plaque at the site will mark this point in time. It sounds a warning, and is a call to arms, to every human being on this planet. Andri Snær Magnason, the Icelandic writer, conceived the inscription around a question to future generations: “We know what is happening and what needs to be done,” he wrote. “Only you know if we did it.”

The poignancy of this moment must not go to waste. On Monday, the prime ministers of the Nordic countries will gather in Iceland for their annual meeting, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as their guest. Climate change is on the agenda. There could hardly be a more appropriate moment to take the words on the plaque to heart. To show their recognition of the gravity of the situation, the Nordic countries must jointly declare a climate emergency.

The Nordic countries have powerful shared traditions and values – of democracy, social welfare, and culture. They are all striving to shape a strong environmental profile that combines not only giving up some goods and services that we have come to take for granted, but also enacting progressive policies that encourage investment in the green innovations that will contribute to our continued prosperity.

On this sad occasion, I call on the Nordic prime ministers – Mette Frederiksen (DK), Stefan Löfven (SE), Erna Solberg (NO), Katrín Jakobsdóttir (IS), Antti Rinne (FI), Aksel V. Johannesen (Faroe Islands), Kim Kielsen (Greenland), and Katrin Sjögren (Åland) – to act. They have a moral responsibility towards the future generations of the countries they represent. They also have an opportunity to forge a coalition that will show the leadership on climate change so badly needed in the world today.

Every glacier lost reflects our inaction. Every glacier saved will be a testament to the moral courage and sense of purpose that we can muster in the face of this emergency. One day, instead of mourning the loss of more glaciers, we must be able to stand tall in celebration of their survival.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019