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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Andy Hageman on Infrastructure and the Anthropocene

I always knew this would happen, as they say in Repo Man. I always knew Andy Hageman would publish incredible eco stuff.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hard Awesome Decisions

I think the big picture here is that if you grow up in the 90s hearing your parents badmouthing a public figure all the time, or simply here the ambient dripfeed of negativity unleashed by the GOP and their stooges, including absolutely mental stuff in Weekly World News and all that, staring at you at the supermarket, and to cap it all, seeing someone having to defend themselves all the time in front of an angry looking committee, it's very likely that you will form a negative opinion of someone, until that someone shows up live without encumbrances for a debate.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lecture in Chicago Sunday

It's called “Things Just Got Weird” and it's in support of my friend Ben Rivers's film Urth which he made inspired by Dark Ecology and is showing at the “Ren,” the Renaissance Society (which is a contemporary art space) at the University of Chicago. 3pm Sunday.

With any luck I'll be over this bothering virus by then...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Justin Guariglia on Hyperobjects

He's doing work with NASA and he's documenting melting ice. He makes gigantic, suitably scaled images that you can't contain in one gulp. They are fascinating from a scalar point of view: how far away are we when we see them? This kind of scale confusion is intrinsic to ecological awareness.

Guariglia is devoted to ecological issues such as global warming--I say devoted because it's certainly a lot more than committed.

This is from the popular US show Science Friday.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Some Words about Me in Korean

Really nice. Good on the uncanniness of the mesh concept.

Shite

“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a Trump supporter, told The Boston Globe last week. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.” --HP

1000 Citations

Just happened today.


So Enjoying This

My intellectual life this last month has taken me literally around the world. Right now I'm in Yale at a very very cool architecture conference called “Aesthetic Activism” and I'm just about to go to a very very interesting panel on the emerging discourse of xenofeminism.

I'm editing my book on solidarity with nonhumans for Verso and it seems to be working! I'm enjoying that too. Lots of work. I'm steaming away. I have precisely two weeks to finish. Say a prayer.

And I taught a class on Wednesday, with the wonderful new graduate students in English at Rice. They were so good and the class was so very enlightening for me on Marx's early writings. It's a privilege to teach because that's how you learn.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Oops, you missed a spot

“Q. What about the risk of driving nuclear waste around and storing it at places like Yucca Mountain?
A. The casks they use to ship nuclear fuel have been very robustly tested. Dropped on spikes. Put underwater. Set on fire. Compare that to many other things that are shipped on trains that are not as well protected. The risk is so small that the benefits far outweigh it.” --Grist

There was one thing you didn't do, when you were dropping things on spikes.

You weren't leaving them alone under a mountain for 20 000 years.

We Are All Mermaids: QSO Lens, The Video (with Tim's words)

I'm so so honored and so deeply proud to have been a small part of this project. Part of it as you'll see is that Škarnulytė transmogrifies herself into a mermaid and interacts with a nuclear sub in deep freezing Arctic water. Just the commitment and the bravery of that blows my mind every time I think about it, which is a lot.

Another part of it is that Škarnulytė opens our ears to entities and dimensions far beyond the human, such as quasars, and links them with massive terrestrial beings such as glaciers and mountains. The result is a deep and complex engagement with our contemporary, globally warming world of mass extinction, where we're all figuring out in different ways how to relate differently with nonhuman beings.

In the end, a lifeform is always a hybrid, a being endowed with some X-power such as being able to breathe for a few seconds out of water. That's how evolution works. Spectrally. We are all mermaids.

So I wrote a text that you'll hear some of, read by a female computer voice. When I make music I often sound better singing as a woman, go figure, so I like to tweak the formant and pitch and suchlike of my recorded voice. Sounds better.

You can hear my lecture about it in Vilnius here.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ökologie ohne Natur

Nur scheinbar formuliert Timothy Morton in diesem bahnbrechenden Buch des Ecocriticism ein Paradox: Das Bild, das wir uns von der Natur machen, verhindert, dass wir der Umwelt, in der wir leben, gerecht werden können, dass wir ihre Ökologie begreifen. Stets trachtet das Schreiben über die Natur danach, eine Weltsicht zu vermitteln, die die Natur bewahrt und respektiert. Kein Wunder, dass wir uns angesichts der ökologischen Katastrophe, die wir erleben, nach einer unversehrten, wilden und ›unschuldigen‹ Natur sehnen. Aber die Feier der Natur, oder der Einheit mit ihr, trübt unseren Blick. Rigoros und verstörend stellt Morton unsere ökologischen Grundannahmen auf den Prüfstand und versucht, ein neues Vokabular für das Verständnis von Natur zu entwickeln. In einem Parforceritt durch die Literatur- und Philosophiegeschichte trägt das Buch dazu bei, unseren Blick auf ökologische Zusammenhänge zu weiten und den Umweltgedanken in einen geistesgeschichtlichen Kontext zu stellen, der ihm politisch und intellektuell mehr Schlagkraft verleiht.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Latour Litanies Don't Use Adjectives (in case you were wondering)

An adjective, such as “flimsy,” describes someone's access to a thing, such as “argument.”

But that's just that someone's access. It may be accurate. But it's theirs nevertheless.

“Hard stone” is how a squirrel experiences a stone (I bet). But stones are very soft for gamma rays.

In a novel, I can use an adjective such as “offensive” and add it to a noun such as “moron” if I want to qualify what someone's experience of the noun is...

But in a Latour Litany, where I'm trying to show that objects transcend how we appropriate them, I'm not going to be using adjectives. Salt. Blood. Black hole. Fire. Idiot.

So that's why we don't use adjectives.

Not because we're Nazis with pathological sexualities.

Just putting that out there. :)

Tim on Dutch TV

This was an interview on a show called Cultuurbarbaren that I did during the Dark Ecology tour this June. Here's the link here, embed below. You'll also see Alessandro Baricco, the novelist. And my mate Espen Somer Eide, genius composer.  And the amazing Femke Herregraven. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stillness

By Nik Gaffney, with a foreword by me...

Movement is a deeply strange and paradoxical phenomenon, yet we see it all around us all the time. Many philosophers can’t cope with how paradoxical it is — think about Zeno and his paradoxes — so they try to get rid of it, by arguing that movement is just an illusion.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Yep

“A few seem to believe in the old doctrine of social fascism — better to see the center-left defeated by the hard right, because that sets the stage for a true progressive revolution. That worked out wonderfully in 1930s Germany.” --Paul Krugman

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What's Wrong with Postcolonial and Decolonial Critiques of OOO? Part 1 (the big picture)

I'm not going to do a long peroration here, as I have done when this has come up in lectures, and frequently, maybe five times in as many months. That will be part 2.

The big reason why these critiques miss the target is that they rely on an idea of the incommensurability of cultures.

This idea stems from strong correlationism (Hegel).

Strong correlationism is equated with imperialism.

So the critique of OOO on that basis is a symptom of the very imperialism that OOO is in fact trying to rescue thinking from, by departing from strong correlationist orthodoxy.

How ironic is that? I certainly feel at least "ironic" when I'm thinking about these critiques.

Okay, more soon.

Talks Thus Far This Year

I promise promise promise I'll get on uploading the documentation for these. I've been so terribly busy with all kinds of tasks.

“The Parliament of Things,” dialogue with Olafur Eliasson, Leeum, Seoul, September 28.
“Where Are All the Megacities?” Future Cities conference, Singapore, September 14.
“Rock Your Body,” Rock/Body Symposium, University of Exeter, September 9.
“Nature Isn’t Real,” at Aleppo, Nature, Brussels, September 6.
“The Halting Problem,” Arctic Encounters / Dark Ecology Tour, Tromsø, Norway, June 15.
“Dark Ecological Chocolate,” Dark Ecology Tour, Kirkenes, Norway, June 10.
“Agriculture Is Exploding,” Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, June 4.
Roundtable, “Music, Art, and Machine Intelligence,” Google, San Francisco, June 1.
“Solidarity with Nonhuman People,” York University, Toronto, May 19.
“Omaobamaoldsmobile,” dialogue with Haim Steinbach, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, May 7.
“Bugging Marx,” Cultures of Energy, Rice University, April 23.
“Haunted Houses,” SCI_Arc (Los Angeles), March 14.
“Philosophy is Design is Philosophy,” SCI_Arc (Los Angeles), March 10.
“From Hyperlocal to Hyperobject: Art, Ecology, and OOO,” Marfa Dialogues, Fotofest Biennial, March 26.
“Résistances,” participant and presentation, Paris, February 25–28.
“When Frogs will Cross the Street You've Designed,” Façoner l' Avenir, Paris, February 8.
“X-Existence,” College of William and Mary, January 28.
“Art Objects,” Seminar, Glassell School, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, January 19.
“And You May Find Yourself Living in an Age of Mass Extinction,” ISCP, New York, January 12.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Correct

tens of millions of Americans saw the candidates in action, directly, without a media filter. For many, the revelation wasn’t Mr. Trump’s performance, but Mrs. Clinton’s: The woman they saw bore little resemblance to the cold, joyless drone they’d been told to expect.

How much will it matter? My guess — but I could very well be completely wrong — is that it will matter a lot. Hard-core Trump supporters won’t be swayed. But voters who had been planning to stay home or, what amounts to the same thing, vote for a minor-party candidate rather than choose between the racist and the she-devil may now realize that they were misinformed. If so, it will be Mrs. Clinton’s bravura performance, under incredible pressure, that turned the tide.

...

[Previously, she had run] into a buzz saw of adversarial reporting from the mainstream media, which treated relatively minor missteps as major scandals, and invented additional scandals out of thin air.

Meanwhile, her opponent’s genuine scandals and various grotesqueries were downplayed or whitewashed; but as Jonathan Chait of New York magazine says, the normalization of Donald Trump was probably less important than the abnormalization of Hillary Clinton.

...

This media onslaught started with an Associated Press report on the Clinton Foundation, which roughly coincided with the beginning of Mrs. Clinton’s poll slide. The A.P. took on a valid question: Did foundation donors get inappropriate access and exert undue influence?

As it happened, it failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing — but nonetheless wrote the report as if it had. And this was the beginning of an extraordinary series of hostile news stories about how various aspects of Mrs. Clinton’s life “raise questions” or “cast shadows,” conveying an impression of terrible things without saying anything that could be refuted.

The culmination of this process came with the infamous Matt Lauer-moderated forum, which might be briefly summarized as “Emails, emails, emails; yes, Mr. Trump, whatever you say, Mr. Trump.”

I still don’t fully understand this hostility, which wasn’t ideological. Instead, it had the feel of the cool kids in high school jeering at the class nerd. Sexism was surely involved but may not have been central, since the same thing happened to Mr. Gore. 
-- Paul Krugman

Why?

...you know I have a horrid feeling it's because they grew up hearing Reagan and Thatcher as small kids, or Clinton and Blair (Reagan and Thatcher 2.0 Lite). So that the basic Greed Is Good meme was in there from the start.

Sorry about it, because many have trouble getting a job or leaving their mum's house. But from what I see happening to my phone...

Millennials Designing Phones or, Oh Dear

Back in the day, it was about “access to tools,” the subtitle of Steve Jobs's favorite mag.

Back in the day it was about making things simpler. One click, and a music software pops up out of OS X good enough to allow you to make music without knowing pro software...

The mouse and System whatever, versus MS DOS.

Does anyone recall hippies designing things for Generation X? Does anyone recall the elegance of that? How design was about making things simpler?

To empower people. To put power in people's hands through access to tools.

Not being told how many feet away from your car you are, as you die of a heart attack without being able to dial 911, because the touch screen is now too thin and the chip controlling it is too flimsy, and you need a compulsory passcode, and...

Remember the lock screen of the first iPhone? (Clue below.)