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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dark Ecology Index

...just got it and proof read it. It's really clean. Also, way to only index proper names. When it comes to philosophy books, it just gets too tangly and unwieldy to index all the concepts, sometimes. You want an index to be a nice neat compression of the book, not a sprawling mess of all the book's Lego bricks in a pile that only happens to be alphabetical.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Being Ecological 3

Okay, it's week 2, and I've got the flavor. I've got it by Jove. I'm not going to give it away here--bit of a secret recipe kind of a deal right now. But there is a recipe. The thing is, who are you making the meal for and what kind of food will work for them? It's like Aristotle's Rhetoric part 2. There he gives a really wonderful exhaustive account of loads of different emotions, because writing and speaking and sentences in general are really grounded in listening. They are modes of listening. Who is feeling what, how do you tune to that with your sentence?

I'll say this much: the world tends to come in three basic flavors, with loads of subdivisions of course, but for me, there are three basic emotional flavors: passion, aggression and indifference.

When you start out teaching, you're working with being liked. Passion.

When you continue for a bit, you find yourself working with hostility. Yours and your students' Aggression.

Then you carry on some more, and you find that you're working with indifference, which is the hardest energy to work with. Advanced stuff.

It's the same with writing. First you want to be liked--maybe you want to pass as a kosher scholar, let's say. Then you want to argue the toss and defend and attack and so on, shape opinions or whatever. Aggression. And then, you need to go really wide and work with the ignorance energy. Why care? At all? Being all clever and “please like me” or going “Person x has no clue what they're talking about” doesn't cut it any more. You're pretty much preaching to the choir that way. What happens if you want to talk to non-choir people?

Lemmy 2

John wrote such an excellent comment on Lemmy I thought I'd just post it here for your pleasure.

Riffing off the last post, Lemmy was a glorious fungus existing symbiotically within the music industry. Disgusting, codger-like, lecherous, offensive to everyone in casual Friday khakis and chambray, Lemmy was the horned goat figure with a techno incarnation. We nascent punks, conforming in our rejection of conformity, did not reject Motorhead in the manner of REO Speedwagon because it had grime and bugs and dirt. One associated with Motorhead a traditional English bar band, as were the Stranglers and we might also have a dance to it. It seemed real, it was real, it embodied real grease and dirt and an appreciation of Triumph and BSA speed twins (damn the triples). Lemmy was the carburetor on the head of steel and his music was the machine beat of an acceptance of Heideggerian techno theory on a personal level.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rita Felski versus Critique

Go Rita! Rita and I have been talking about this for a while.

Of course, Adorno would have wept at the contemporary record-store label version of Kritik.

Look at this part of Matthew Mullins's review:

I FIRST ENCOUNTERED what literary critics call “literary theory,” “critical theory,” or just plain “theory” in a class titled “Contemporary Literary Theory” taught by what must have been the world’s most patient professor. Each week we studied a different approach to reading, moving from formalism to structuralism to Marxism to feminism to deconstruction to postcolonialism and beyond. Every new theory presented itself as the true method of interpretation, the one that would lead me through the smoke screens and false fronts that obscured the meanings of works of literature, or what I learned to call “texts.” Structuralism was the answer to all possible questions, it seemed, until I learned about Marxism, which was supplanted by feminism and so on. “Now I’ve really got it,” I would think each week, only to be disabused of my former faith when the next theory showed me the true path to meaning.


Exactly. This isn't theoria, it's dogma or doxa, as I was pointing out, also in the LARB.

Digital Detox

I'm hearing about the London tech city knitting party.

The knitting is said to be a happy, mindful regression from having to code.

But knitting is algorithmic. Knit one pearl one.

The so-called digital age--the age when we have started to program computational devices--reconfigures everything retroactively. With 20/20 hindsight you can see that lots of things are computational. Sorting laundry. Knitting. Mindfulness meditation as such (breathe, think, notice the thought, come back to breath).

In the really big picture what is happening is soothing the speed of agrilogistics 9.0 with the relatively slower speed of agrilogistics 3.0 (or whatever).

There is a reason why you want to soothe your digital fixation with knitting. It's because knitting is already a kind of digital fixation. Digital means having to do with your fingers. Not having to do with 1s and 0s (sorry to the author of the recent book that makes this equation.)

Also--pity the poor people who have to code, or have to knit, or plough, or work a production line of any kind, without being able to go to some party to soothe their productive processes with older productive processes.

Discuss.

Lemmy

Hawkwind, “Silver Machine.” Dave Brock and possibly Robert Calvert (it's his bike the song is about) might have been a bit cross that Lemmy was asked to sing it. But as his subsequent career demonstrated he had an awesome powerful voice.

Find out you have cancer and die two days later: now that's what I call style.




Monday, December 28, 2015

Fungal Example

Here's a nice example of an essay from High Country News, about using symbiosis to fight the bark beetle...it's a big story if you've been following that sort of thing.

Interview Today

I hope you're having a very nice holiday, and sorry if you are having to work today. I have an interview with High Country News, which is sort of the magazine of the Rocky Mountain region.

I used to live there, of course, when I lived in Boulder Colorado for eight years. What an amazing town. It was like a sci fi landscape, that Front Range seemingly stretching into infinity from the side of the Flatiron mountain that's part of of Chautauqua park.

If you look at maps of social mobility in the states, you'll see that this region, from the North to the South, is where the greatest mobility is. It's funny. It's like what Wordsworth says about being in the mountains in Cumberland, that they inspire some kind of equality between people.

I've thought about this a bit. I think the physical exertion of moving up and down at that altitude (3000m) puts people back in their body, and when you encounter someone struggling up or down, your first thought is not how different you are from them, but how you are both in this physical realm. A realm of great obstacles and incredible aesthetic experiences. Maybe Eliot's character was right: “In the mountains, there you feel free.” It's a cliche but there is something in it.

At first I felt like Mr. Clean from Apocalypse Now: I'd grown up in south London and “the light and space of [the Rockies/Vietnam] really put the zap on [my/his] head.” The light is so strong up there you feel like you can see around objects.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Humankind 1

So...in addition to writing the Penguin book, there is also of course the Verso book. It's really interesting to be writing two at once. I don't think I've ever quite done it before. They are on two really distinct missions, these books. One is designed to show you that you can incorporate nonhumans into Marxism. The other is super IMAX widescreen 3D ecological philosophy.

(Not that the Verso topic isn't vast as well!)

I stared writing the Verso one, Humankind, this afternoon. Apparently I really do have something to say, as I reached my goal for the day.

The Verso book is in five through-composed shorter chapters. The sequence definitely goes 1 >> 2 >> 3 etc. There's a logical sequence that would be really out of shape if the book's arrangement didn't track it.

The Penguin book is a little different. Each chapter feels modular. You could probably have them in any order, although I think the one I chose is best. The inner logic and the arrangement don't coincide, quite.

That's an interesting, less well known fact about the five parts of rhetoric, Aristotle style. You've got your second part, which is called ordo in Latin. But it's also called dispositio. The latter is the arrangement of the idea sequence. The former is the logical sequence. You see the difference?

When you're thinking how a book should be, what you want to say is actually different from when you want to say it, and both are really important.

The ordo-dispositio mix for each book feels really right. It's nice to be doing them together for that reason. They are different beasts. Maybe the beasts will synergize one another, at this rhetorical level. I know they will at other levels...

I'll be interesting to see what kinds of style differences emerge as I proceed (the third part of rhetoric).

Everybody Look at the Insensitive Man



An escalating spiral of cross purposes, indignation and exasperation, in the very attempt to reduce conflict by explaining oneself. For some reason, this is one of my favorite comedy scenes.

Me at Bétonsalon

Loving this one, somehow. Thank you Katie Holten! 


Being Ecological 2

Wow that's way more writing than I thought I was going to get done as I start chipping away at it. Nice one. It's always good to set the bar really low, I find.

Let's Try Surviving One More Time With Feeling, Maybe This Time It'll Work Out

Nice one, mostly. (It's an anti-STEM editorial. Good.) Problem:

For most of human history, all education was skills-based. Hunters, farmers and warriors taught their young to hunt, farm and fight. But about 2,500 years ago, that changed in Greece, which began to experiment with a new form of government: democracy.


That isn't right at all. For most of human history there wasn't this modern distinction between “skills” and everything else. Is thanking the animal you just killed part of the skill of hunting or part of the religion candy you sprinkle on your skill? Can you see why asking this question is already assuming a distinction that has a history, a horizon, a set of beliefs and practices?

We are the first generation of people who have assumed that agrilogistics can be boiled down to its most simplistic protocols aka pure computation based on scientism and ready-meal-level utilitarianism. Agrilogistics 9.0 will destroy Earth even more efficiently than the previous upgrades. STEM is a symptom of agrilogistics 9.0.

Republicans want to defund non-STEM things because they bloody well know they are dangerous--to Republicanism as currently defined.

But the bigger question is, why bundle these disciplines together, and why call them the stem of education? Skills are how you handle your world, but you need a world to handle in the first place. Finding out what that is, whether you like it and what to do about making one you do like is the job of non-STEM domains. STEM refers to twigs.

Bigger. What on earth is “technology” anyway? And “science” imagined in the same breath as “technology” and “engineering”? What is “math”--is it knowing what numbers are, or is it (this is a rhetorical question) knowing how to differentiate with respect to x?

The key to the editorial is its emphasis on fear. We have STEM because we are desperate to survive. But as we know if we study it, survival mode has been really successful--at killing things.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Being Ecological 1

Oh man now I'm really excited. I've got my deadline for the first edit with the press. I've figured out how much I need to write each day to reach that deadline. And I'm starting to write. I thought it best to just jump right in and start. Penguin have handed me this golden mike and apparently they think Tim Morton, whose arms and legs I work, has something to say that might help people. So this is not about being right. This is about showing people something. It's hard to describe it. But I have a feel for it.

So for instance, if you were Žižek you could have written something about being a bit left wing in the early twenty-first century. This is a vague-ish example of the kind of feel I'm thinking about.

QSO LENS in Artforum

This is a very nice description of the project. Chronoplasm!

Monday, December 21, 2015

How to Make a Catastrophe out of a Disaster (MP3)

This was my lecture this past Saturday at Bétonsalon, Paris, on the occasion of their ongoing exhibition Coworkers: Beyond Disaster, parallel with the Musée d'Art Moderne's exhibition Coworkers, both of which are really extraordinary if you happen to be there. Really, really well organized by Barbara Cueto and Garance Malivel (thank you) with a really nice long Q&A too.


Charisma and Causality

My ArtReview piece was kindly put online.

A.P.E (Art, Philosophy, Ecology): A 3 Hour Seminar in Paris (MP3)

Here is my Bétonsalon seminar. Our text was Brian O' Doherty's Inside the White Cube and I was seeing whether we could read it in an ecological way.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

You Are Inside a Wormhole: Portraits from within a Convex Mirror (MP3)





A lecture by Timothy Morton and dialogue by Timothy Morton and Emilija Škarnulytė on the occasion of the opening of her installation QSO LENS at the Center for Contemporary Art, Vilnius, November 28, 2015.

Two hundred people showed up!


Imagine a speculative realist feminist Parmigianino.

Poignant

Well, that was all rather incredibly splendid. Thank you thank you to my hosts Barbara Cueto and Garance Malivel. They created this impeccable structure in which I could be sawn in half, have knives thrown at me etc etc. No really it was so good! They gave me a little bowl of eyeball sized cakes while I taught the class on Friday. Just like the eyes in Blade Runner. What more could one ask for?

Somehow both events, the class and the lecture, became really poignant.

And guess what? I'm back in February with Hans Ulrich Obrist. So fortunate.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Scooby Doo, Heidegger, A.P.E (Art Philosophy Ecology)

Thanks to the fantastic organization and formative powers of Barbara Cueto and Garance Malivel, this three-hour seminar went really nicely. Apart from the fact that I had jet lag, and sometimes lost the plot...In particular, I'm sorry if you were there that I didn't say this kind of thing at the beginning:

Heidegger argues you are always in the truth. There is always some kind of fuzzy, twittersphere version of truth. There is not a sharp boundary between true and false. So say what you are ready to say, don't worry whether it's “right” or not.

And Scooby Doo (below) reminds us that philosophy begins in confusion and wonderment. Just look at his crossed eyes. The point maybe is not to uncross the eyes but to “dare to be dumb” as my Harvard editor says.

Sorry! Because would have helped you not be intimidated. But...despite my omission, loads of people spoke...

I Have Little Eyesocket Cakes


Some Philosophers




Tripping in a Supermarket Shorter

= Humans inhabiting Neolithic space 7.0.

The Phenomenology of that Supermarket Google Acid Trip

Supermarkets are full of agricultural products.

The Deep Dream algorithm has chosen domesticated animals aka agricultural ones that look out of the shelves and people's limbs and clothing.

This is an agrilogistical hallucination.

It's so uncanny.

Uncanny disturbance of agrilogistics as such.

Uncanny nonhuman non-appropriated spirit animal weirdness of the ducks, sheep, cows...

Layers of the uncanny. It's like how jet lag tells you true things about reality.

Google Is Tripping: An OOO Theory of Vision

Google searches mapped onto your images result in something quite uncanny: this isn't just a good approximation or representation of acid, this is kinda your computer tripping. Deep Dream.

A lot of visual data enters your thalamus through your eyes. But a far far vaster amount of visual data enters your thalamus from within your brain.

I hypothesize that “seeing” aka recognizing something is only possible because you are already hallucinating. Hallucinating is logically prior to seeing.

I think about this quite a lot because of my schizophrenic brother, but also because I'm interested in Paleolithic humans, aka our actually existing bodies, and human–plant coevolution, which is suggesting that thought is a result of interobjectivity between plants and humans. You know, those sorts of plants. It's quite true that there isn't a cannabis plant on the planet that hasn't resulted from a plant having been cultivated by a human in the last however many million years. The coevolution bit remains a hypothesis but it's interesting, no? Like a thought is a residuum of a plant...

There is perhaps a trace of this in the rhetoric of rhetoric, aka “flowery” language, the “flowers” of rhetoric, the notion of an anthology (aka a collection of flowers, since anthos is Greek for flower).

Some of this is in Dark Ecology, where I'm arguing along with Julian Jaynes--I think I have a simpler and more logical account of what he calls “the breakdown of the bicameral mind.”

Talking of plants, did you know that the only plant cell in your body is in your inner ear? It's a kind of solenoid-like pressure cell that responds to a pressure wave entering the ear canal. It sends out a pulse. The pulse interferes with the pressure wave. This creates an interference pattern that can be transducer into chemical signals...You hear because you emit sound that interacts with sound coming in.

So...maybe this is how you see. Your hallucination interacts with the visual input creating a pattern that can then be interpreted. Usually this process is happening in the background.

Tripping is where that system becomes vorhanden. With predictable out-freakage results. And insight into object withdrawal. You are not seeing a glass. You are seeing a glass–hallucination chiasmic pattern, and this chiasmus is asymmetrical (like Merleau-Ponty and Derrida love to argue).

My whole point being that the system from which some philosophy derives the notion of correlationism is way deeper than a “subject” interacting with an “object.” It's how objects as such interact. Like, before you know it's “you” your brain is tripping in this chiasmic interlock with visual data.

So Google sends out images that interact with your images, just like you do. And thus is born something quite weird: being able to see not just a picture of a hallucination, but hallucinating as such, with the obvious implications that algorithms could be people (and vice versa) etc etc. It's uncannily accurate, no? Look. Deep Dream:




Obviously you should turn the sound off or put your own ones on.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fragonard in the Anthropocene

I can't stop visualizing this image by Ultragramme that Bétonsalon have been using at the top of their page for Coworkers: Beyond Disaster (lecture tomorrow at 3!). It's got this crazy rococo Fragonard quality to it, clouds of human flesh, this erotic luxury eco-artifice. It's wonderfully confusing of the standard categories and it's right on the money as far as playing with the idea of humans as a geophysical force on a planetary scale, aka humans in God mode (and this is the title of the work: God Mode). And the way the booted ferns just sort of poke out of the flat picture plane, like they're not exactly growing out of the nipply-human-flesh-and-carbon-emissions cloud, more like they've been sewn in or are stitched to something behind the picture. It's fantastic.  Look:

Hyperobjects by Ultragramme: God Mode

My Fellow Eco Americans, This Is Crucial

Friends of the Earth:

Tell Congress: Stand up for the environment, not Big Polluters!

After weeks of secret negotiations, the text of a $1.15 trillion government spending bill is finally public -- and it’s worse than we feared!

Anti-environment extremists in Congress loaded the bill with attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency, our protections for endangered species, and clean water regulations.

This bill could be signed into law as soon as Friday. This is your last chance to stand up for spending on our environmental protections. Your Representative needs to hear from you NOW!

ACT NOW: Stop Congress from dismantling our environmental protections!

The spending bill is loaded with giveaways to Big Polluters. In fact, it would give Big Oil its number one priority -- a repeal of the decades-old crude oil export ban. This move would mean more drilling, more climate-disrupting emissions, and billions more in profits for Big Oil.

Of course, it’s no accident that the crude oil export ban is on the chopping block. After all, Big Oil spent months lobbying for its repeal.

Why is Congress so intent on giving Big Oil what it wants? Because these and other polluters poured in $721 million leading up to last year’s election, and now they are looking for a return on their investments.

Tell your Representative to stand up for our air, water and endangered species, not Big Polluters!

At the same time as they’re dismantling our environmental protections, our Representatives are still slated to send Big Oil and other polluters over $135 billion in subsidies over the next decade.

This stranglehold that Big Polluters have on our Congress has to end. As this year’s budget showdown comes to a close, we need to send our Representatives a clear message. We need to let them know that the American people want funding for the EPA, not giveaways to Big Oil.

Write your Representative and demand funding for our environmental protections -- not subsidies for Big Oil!

Thanks,
Lukas Ross,
Climate and energy campaigner,
Friends of the Earth




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25

Good heavens. My ArtReview piece and something else now means I've published 25 essays this year. And two books: This Huge Sunlit Abyss from the Future Right There Next to You with Björk and Nothing. Nice titles yes?

My ArtReview piece, shorter

Duende.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Oh Come On

"this recent spasm of hatred is shocking in its intensity and in the apparent rejection of that decades-long progress toward social peace. Many even call it fascism. Why has this reversal suddenly appeared?" (From this)

Erm, because it's not a reversal. Trump is simply making explicit what was implicit in Lee Atwater's Southern Strategy. There is a shrinking rump of violent racist agitation aka "angry" white men.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Windy Denmark

I just switched to all wind power myself so I feel quite Danish today.

From Canadian Oil Country

Ph.D. student extraordinaire Caitlin McIntyre just shared this very beautiful piece of music on a comment below. So here it is in its own right. It's been a while since I've heard vocoding work that well.


The Chrysler Building on Acid: Object-Oriented Architecture

So, this is Yale architect Mark Foster Gage's idea for an OOO skyscraper in NYC. What do you think?

I like the use of Massive Attack in the video...

Of course there could be many kinds of OO buildings. They might already exist, waiting to be seen. Could be made for us lot in the 99% you know, too. So before you, Cynical Reason, jump all over this particular example, just realize, how things get funded and built etc etc, we live in an absurd economy, just think about how art is funded and collected etc etc, and remember, these phenomena are not the fault of a philosopher. Or philosophy. Like Derrida didn't have to defend every piece of deconstructive architecture, and may not have himself liked any...There's a bit in his biopic where he is confronted with a portrait and he very politely (typical) says “J'accepte”--he's not going to be drawn on whether it's any good, etc etc.

I like how the building bristles. In my essay in Elemental Ecocriticism, I start to use “bristle” instead of “withdraw.” It sounds different, but is in fact the same.

For my money, the most interesting OO building at this kinda scale isn't explicitly OO, but it so is: it's R&Sie's design for an electrostatic building in Bangkok. Discussed in Hyperobjects  you're interested. It's a very ecological idea. The building accumulates all the other buildings' dirt until a fantastical patina is formed. That's electromagnetic waves translating bits of skin cells and viruses and other forms of dust, no? Without explicit human input.

Whereas this one has been designed to look encrusted. The slightly sinister flirtation with the imperial-or-demonic-or-Chrysler-Building-on-acid angels' wings is nice. The way the building stands out uncannily against its fellow skyscrapers, spookily vorhanden, showing you how buildings can become zuhanden, which is because of a deeper level of withdrawal...





41 W 57th St from Mark Foster Gage on Vimeo.

Monday, December 14, 2015

23

Well that's mad. Jeffrey Cohen and Lowell Duckert have just published Elemental Ecocriticism just in time for the holidays. Which means that my essay “Elementally” adds to this year's list, which now breaks the record by one: I've published 23 essays this year. That is completely mad.

Jeffrey and Lowell have a way of bringing out the best in my writing, and I couldn't be happier with how they helped me to write this essay. So helpful was it that a lot of the thoughts appear in Dark Ecology. 

I remember when I started to write it: I was on a plane, a Boeing 757, kind of a stubby cigar of a plane, from Edinburgh to Denver. That's why there are lots of Scottish flowers in it...

British Ecological Deconstruction

This has become a thing, roughly since I published Ecology without Nature, but there was a sort of prelude to that in the work of John Llewelyn and David Wood. It's really quite extraordinary actually. You wouldn't have thought that deconstruction and ecological thought would go well together, but they really truly do. I'm reviewing this really interesting book in that regard, called Without Mastery by Sarah Wood. Like Anna Tsing's book, it's a massively empowering read--again, if you have prejudices you might not expect that out of deconstruction, but you'd be wrong.

If you look back over Derrida's work you'll see him talking along the lines of something almost ecological all the way back at least to Of Grammatology. So it's not just the “later” Derrida aka The Animal that Therefore I Am and so on...I tend to think that this “later Derrida” stuff ignores how consistent his thought is, just like how Graham argues about Heidegger's consistency (and there's another deconstructor...).

I'm a weird OOO-er, aren't I, because I sort of backed into it via deconstruction. It's possible!

So, my list of British deconstructors who write about ecology, a lot:

Timothy Clark
John Llewelyn
me
Nicholas Royle
David Wood
Sarah Wood

If we include Australia we also get Claire Colebrook...and if we include Canada, we get at the very least Matthew Calarco and David Clark...feel free to add names, I have to keep on reading Sarah wood's new book.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

On the Agency of the First Black President of the USA

Some people--it seems to be the same people each time--get a bit bent out of shape when I say something like “Obamacare,” or in a more recent case, mention Obama's successes at COP21.

To these people, this is attributing way too much credit to him.

It's pretty common, however, to use metonymy thus:

President Truman bombed Hiroshima.

President Kennedy created the Apollo space program. 

Kinda everyone knows what that means. It means loads of people and institutions worked to achieve task x, with the President at the helm in some sense.

And there's also what in Greek is called the deponent mood: you are having a house built, for instance. That means you spend money, issue instructions, delegate, and so on...

Moreover, I feel that in the cases of Obamacare and indeed of COP21, Obama's actual agency, the actual agency of the actual person, was more than simply as a figurehead. Apparently he had to interrupt a lot of meetings in Copenhagen, embarrassingly, because people were ignoring him. And this time around they weren't, so much.

Sure, it's not enough. It's just that like the guy says in his autobiography, there was this totally right and totally powerless dude in the Chicago community organizing sphere, and there was Obama, who did manage to get all the asbestos removed from that building. So maybe it doesn't look like anything to some people.

And I reckon Obamacare is a lot more his accomplishment than the following metonymy:

President Reagan brought down the Iron Curtain. 

I remember the founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility telling me how she had to hold Reagan's hand in the basement of the White House as he had a spectacular blanking-out episode, and that was in the early 80s.

Does one have to namecheck everyone else in the case of Obama? And will Hillary suffer the same fate? I have a funny feeling that the first woman president will also seem to some not to be a suitable metonymy for all the other people and organizations involved.

In the case of COP21, naturally loads of other leaders will be able to tell their people that they accomplished something. That's sort of the point. Is it okay for Obama to say what he said? Yeah.

Imagine President Cruz and the kind of credit he'd want to take for the kind of action he'd want to execute. It's not so bad having Obama talking about having done something reasonably cool.

And no one's taking away from anyone else's input, from activists to diplomats.

I'm afraid I feel a bit strongly about the importance of using that kind of metonymy when it comes to Obama. I think it might be seen as a  bit racist to refuse to give him any credit whatsoever. Like, it's funny that we are pretty much okay, sixty years later, with talking about Truman bombing Hiroshima, but somehow, when the first black president does something, we forget that there is a middle voice, or deponent mood, like “I'm having this house built” or “Xerxes is invading Greece” or whatever, and we assume that Obama's getting way too much credit, and that I'm amplifying it by talking metonymically.

It doesn't help that he's pretty yin. Obama was always gonna be an appalling let down to some people, because as this really excellent hotel manager in New Orleans put it a few years ago, and having struggled like crazy in the Civil Rights movement he knew a thing or two about it, “They want him to be the supernegro.”

Either you fly faster than light around Earth to wind time back to before the Great Recession, or create national health care or bring down neoliberalism--or you are a total failure.




There Are in Fact a Lot of Wind Farms in Texas

...and I just signed up for 100% wind energy to power the house here...

If you have TXU it's called Green Energy Select. It's like about $40 more per month than what I'm paying now.

Texas in fact has more wind farms than any other state. Sorry to be all Texan sizeist about it!

COP21 Infographic


Björk Talks about Me in Le Monde

Awww....

Cynical Reason Is Gonna Hate Me for This, But...

Hardly is the ink dry on these things when people feel this compulsive need, amplified by twitter speed, to have an opinion--a negative one.

This is what the climate deal at COP21 in Paris is gonna do. Will it solve everything? Will buying all my electricity from wind next year (which is now happening) gonna solve everything?

I feel like Obama and other spokespeople for the much more together (this time) USA got it right when they talked about working with time. As you'll see from the infographic, and as you know from thinking about hyperobjects, time is deeply involved in thinking about and acting on climate issues.

No sooner had the thing opened, and Obama given a pretty awesome speech, all things considered, than Naomi Klein had opined that “Of course, he doesn't really mean it.”

The trouble with this rhetoric is that it involves a law of diminishing returns. How many times can you say something sucks before people just switch off? And how many inventive ways can you come up with to barf your disgust in public?

And now pretty much everyone--except Mr. Dark Ecology, maybe--is that ironic?--is lining up to say something nasty about a deal that includes, shock horror, compromises that avoid the US Senate killing the whole thing, on behalf of all lifeforms and all nations on Earth, next week.

I still really, really like what Fredric Jameson's stance towards 9/11, just one week later: “It hasn't happened yet.” You have to have some guts to play with time to that extent.

QSO LENS: The TV Interview

This speaks for itself, really: you get to see what a terrific show this is...more documentation to come, but this gives you a feel for the thing. A white cube it isn't. At all. In my text for the show I imagined it as a wormhole bringing different parts of the universe together. We need to be thinking on these kinds of scale now that the ecological awareness is kicking in, and this kind of art is like future thought that takes the vastness of reality into account...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The 2015 Turner Prize Is Kinda OOO

Making built space for people to inhabit, human and nonhuman people. A collective (Assemble), a whole that is composed of parts. A blurring of boundaries between the causal and the aesthetic realm: building and art, architecture and decoration. Ignoring the rules and getting sort of stuck in. Like a sort of weird, slightly anarchist upgrade of the William Morris type project, belittled as kitsch and culinary art by the avant garde (see Ingrid Luquet-Gad's excellent article on it). Beyond shock. The uncool idea of being nice and helpful. With wooden things, which smell nice.

Making living spaces that might disappear and dissolve as you use them, as they become zuhanden, part of the world you are into.

Doing politics without the upper safety net of a vision of total change. Or the lower safety net of no vision whatsoever. Only cynical reason can accuse this practice of incrementalism. Doing politics by making toys that contain and connect other toys: building, street, dog, tree, children. The building as toy, not simply machine for living. A curiosity and a playfulness in the usefulness.

Making objects that go beyond objectification. Art outside the white cube. Not reducible to its parts or to some correlator or Decider that makes it real (human economic relations, Geist, history, Dasein, the subject...). Moving outside commodified gallery space, but not into a “real world,” but into a playground.

Overall, a friendly, smiling, physical practicality. And, let's not forget, quite irritating to some of the existing art establishment, with its coordinates of entertainment and critique.

This all seems quite OOO to me. An OOO sensibility.

Let Me Get This Straight

It's okay to attend a business gala full of people who want to abolish social security. But it's horribly impolite to attend the institution you yourself helped to found, because it is call Stop the War Coalition.

This Corbyn chap has shown up just in time, no?

Mayoral Runoff Election Today in Houston

If you live here, vote if you can.

More Bétonsalon

Are you registered for my Paris seminar yet? Scroll down to find out how. The seminar is this coming Friday.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Energy Humanities Postdoc at My Place

Rice is a wonderful creative small really well funded place smack in the middle of oil world. Apply!

Big Government

Ted Cruz, with the sincere caring obtuse angle eyebrows: you say global warming science is only there to support big government.

How much bigger do you think government will have to be to cope with a temperature rise of 8 degrees?

Try that scenario on for size.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Three Secrets: Secret 3

So, what have we got so far?



Hyposubjects: On Becoming-Human, which is like Hyperobjects 2: This Time It's Personal, written Deleuze-Guattari style with Dominic Boyer. Coming out with Open Humanities Press.



Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People, which is “How can we expand Marxism to include nonhuman beings?” Coming out with Verso.



And there is also number three, which is going to be called



BEING ECOLOGICAL



Hahaha...and Penguin invited me to write it for them. I'm so so so honored by this request. This incredible world press just handed me a golden mike for me to try to help people. And their symbol is an Antarctic bird...Their wanting to be at the front of contemporary ecological philosophy is so perfect.



So if you watch my conversation with Olafur, or read what I wrote for the Danish newspaper, you'll see part of the reasoning of this book. It's going to be exploring all kinds of ecological philosophy, in the background, but in the foreground, it's exploring how we can actually live the ecological data, which we've hardly started to do. Hence the title, which made me smile when I came up with it, because it's like Being John Malkovich. So it's not just ecological thought--it's making and doing: praxis. And it's “What kind of phenomenological mode, what style of being and feeling, is attuned to the ecological age?”



The point being, that this mode is logically prior to the search for ecological data, and that humanistic research is a key way to boot up this mode. What we are thinking of trying to do in new networks such as Environmental Humanities is sort of groping towards that mode.

This Is Violently Wrong on about Five Levels



Justice Roberts (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), hearing arguments about whether or not to keep the University of Texas's affirmative action program:


"What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?" he asked Gregory Garre, the attorney representing the University of Texas.



Wow. That's irrelevant. And horrible. Universities are tasked with creating a fairer world and we have decided that ending racism would be good. Jesus it has so not got to do with entertaining or informing white people in a physics class.


And the idea that physics is set, and that physics as a discipline has nothing to do with race. He should attend the job interview training sessions run by the psych department here at Rice. I was the ranking humanist in the room last time it happened, and needed to point out some stuff to some of the science teachers, like maybe there's a reason why “I just don't understand why men are always the best candidates and always get the job” (actual quotation by actual chemistry professor) isn't correct or cool.

The worst part of the sentence: it's an enthymeme that is oblique to the issue, like a sort of double enthymeme. A maze next to a maze. You get lost in the maze trying to figure out what the heck is being said and how the heck to answer it, and you're totally thrown off.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Paris: How to Participate

Look at this page, and fill in the info. It's a seminar on art, philosophy and ecology (A.P.E. hahaha).

The Dark Series: Next Week's Seminar and Lecture in Paris

Bétonsalon have created a really nice tumblr for their series on the current ecological crisis.

Here Comes My Review of The Mushroom at the End of the World

...what an awesome title, right?

This is a really significant book.

Three Secrets: Secret 2

So I just told you about Hyposubjects. It's been a bit of a top secret project for a while, but it's so hard to keep it in any more especially as Dominic and I are about to publish a 1000 word piece on it. He unveiled the project at the American Anthropology Association in Denver about last week-ish, and people were really into it, I think. That was a great occasion. Hundreds of people. Loads of discussion. A first peoples speaker jumped up on stage full of passion. It was awesome. Our topic: the Anthropocene. Is there anything else? hahaha

So...next. Hyposubjects has this subtitle: On Becoming-Human. Here's the thing. Thinking about ecology so often leaves out the thinker who is thinking, experiencing and so on about ecology. If you think about it, the object-oriented approach began in the Romantic period when poets began to take up geologists' hammers and put down their Claude glasses (metaphorically and literally) and get really up close to rock and so on. And when you get up close to an object, you begin to experience object withdrawal, because you are no longer at a familiar anthropocentric scale. So you start to write poems about how things are dissolving and your experience is melting--you start to write Romantic poems. The two things go together....

And that brings me to my next project. It is with Verso and I'm super excited about proud about it, because it's my way of seeing whether we can expand Marxism (and related forms of theory) to include nonhuman beings. Answer: yes! It's a bit of a hack, like a Marx-hack or something. But you can do it. Not all Marxists will like it, hahaha, but you can't please everyone all the time. I think it will start a great conversation. I seem already to be having this with McKenzie Wark, really happy about that.

So...this book for Verso, it is called

HUMANKIND 

Haha--I tried to think of a long “widescreen” sort of familiar yet provocative word, and this is what came up. Generalization, universalism, essentialism--let's go there!

And the subtitle, I'm into that:

SOLIDARITY WITH NONHUMAN PEOPLE

Right? Right?!

Strangely the way to think all this through, how to include nonhumans within Marxisms and anarchisms etc is to think about mereology, the study of parts and wholes. I've been doing some talks about it and the topic was born in Hyposubjects. I remember the moment. I was biting on a sandwich I think and I told Dominic we needed a new word to describe what we were trying to talk about. To be continued...

I'm so happy and proud to be doing this. The editor I'm working with is like wow, what a genius he is. And writing books for like everyone rather than people who think they want you to be wrong (sometimes) is really different, in a very good way. In many ways it's more sophisticated than writing a scholarly book. I've had some thoughts about it that I may share here.

How We Wrote Hyposubjects

It was a really interesting experience. We did it as a dialogue, over the course of a few months. I've never written a book in that form before, and it was actually a very good way to put it together. The live-ness of doing a dialogue really helped. I understand that Delouse and Guattari did a sort of Lennon and McCartney where one of them would write something and the other would then respond--others know better than me how in the moment that was, but that's my understanding. Of course the Beatles did it facing each other and so did Dominic and I...we are, needless to say, not the Beatles...

Monday, December 7, 2015

QSO LENS: The Interview

I'm so proud of this it's hard to hold it in...I was very lucky to have been invited to Vilnius on the occasion of Emilia Škarnulytė's QSO Lens installation, to talk about it, have a dialogue with her and all kinds of other events, such as this radio interview. I was hosted so beautifully and taken to so many fascinating places and events that I almost burst. My host was fantastically kind, generous and...just...awesome in general, and the group at lsrge was amazing.

Škarnulytė is an award-winning film maker and artist working in all kinds of media. If you don't know her work, you should. I'm going to let the interview speak for itself right now and write some more later. It's in Lithuanian and English. What you have to understand about English speaking people is that we are linguistic cripples. English isn't a language, so we never really had to learn anything, plus it's so pervasive (because of its intrinsic creole nature) that you can get away with not learning any languages. It's a bit shameful...


Three Secrets: Secret 1

Oh, I so can't resist any longer. Dominic Boyer and I are going to publish a short something to do with it anyway, fairly shortly, so...you might as well know this secret I've been holding.

The anthropologist Dominic Boyer and I are writing a book. It is a sequel to Hyperobjects and it'll be published by Open Humanities Press (free PDF!). It is called, wait for it wait for it:

HYPOSUBJECTS

hahahahahahahahaha

And it's going to be the most Deleuze-Guattari-style book since Anti-Oedipus. Even beyond Anti-Oedipus in form. Luckily one of the series editors, Claire Colebrook, is a mega Deleuzian and loves what we're gonna do.

One clue: this will be a book that, eventually you will be able to write hahahahaha

Actually the full title is

HYPOSUBJECTS: ON BECOMING-HUMAN

:)

Scranton, Wark, Wakefield, Pettman on the Anthropocene

Four awesome people talking about the most awe-ful thing of our times...

Wark makes a whole lot of sense on the term itself, which many people freak out to...


Sunday, December 6, 2015

"Flat Epistemology"

Do I think poetry is a better way of “knowing” than others?

Not at all. I don't even think “knowing” is a better way of knowing than others hahaha...

Like, sitting on... or crumpling... or smoking... or computing... all these are also modes of access to things.

This is a super flat epistemology, this OOO! It's exactly opposed to epistemism of all kinds. Graham Harman has been working on this for a little bit recently.

Epistemism is where you think knowing is the top level of access to things.

I think art is “in front” of philosophy. That doesn't mean poems tell you more about what things are than “science” (whatever that is), or licking things.

Is it because I write kinda poetically? Or maybe it's because I use poems as analogies for other things? Is that maybe why you might think I think poems are more realistic than patterns in cloud diffusion chambers?

In a way, “poem” just means “result of a certain praxis.” Poem is something that happens in the causal realm.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

On the Other Hand, Ken

...It's all good, McKenzie Wark. I like your intelligence and the clarity! And you introduced me to a new sensation, for which I've invented a new term: to Williamsplain. This is to explain Raymond Williams to a student in the lineage of Raymond Williams, who heard the great man on occasion, and who was taught by his student Terry Eagleton as he chatted with the Cuban Embassy (true story) hahahaha :)

A lot of that 1992 style cultural studies (I used to teach it then, a lot, both graduate and undergraduate, at NYU) was somehow caught in Williamsplaining. That eventual gigantic Routledge volume...

Sophophobia

It's getting bad out there.

“Before I begin, let me make it terribly clear that I'm not one of those awful people who actually loves wisdom. What people do behind closed doors, such as trying to make sense, is their own affair. But when they try to make sense in public, they should be locked up. I'm not having that sort of thing on my street! This isn't one of those obscene sentences that actually tries to make sense.

Poem

Poetry is shit.

My poetry book is at the back of the room.

Give me $1000.

Poetry is shit.

"Science Doesn't Need Philosophy"

1. This is a philosophical statement. (See the previous.)

2. Right, like carrots don't need aubergines. So what?

3. Sure it does. You have an implicit assumption like “I'm studying lifeforms” and you go from there. Your assumption is what you can't analyze while in science space. Sure, scientists can analyze it. That makes them, while they are analyzing, into philosophers.

Philosophy has been this thing people love to say they aren't doing for two hundred years. It is the quintessential....philosophical....rhetorical move.

"Philosophy Is Secondary to Science"

1. This sentence, if true, is logically coherent. Therefore it is philosophical. Without science.

2. I do follow science.

Variants such as “Philosophy should shut up, and let science guide us” have exactly the same flaw. If you think science should just do its thing and you blindly follow, don't speak. At all.

3. Or, it's not logical, and doesn't mean anything. Phew!

But But But

But I simply cannot accept statements such as: “The object is already there. Before we look at it. Global warming is not a function of our measuring devices.” (49) What’s missing here is the proper sequence via which knowledge is produced. A theory of global warming is confirmed, by computer modeling based (in part) on measuring devices, which then retrospectively comes to describe a state prior to the result of this praxis.   (McKenzie Wark)


...that's exactly the basis on which I argue for hyperobjects. Of course science lets us see them retroactively. Unless you are some kind of idealist, you think there are phenomena that are pointing to something real, that these aren't just fictions. You simply aren't allowed to say exactly what the are, because Hume, who founds modern causality theories, doesn't let you.

The theory of global warming confirms the reality of global warming. The difficulty of pointing directly to global warming without all this jiggery pokery is what makes it so illuminating of our contemporary ways of thinking and seeing. (And not-seeing.)

But if it helps, you can imagine an invisible sentence about a whole lot of sciency stuff showing us things we can't directly point to, in between the second and third sentences of that quotation from Hyperobjects.

Still, there's something there--why else would a scientist herself care to start looking?

Mind you: I'm blown away when anyone reads me at all.
But unlike him I think this may mean more, rather than less attention to molecular flows, be they of oil or oil-based polymers...

Wait..where do I say we need to stop doing science? Or thinking? Or trying to do political stuff?

Isn't that misprision just an aesthetic preference: He seems to like moles, whereas I like molecules...er, hmm, futurality is just one dimension of a thing. And it's not about some vague cloud of unknowing...there is also a very very specific appearance, which we need to think and explain and cope with and suffer under and overthrow (if it's oppressing us).

And I don't mind the aesthetic. Nowadays a lot of humanistic scholars have no time for it. I remember my teacher Terry Eagleton and his lectures that became that book, The Ideology of the Aesthetic. Eagleton was the typical Oxford don insofar as he was really mad at typical Oxford dons. But even he had and has time for art. Of course he does. And I think he kinda says something I like to say, which influenced me a lot, from The Eighteenth Brumaire: the workers must borrow their poetry from the future...

How come we all turned into aura-stripping poetry police? It's funny (aka really sad) how we in the aesthetics business (media studies, for instance--go on! admit it! we get paid to study pixels, paint, words and their mediation and and and, not to accelerate things around Geneva), can use the aesthetic as a way to put people down. “It's a lovely poem, but it's not practical.” That's what they said about Shelley--Marx's favorite poet.

But the hyperobject is still a theory of nature

No. Once you've stretched the term Nature that far, it just means reality, which is fine. But Nature has to be normative in order to mean anything, and that's why I think we need to drop the term.

Morton thinks we have to abandon the category of nature, which he takes to mean something like environment, a background, a thing apart. Hence his famous slogan ecology without nature. I appreciate the rhetorical gambit here, but I don’t know if in the long run this is a good tactic. One would have thought that ecology was an even more troubling term: oikos plus logos, as if there could be a logic or truth to metabolism within which the satisfaction of human social needs is achieved. I actually take the theory of the hyperobject to mean: there is no ecology. There is no homeostatic cycle of life that could be restored through the withdrawal of human interference.

But that's what ecology doesn't mean. That's a certain ideological speech that is Nature language underwritten by ecological factoids. Oh sure, it calls itself ecology. You can call yourself anything. Ecology is the study of interrelated lifeform systems (hey Mr. Science lover! We're talking about a mode of knowledge here!).

If you look at my stuff, you'll see I'm super hard on harmonious bigger-than-parts holism. And getting even more fierce as I go on...

I so much prefer the term “coexistence” for that very reason.

And pretty much everything I've done has been about staying with the poo (scroll to penultimate paragraph).

Olafur Eliasson and OOO in The New Yorker

In the context of Eliasson's “Ice Watch” at COP21.

A.P.E: Art, Philosophy, Ecology at Bétonsalon December 18



It's going to be a big old seminar at this place, fantastically named after concrete...as one of my new friends observed, this would be a great name for a club...

And that, and Skarnulyte's QSO LENS installation in Vilnius, got me thinking...it's time for me to do a mega 12" remix of O' Doherty on the white cube...seeing if I can twist it in an eco direction. Answer: yes! As usual, having just gotten the new upcoming task in focus, all these ideas are pouring out...

Here is Bétonsalon's description of what is happening in what they fantastically call their “dark series” (PDF with pretty pictures here):


Dark Series : Prochains rendez-vous

Dans le cadre de l’exposition Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster, le programme de rencontres Dark Series propose d’aborder de façon transversale les transformations environnementales et les enjeux sociaux-économiques qu’elles recouvrent. Développées selon différents formats et temporalités (conversations, workshops, assemblées), les Dark Series croisent recherche artistique, scientifique, et mise en perspective de notre situation présente par les procédés d’enquête et de mise en récit.


Suivez le programme complet des Dark Series sur notre site internet, ainsi que la documentation des événements sur le Tumblr Dark Series.


CALENDRIER


Détail des événements ci-dessous


Mercredi 16 décembre à 19h


Envisager l’après-catastrophe


Conversation avec Mathieu Potte-Bonneville et Pierre Zaoui (Philosophes)


Vendredi 18 décembre 2015 de 16h à 19h


A.P.E. – Art, Philosophie et Écologie


Séminaire avec Timothy Morton (Philosophe)


Samedi 19 décembre à 15h30


A.P.E. – Art, Philosophie et Écologie


Conversation avec Timothy Morton (Philosophe)


Samedi 9 Janvier à 15h30


(Nouvelle date suite à l’annulation de l’événement initialement programmé le 14 novembre)


Première Assemblée des Dark Series : Justice environnementale


Organisée en collaboration avec Françoise Vergès, Chaire Global South(s) du Collège d’études mondiales de la Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme



Mercredi 16 décembre à 19h


Envisager l’après-catastrophe


Conversation avec Mathieu Potte-Bonneville (Philosophe) & Pierre Zaoui (Philosophe), dans le cadre du cycle Pensées spéculatives conçu avec Émilie Notéris (auteure)


Le temps qui suit les catastrophes semble voué à l’inimaginable : on ne se le figure ni avant (le propre d’une catastrophe est de déjouer nos anticipations), ni pendant (trop occupés qu’on est alors à lui survivre), ni après, ballottés entre hébétude, ressassement et compulsion de répétition. Faut-il alors renoncer à solliciter l’imaginaire, pour ne plus se fier qu’au réconfort d’une sensibilité encore meurtrie ou aux prudences de la raison ? Par-delà les métaphores de l’irreprésentable, du désert ou du champ de ruine, quels usages et quelles fictions ? Des théories classiques aux fictions contemporaines, on se demandera si et comment l’imagination peut, après la tempête, contribuer à donner forme au souvenir et à l’avenir.


Informations complémentaires


Vendredi 18 et Samedi 19 décembre


A.P.E. - Art, Philosophie & Écologie / Séminaire et conversation


Avec Timothy Morton (Philosophe)


Bétonsalon - Centre d’art et de recherche a le plaisir d’accueillir le philosophe Timothy Morton pour un double événement explorant les liens entre art, philosophie et écologie. Figure clé de la philosophie contemporaine, Timothy Morton est l’un des penseurs de référence de l’Ontologie Orientée Objet. Il propose une analyse singulière de l’articulation entre nature et civilisation, avançant que le développement d’une vision véritablement écologique passe par l’abandon de l’idée même de nature. Une semaine après la clôture de la COP 21 à Paris, ce double événement poursuivra la réflexion sur les répercussions de la crise environnementale, à travers le prisme de la philosophie orientée objet.


Vendredi 18 Décembre, de 16h à 19h : Séminaire (sur inscription uniquement)


Le 18 décembre, Timothy Morton reviendra au sein d’un séminaire sur les concepts qu’il a développés ces dernières années, tels que celui de "Dark Ecology", d’Hyperobjet, ou encore de "Mesh". Ce séminaire sera adapté et personnalisé avec les participants. Compte tenu du nombre limité de places il n’est accessible que sur inscription via le formulaire suivant : http://bit.ly/1Tv1r3S. Les inscriptions sont possibles jusqu’au 11 décembre, et les confirmations seront communiquées le 14 décembre.


Samedi 19 Décembre à 15h30 : Conversation avec Timothy Morton


Le lendemain du séminaire, Timothy Morton développera au fil d’une présentation suivie d’un échange avec le public les liens qu’il tisse entre art, philosophie et écologie.


Entrée libre. Chacun des deux événements se déroulera en anglais.


Informations complémentaires


Samedi 9 Janvier à 15h30


Première Assemblée des Dark Series : Justice environnementale


Organisée en collaboration avec Françoise Vergès, Chaire Global South(s) du Collège d’études mondiales de la Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme.
Avec notamment : Bruno Barrillot (co-fondateur de l’Observatoire des armements), Luc Multigner (Directeur de Recherche Inserm), Jacopo Ottaviani (Journaliste), Françoise Vergès (Politologue, Chaire Global South(s) au Collège d’études mondiales de la Fondation maison des sciences de l’homme), Alexis Zimmer (Docteur en épistémologie et histoire des sciences et des techniques)...


Suite à son annulation en raison des violences survenues le 13 novembre à Paris, cette assemblée initialement prévue le samedi 14 novembre est reprogrammée pour le samedi 9 janvier. Nous remercions les participants ayant à nouveau répondu positivement à notre invitation.


L’étude cartographique des sites de déchets toxiques, de l’agriculture intensive, de l’extraction minière ou encore des usines nucléaires, révèle les inégalités criantes qui existent dans la distribution géographique des industries polluantes, souvent implantées en zones paupérisées. Cette première assemblée s’intéressera aux conséquences de ces activités « à risque » sur l’environnement et en terme de santé publique. A travers différentes études de cas seront abordées la notion de justice environnementale, celle de capitalisme vert ou encore la division nord/sud et le devenir des populations indigènes face aux transformations environnementales.


Informations complémentaires.


Partenaires


À l’initiative du Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Co-Workers se déploie sur deux lieux, selon deux propositions : Le réseau comme artiste dans les espaces de l’ARC du Musée d’Art moderne, et Beyond Disaster à Bétonsalon - Centre d’art et de recherche. Chaque exposition sera ponctuée d’un programme de rencontres.


Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster bénéficie du soutien de la Région Île-de-France, d’Arcadi Île-de-France dans le cadre de Némo, Biennale internationale des arts numériques - Paris / Île-de-France, ainsi que de la Fondation Imago Mundi (Cracovie, Pologne) dans le cadre du programme Place Called Space (co-financé par l’European Regional Development Fund du Malopolska Regional Operational Programme pour 2007-2013). Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster reçoit également le soutien du programme UDPN - Usages des patrimoines numérisés (Idex SPC).






English version :


In the framework of the exhibition Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster, the public programme Dark Series seeks to examine in a transversal manner the environmental transformations and the socio-economic issues involved. Developed through different formats and timespans (conversations, workshops, and assemblies), the Dark Series unfold at the crossroad of artistic and scientific research, and put into perspective our current situation by means of investigations and narrative techniques.


Follow the schedule of Dark Series on our website, as well as the documentation of events on Dark Series Tumblr.


CALENDAR


Detail of the events bellow


Wednesday December 16 at 7pm


Imagining the Post-Catastrophe


Conversation with Mathieu Potte-Bonneville (Philosopher) & Pierre Zaoui (Philosopher)


Friday December 18 from 4pm to 7pm


A.P.E – Art, Philosophy and Ecology


Seminar with Timothy Morton (Philosopher)


Saturday December 19 at 3:30pm


A.P.E – Art, Philosophy and Ecology


Conversation with Timothy Morton (Philosopher)


Saturday January 9 at 3:30pm


(New date following the cancellation of the event initially programmed on November 14)


First Assembly of the Dark Series : Environmental Justice


Organised in collaboration with Françoise Vergès, Chair Global South(s) at Collège d’études mondiales of Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme


Wednesday December 16 at 7pm


Imagining the Post-Catastrophe


Conversation with Mathieu Potte-Bonneville (Philosopher) & Pierre Zaoui (Philosopher), in the framework of the Speculative Thinking Series conceived with Émilie Notéris



The time that follows catastrophes seems doomed to be unthinkable : we can’t imagine it neither before (the particularity of a catastrophe is to thwart our anticipations) ; neither during (while we are too busy surviving it) ; nor after, while we are shunted between stupor, repetition, and compulsion. Should we then give up on stimulating our imagination, to only rely on the comfort of a still hurt sensibility or on the prudence of reason ? Beyond the metaphors of the unpresentable, of the desert or fields of ruins, what uses and fictions remain possible ? From the classical theories to the contemporary fictions, we will investigate if and how the imagination could, after the storm, help shaping the memory and the future.


More information

Friday December 18 and Saturday December 19


A.P.E. - Art, Philosophy & Ecology / Seminar and Conversation


With Timothy Morton (Philosopher)


Bétonsalon – Centre for Art and Research has the pleasure to host a double event with philosopher Timothy Morton to investigate the connections between art, philosophy and ecology. Timothy Morton has become a fundamental figure in the contemporary philosophical thought and one of the referents of the object-oriented ontology. He proposes a unique analysis of the entanglement between nature and civilization asserting that in order to develop a properly ecological view, we should relinquish the idea of nature itself. One week after the end of COP 21 in Paris, this twofold event will further elaborate on the repercussions of the global warming crisis, this time from the perspective of the object-oriented thought.


Friday December 18, from 4 to 7pm : Seminar (by registration only)


On the 18th of December, Timothy Morton will give a seminar to further explain the concepts he developed in recent years, such as Dark Ecology, Hyperobjects, or the Mesh. The seminar will be adapted and personalized with the participants. Due to a limited number of places this event requires registration through the following form : http://bit.ly/1Tv1r3S. The deadline to submit your registration is on the 11th of December, and the confirmations will be communicated by the 14th of December.


Saturday December 19, at 3:30pm : Public conversation with Timothy Morton


The following day, on the 19th of December, Timothy Morton will give a public talk about the interconnexions between art, philosophy and ecology. More information will be coming soon.


Free entrance. Both events will be held in English


More information


Saturday January 9 at 3:30pm


First Assembly : Environmental Justice


Organised in collaboration with Françoise Vergès, Chair Global South(s) at Collège d’études mondiales of Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme.
With among others : Bruno Barrillot (Co-founder of the Observatoire des armements), Uwe H. Martin (Photojournalist), Luc Multigner (Director of Research, Inserm), Françoise Vergès (Political Scientist, Chair of Global South(s) at Collège d’études mondiales of Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme), Alexis Zimmer (PhD in Epistemology and History of Sciences and Techniques)...


Following its cancellation due to the events that happened in Paris on November 13, this assembly that was initially scheduled on November 14 is reprogrammed for January 9, 2016. Our thanks go to the participants who once again responded positively to our invitation.


A cartography of polluting industries, intensive agriculture, intensive mining, nuclear power plants, etc. show the flagrant inequalities that exist within the geographical distribution of the polluting industries, often built near impoverished or minority areas. This first assembly will be focused on the consequences of these risky activities on the environment and on their repercussions in terms of public health. Through a series of case studies the assembly will address the notion of environmental justice, green capitalism, North/South divide, or the future of indigenous peoples in relation to environmental transformations.


Partners


Initiated by Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Co-Workers unfolds over two different chapters : The Network as Artist in the space of ARC at Musée d’Art moderne, and Beyond Disaster at Bétonsalon Centre for Art and Research.


Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster is supported by Région Île-de-France, Arcadi Île-de-France in the frame of Némo, International Biennial of Digital Arts – Paris / Île-de-France, as well as by Imago Mundi Foundation (Cracow, Poland) within the programme Place Called Space (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Malopolska Regional Operational Programme for 2007-2013). Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster is also supported by the UDPN - Usages des patrimoines numérisés programme (Idex SPC).





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Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche


10 ans


9 Esplanade Pierre Vidal-Naquet

Rez-de-Chaussée de la Halle aux Farines

13ème arrondissement à Paris

+33.(0)1.45.84.17.56

info@betonsalon.net

Ouverture / Open:

Du mardi au samedi de 11h à 19h

Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm

Accès / Access:

Metro 14, RER C

Arrêt / Stop: Bibliothèque François Mitterrand

Sortie / Way out: N°2

Bétonsalon bénéficie du soutien / is supported by:

Ville de Paris, Université Paris Diderot, DRAC Ile-de-France, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Conseil régional d’Ile-de-France, Leroy Merlin (Quai d’Ivry).

Bétonsalon est membre de / is a member of:

Tram, réseau art contemporain Paris et/and d.c.a. Association française de développement des centres d’art.




Friday, December 4, 2015

22

Twenty-two essays, for the second year in a row! Blimey.

I'm Talking about this at Sci-Arc in March

Architects make things that have very obvious temporal parts—those aspects of an object that last, to varying degrees and at all kinds of scales.

Architecture is a place where we think not only about a more or less predictable future, but about the possibility of a future at all: futurality. In this respect, architecture does what philosophy does, in a different key. Making a building and thinking about a building are surprisingly similar, and neither exhaust the reality of a building.

Our ecological age is one in which the possibility of the future has become a question that now haunts us as never before.

Ecological awareness means designing things on a variety of timescales, none of which is the “correct” one. This results in a number of amazing paradoxes. Most notable is that the present doesn't exist! Ecological awareness requires us to think and make and coexist alongside this thought.

My Irigaray Tendencies

A reader just wrote in:

someone on my Academia network bookmarked your paper "This Biosphere which Is Not One" and I wanted to say how much I appreciated it especially in the first part explaining agrilogistics.  As an ex-academic trained in anthropology with years of work among indigenous people  I have longed for someone to catch on to the implications of the last 10,000 years in terms of phenomenology and ontology, but it's disappeared even from anthropology now .... great work!  And glad to have come across it.


My reply: 

That's really kind of you. It's tragic that really highly trained people who are not anti-intellectual have been trained to oppose what they label immediately as "essentialism" or "primitivism"--leaving these sorts of arguments in the hands of truly conservative people who aren't helping, e.g. hostile to feminism, "theory" etc. So I really appreciate what you have to say, because it's like, this huge ecological emergency is happening, and really intelligent humanistic scholars have been really disempowered to think about it properly.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Correct


"Running Your Finger Around the Rim of a Black Hole"

The European Space Agency has launched a probe that is designed to help prove an idea developed by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago: the existence of gravity waves. Dr David Robertson, research fellow for the Institute of Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow, has been working on this project for 10 years. And was on BBC radio 4 this morning. Fantastic. I recorded it. Glimpsing the data within a black hole by analyzing the gravity waves rippling out of it sounded tantalizing, and was very poetically put (see this post's title).


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How Much Do You Want to Bet?

Have you read Bifo's new Verso book on mass killings and mass suicide? The mass killings follow a very obvious pattern. They almost all tend to be justified by social Darwinist arguments about culling the herd of the weak, aka neoliberalism incarnated in an individual human with an AK.

I wonder whether this will be the justification for the San Bernadino disabled and special needs facility shooting today.

Amazing Lithuania

Now that was the definition of a wonderful visit. In fact, it's very hard to describe just how wonderful it was. I'll try to do so in the posts that follow.

But here's one thing. My lovely hosts took me to a gigantic geology museum which was in itself a wonderful relic, and I was given a disc of the flesh of the Earth from their 30 000 core samples. It's hard to know how one could have received more. But I did.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Can't Stand It No More, I Have to Say Something

I was shocked by how Simon Critchley chose to enter ecological discursive space on the back of my new friend Roy Scranton's Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: “We're fucked. We know it. Kind of.”

Do we? Do we know that? Or is that one of those lies in the form of the truth, the kind that show up in Blake's Songs of Experience?

And since when did being fucked count as the worst thing that could happen to “us”? And since when did being fucked equal the triumphantly horrified rubbernecking of one's own catastrophe, which incidentally implies the horrifying extinction of actually existing nonhumans? And furthermore, since when did a deconstructor feel like resorting to an explosive monosyllabic slap upside the head (seven of them, actually, in two “punchy” sentences), as if we needed any more slapping from any direction whatsoever, given the current state of neoliberal play?

And that Kind of. The seven words think they can achieve escape velocity from the poor saps down below who only slightly know, or don't know at all. Those fools.

Male environmentalist writers have tended to want to distribute such head slappings in a spirit explicitly aimed with great hostility at what they mockingly call theory. It's pretty shocking to find an otherwise great deconstructor doing it, as if that's how one needed to announce one's eco-entrance.

The horror-aggression of We're fucked is destructive agricultural logistics in full-throated tragedy mode (Oedipally “knowing it”), tragedy being how agricultural society computes (but doesn't at all transcend) its operating software: OMG, I killed my dad! 

We need to find the laughter. Then perhaps we can cry for real. Out with the corn fields, bring on the mushrooms on the forest floor.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ice Watch: Listen to Ice with Your Hands at COP21

Olafur Eliasson has got something very special he's going to unveil on Thursday morning at 8:30am, at the Place du Panthéon. I'm really sad I can't be there. But I will be there in spirit. And I'll be there two weeks later to work on my side of how to be ecological, not just think about it.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

"No More Baby Parts"

Ted Cruz, Republican senator for my benighted state, his eyebrows almost meeting at an obtuse angle to demonstrate his caring sincerity, said that it would be wrong, even left-wing, to jump to conclusions about terrorism in the case of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter.

“No more baby parts!" is what you shout when you want to scare an organization and people who use that organization into stopping...

Stopping what? Something that they are not doing. Something that they have been framed for, most notably by ... (drum roll) Ted Cruz, at the spearhead of a huge wave of Congressional Republicans.

Also, in general, the "lone wolf" thing about the right wing terrorist proves a few things.

1. Patriarchy is everywhere and some people really get behind the most aggressive messaging--you don't have to form a team, you just stand up to the patriarchal plate.

2. The "he was acting alone" thing is itself a terrorist excuse. Groups can be distributed in time and space. Like, a series of shooters, one every few months, adding up to the several dozen who've basically said they are social Darwinist herd cullers. It's like how Accenture do things. They send in a single consultant at a time.

(2) is an interesting thing. It sort of shows that these shooters are parts of a hyperobject, no?

Also, Cruz dude, even if the guy is who you say he is, his action was right wing misogynist terrorism. It so doesn't matter one little bit who he thinks he is, or who we think we know he is.