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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Infinity Machine

Cardiff and Miller. If you're in Houston you should see it, it's about two blocks from where I live and it's like walking into hyperobject space for sure. Mirrors and frames cause you to see how objects are wrapped in their very own hermeneutical clouds of unknowing. A sound as of two planes of glass sliding over one another forever. An uncertain dimsionality. If Matthew McConaughey had encountered this at the end of Interstellar, he would've been in trouble.



Dark Ecology to be Published by Columbia

The Wellek Lectures get published by them, and the book got the university press style green light today. Awesome. I've been editing it a lot this last week, me and my excellent research assistant Mallory Pladus.

It's 55 000 words long, which makes it my shortest book by a long way.

We are going to try to put it out real fast. Every time I edit it gets a bit softer, more yin, less like a lecture. More readable.

I think I can put it through maybe five more edits in the intervening time.



The Nonhuman Turn

Richard Grusin's collection of like minded thinkers on things that aren't human and how they have recently splattered unignorably all over the humanities is going to be a go to location for some time now.

Order it order it!

My one is called "They Are Here" and it is race and OOO. And Talking Heads. And yttrium oxide.

I got the idea for the title from Mark
Bell--LFO's "We Are Back."



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trying to Avoid Loops: Autoimmunity Alert

"Our intellect is an insect's waking dream" exempts itself from being an insect's waking dream.

Discuss.




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Berkeley Lecture on OOO Politics (MP3)

Thank you thank you thank you to Kimberly, who fortunately hit record when I didn't.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bardo Music

If this isn't playing in the bardo I will require some kind of refund. I believe it was young Mr. Seal aided by Mr. Horn who first alerted me to the beauty of semitone or tone downward modulations...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pre-Order Nothing

The Buddhism book I wrote with Marcus Boon and Eric Cazdyn is online and you can order it. Proof reading it, we were struck by how nicely balanced our views are and how genuine and searching a discussion it is.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vikram the Vampire

I love me some good beats and this has it in spades.


Show Us Your Papers! (PDF)

My MP3 recorder didn't work! So I have taken the unusual step of uploading the actual talk text. Let's see, to give you an idea of the atmosphere. There were about 200 people in the room. There was a long and lively Q&A. People laughed.

One question was about acts--why do I flatten them out so that they are indistinct, allegedly? To which I replied, it's quite the opposite, for me, acts are highly differentiated, and action is intrinsic to what an object is. Another question was about the dreaded narcissism--how to avoid it? I said don't avoid it, it's great! Just read Derrida on narcissism! What is required is that we extend narcissism to include more and more beings. Getting rid of it would destroy the relation to the other in advance. Another question was about the imminence of disaster--to which I responded that the disaster had already occurred, “we are already dead” etc. Another question was about people--are they singular or can they be groups or sets, collectives in other words?

Fantastic group of people on a fantastic day. There were many points of connection between my talk and others'. For instance, to name just a few: Kali Rubaii on dying-with (I invented that phrase in a chat afterwards but it really works to describe what she does); Jonathan Wald on orchids vs. corn (me: flowers vs stems); Emilie Dionne on the ethics of physical vulnerability and susceptibility; Joan Roughgarden on affiliations of humans and nonhumans; Hector Hoyos on individuals vs. people.


Show Us Your Papers! by Timothy Morton

Life

For me life is a flickering instability between two different types of death. Not anti-death but between deaths. A spectral flicker.

On the one side we have dissolution.

On the other we have endless machination.

Discuss.




OOO: The World of Baby Ford




For real. That is the title.

You haven't lived till you've heard "Poem for Wigan," "Wigan," "Chikki Chikki Ahh Ahh" and "The World Is In Love."

New Accelerationist Tactic: Insult Artists

Actual thing heard on Earth this week, taken to its logical conclusion:

"If you aren't doing accelerationist art, you are a zombie. You are a shameful, pathological version of a human. You are not human enough. To be into accelerationism. Wait a minute."




Friday, April 17, 2015

Only in Berkeley

...would your hotel room beside lamp look like a bong:





The Persistence of Beauty

I'm in this book with an essay on My Bloody Valentine.

It is called "Beauty Is Death" hahaha...

Thanks to the editors for getting us roused and ready to do aesthetic battle!



California Light

There's plenty of it. If you haven't been here, you have to sort of visualize a swarm of light, like a swarm of bees. It seems to nest in the branches of trees, as if slightly thick. But not tropical rich. Lemony golden. With a strange blue afterglow.

First thing you see when you drive over the Sierras: these light swarms.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's Me! At UC Berkeley!

For those of you who were wondering--it's definitely me talking tomorrow! With queer theory biologist Joan Roughgarden--can't wait!



It's Not a Sport

"The basic point of mindfulness is to be completely, totally in touch with what happens in your body and the environment around you. You are not reduced to an inanimate clod of earth while you are meditating. You may feel your pulse or your heartbeat. You feel your breathing. You hear sounds and see sights. You feel vividly that you are alive." --Trungpa Rinpoche

That's it. I'm afraid, with full respect to David Lynch, I never could get behind transcendental meditation, which when you get over the fanciness of using a mantra, is basically replacing one thought with another. No wonder it's so soothing.

The TM approach implies there's something wrong with (that one) thought. That feeling of wrong just is samsara, precisely.

What's wrong with a thought--any thought? Just let it be naked. That's what I'm talkin about.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Katherine Behar in Atlanta

The magnificent object-oriented feminism panels at the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts conferences are going into their fifth iteration this year thanks to Katherine. Always very good to be on them. Currently she is doing this. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

UC Berkeley Objects and Ecology Schedule

ETHICS, AGENCY, AND AESTHETICS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE
A SYMPOSIUM 17 April 2015




10.00 to 10.15 WELCOME & INTRODUCTION (315 Wheeler)

10.15 to 11.30 ETHICS, AFFECTS, OBJECTS (315 Wheeler)

Stefanie Graeter, UC Davis, “We Want to Work: Exposure as Agency in Peruvian Mining Politics”
Kali Rubaii, UC Santa Cruz, “In the Path of the Witness-Perpetrator: Concrete and Chemicals in Anbar, Iraq”
Respondent: Ashley Dawson, Professor of English, CUNY

11.30 to 12.30 JOAN ROUGHGARDEN (315 Wheeler)
Professor of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii
“Ram-2050: A Ramayana Epic for the Future”

12.30 to 1.30 LUNCH

1.30 to 3.00 THINKING WITH NONHUMANS (300 Wheeler)
Jonathan Wald, UC Berkeley, “Thinking about Morality with Orchids”
Elizabeth Crachiolo, UC Davis – “Sensitive Plants and Natural History in Early Modern England”
Lisa Reade, UC Berkeley – “Sound Bytes: Koda Rohan’s Phantom Linguistics”
Respondent: Ewa Domanska, Professor of Theory and Historiography, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; and Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

3.00 to 3.15 BREAK

3.15 to 4.45 AGENTIAL MATTER (300 Wheeler)
Emilie Dionne, UC Santa Cruz – “Dwelling in Corporeal Ambiguity and Vulnerable Ecologies”
Clement Hil Golberg, UC Berkeley – “Animated Extinction”
Susan Eberhard, UC Berkeley – “Marinship’s Wake: Salvage Ethics on the Sausalito Waterfront”
Respondent: Hector Hoyos, Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Stanford University

4.45 to 5.00 BREAK

5.00 to 6.00 TIMOTHY MORTON (315 Wheeler)
Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English, Rice University
“Show Us Your Papers!”

6.00 to 6.15 CLOSING REMARKS

6.15 COMMUNAL DINNER FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS (330 Wheeler)




Sponsored by UC Berkeley English Department, Stanford Environmental Humanities Project, Townsend Center for the Humanities, Florence Green Bixby Chair, James Joyce Working Group, and Materiality Working Group.

Objects at Berkeley this Week


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Fun of Writing Talks

So next week I'm doing this philosophy lecture at Berkeley on OOO and ethics and politics. And I sat down and wrote 20 pages of it in like one hour. I'm so happy when that happens. It's sort of to do with gelling with the wishes of the group or person who invited you. That's what gets you to boiling point.

David Graeber in Dark Ecology

This kind of writing has been very, very influential for me in the last few years or so. Just a really fresh take on economics, which is after all how we organize our enjoyment, let's not forget.

For me, play is a deep ontological category.

Bobby George Brings It on Graffiti

I like Bobby George. He's invited me to write things that have been very very helpful for me to think through.

Agrilogistical Antigone

Here's a nice bit:

Of all my cares, you
                        Have touched the one most painful
                                    to me:
My father’s doom – recurring
                        Like the plowing
Of a field three
                        Times – and the ruin
Of us all – the famed
                        Family of the Labdakids!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Columbia UP will Publish the Wellek Lectures

So, I got these really nice readers' reports on Dark Ecology, my Wellek Lectures from last year (you can hear them on this blog if you go to Past Talks). It's very nice, because the readers were less acquainted with my work, and they really liked it.

I had always envisaged Ecology without Nature as the first book in a trilogy, and Dark Ecology is the third installment. Harvard published the first one and The Ecological Thought, and because Columbia publish the Welleks (for instance Derrida's Memoires for Paul De Man), they are doing Dark Ecology.

The best would be if Irigaray could endorse it, as she features large in the book. I discovered that my version of OOO basically made me an early 70s French feminist. Yippee! My favorite favorite class at Oxford was run by Stephanie Flood (hi Stephanie if you're still around!) as part of the student-run Oxford English Limited collective. We studied French feminism, in particular Marks and de Courtivron's anthology, which is due for a re-issue (take note presses!). And my very very favorite piece of writing of the time was not Marx or Derrida, but something by Chantal Chawaf from that anthology.

Finally I get to acknowledge that debt and slough off the last of the low-self-esteem peer-pressure intellectual affiliations...it's been coming but Dark Ecology is probably my most individuated. Finally I go up against (a certain form of) Marxism. Through the 90s I'd gradually seen I was more of a deconstructor than anything else, though I've always been a big Adorno fan and it's a line from him that is the epigraph of Dark Ecology. It didn't hurt that Derrida was like the first adult to really like my stuff.

Then I heard that my version of Derrida was OOO--madness! So if the shoe fits as they say...That's right, I'm The Weird One.

It's nice to discover what you think rather than impose your concept. It turns out I'm an anarchist who says about quasars and spoons what Irigaray says about the being she calls woman.

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Future Talks

You can see the schedule here, including one at Paris 8 and one in Helsinki, a philosophy conference at Berkeley and an Anthropocene conference in Santa Barbara.

"Startlingly Bad"

“Britain’s economic performance since the financial crisis struck has been startlingly bad. A tentative recovery began in 2009, but it stalled in 2010. Although growth resumed in 2013, real income per capita is only now reaching its level on the eve of the crisis — which means that Britain has had a much worse track record since 2007 than it had during the Great Depression.

“Yet as Britain prepares to go to the polls, the leaders of the coalition government that has ruled the country since 2010 are posing as the guardians of prosperity, the people who really know how to run the economy. And they are, by and large, getting away with it.”   --Paul Krugman

Yo Semitty

People of England, it is not pronounced Yossamight.



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

XTC, “River of Orchids.” Andy Partridge's fascination with dub loops meets eco loops. “Just like a mad dog you're chasing your tail in a circle...”


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Some Presses Are Better than Others

...I say these Chicago chaps know how to put a near perfect set of proofs together.

If you are publishing something with Zero books, proof read the **** out of it. I have hardly seen a book from them (apart from Graham's and he is a brilliant checker) that doesn't have an extraordinary range of errors. They become so hard to read because of that. Sure, they're cheap...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Proofs of Nothing

...have arrived so I guess it will be published soon. It's a very nice book I think. Marcus, Eric and i complement each other excellently.

If you haven't been following this thread, this is a book about buddhism and critical theory.