Harman's recent post on music got me thinking. People love to churn out that old chestnut, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Especially on National Public Radio. In any case, I always thought dancing about architecture sounded like a good idea.
And in OOO terms, this is what all objects are doing with each other. After all, no object truly contacts another one. They really only share what Graham Harman calls their “notes.” So architecture columns (or whatever it does) about human relationships. And dogs sniff about trees (nicely, “about” can also mean “around”). And pencils pencil about pencil sharpeners.
Imagine a world where we could ONLY play music if we wanted to “talk about” music. It would be like John Malkovich's nightmare world, as narrated by Levi Bryant, with music as Malkovich. Music musics about music. Or as Joyce writes somewhere, “love loves to love love.”
No. We clap about music, we dance about music, we play music about music, we write about music—all these things are not the very same music about which we are performing.
Alvin Lucier's long thin wire vibrates about the people walking through the installation. The storm storms concerning the chimney it blows through (Heidegger's nice example). The calculator calculates concerning the bank balance I'm anxious about. The birds bird about the BP oil slick, telling us about it in bird metaphors. And writing writes about music. Just like dancing about architecture. How nice.