Gosh I wish I'd been able to say that in the Q&A just now. There was a very good question that I answered by talking about indigenous cultures and modernity. But another way of thinking about some of the issues that the conference goers understand really well is that they suffer, as performers who use paper, puppets and “things” like that, from the denigration of “kitsch” or low art.
OOO gives you a way to see the high art/low art distinction (cf the art/craft and artist/artisan distinctions) as unworkable products of modernity that are not simply socially invidious, but ontologically unsustainable and ecologically dangerous.
This is why the makers of automata and puppeteers at this conference understand implicitly what I was saying in my talk, better than the kinds of words about it that come out of my mouth! They get that when you do art you are messing with causality and they get that love and a kind of sincerity coded as unsophisticated and childlike (and denigrated as such by high art and the cynical reason that underwrites it) are a way out of modernity.
In his talk João Florêncio was using high art examples precisely to say that even here, in sophisticated art, there are relations with nonhumans going on that transcend the “anything you can do I can do meta” syndrome.
I often wonder whether some of the reaction to Harman's thought is a displaced reaction to what is denigrated as kitsch and “low” by the avant-garde, who are, as he keeps insisting, fighting yesterday's war.
OOO shares with deconstruction a love for going back to the old philosophical jazz standards of the past and reworking them into really interesting tunes. And so do the makers of automata and children's books find interesting things in “old” aesthetic phenomena.
I wonder whether it's a kind of snob reaction, at bottom.