“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jackson Hammers the Ice

This is yet another interesting installment of Jackson on objects, algorithms and Michael Fried. I think Jackson and I have some work to do together. Maybe it's just the way my brain is wired but I really think, and I think Jackson is going there too, that the aesthetics-and/as-causality line in Harman's work is not just a helpful or entertaining side show, but a main feature.

It's easy to shy away from it because it's so counter-intuitive. But it does a lot of the heavy lifting. Like I said I my lecture it's swimming against not only the scientistic rejection of occasionalism (that has a thousand year old pedigree), but the split between rhetoric and science, and aesthetics (a five hundred year old pedigree).

I want to know more about Fried but what I see in his work are some strong parallels to why I think OOO can talk about Buddhism. The contemplative inwardness of Buddhism I see as common to all objects in OOO (sort of). Fried writes about paintings that withdraw, that depict withdrawn humans... There's some kind of Möbius-like recursivity at work here that makes it hard to think about.

There's a whole thing about taking hammers to Antarctica in his post, which I'll talk about in a separate post.

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