“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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

OOO Grad Class Expanded Schedule

It will be in Voorhies 308, UCD, for those of you who will be there physically. I'm going to add those of you who are remotely auditing to the SmartSite asap.

Object-Oriented Ontology
Professor Tim Morton

Voorhies 308, Mondays 3.10pm to 6pm.
Office hours: Voorhies 211, T 10am–11, R 9–10am.

Philosophy has undergone a radical change. Reality is back on the table, in a different, strange and sometimes threatening (to humans) way. This change comes after two hundred years of consensus, a consensus that philosopher Quentin Meillassoux calls “correlationism”: the supposition that humans can only think reality as it is correlated to them. This thought has affected everything, from Kant through deconstruction.

In this class we shall survey the bracing new thought that goes under the name speculative realism, and in particular, its feisty subset, object-oriented ontology. This new thinking now affects areas as diverse as ecology, dance, sculpture, computer games, architecture, art criticism, media theory, design and geography. It will soon be making a strong impact in literary studies with a special issue of New Literary History devoted to object-oriented ontology (OOO). It has already had a big impact in medieval literary studies, with scholars such as Eileen Joy and Jeffrey Cohen spearheading the way.

This new philosophy movement is intertwined with new media. The journal Speculations is one of a number of free online publications in speculative realism. Many texts and talks are available as blog posts and in other online media.

Speculative realism is powerfully congruent with the emerging ecological crisis, since it tries to think reality outside the human–world correlate.

Tim Morton is one of the four core exponents of the subset known as OOO.

Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology (U of Minnesota Press, 2012) (proofs available on request).
Levi Bryant, Graham Harman and Nick Srnicek, eds., The Speculative Turn (2011; available as a free pdf download from re.press).
Levi Bryant, The Democracy of Objects (Open Humanities Press, 2011; free download).
Graham Harman, Towards Speculative Realism (Zero Books, 2011).
Graham Harman, The Quadruple Object (Zero Books, 2011).
Tim Morton, Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities Press, forthcoming; final draft available on request).
Tim Morton, “Sublime Objects.” (Free for download at Speculations.)
Tim Morton, “Here Comes Everything.” (Available on request.)
Tim Morton, “Objects as Temporary Autonomous Zones,” Continent. (Free download at the journal's website.)

Requirements: one presentation, three short papers (1000 words each), topics to be decided between teacher and student. They could be modular (work towards two or three conference papers or single essay), or not.
Presentation: 15 minutes on one text: introductory, raising questions (don't have to answer questions!).

Class 1. Rendezvous.

Class 2. Correlationism: the turn away from things.
Graham Harman, “Object-Oriented Philosophy,” in Towards Speculative Realism.
     Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason.
     Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude.

Class 3. Phenomenology: return of the thing (or not).
    Edmund Husserl, Logical Investigations.
    Jose Ortega y Gasset.

Class 4. Heidegger: tool-being and the history of metaphysics.
    Martin Heidegger, Being and Time.
    _____, What Is a Thing?

Class 5. Withdrawal: the essence of OOO.
    Graham Harman, Tool-Being.
    _____, The Quadruple Object.

Class 6. Causality: some implications of OOO.
    Graham Harman, Guerilla Metaphysics.
    Tim Morton, Realist Magic.

Class 7. Flat Ontologies: styles of OOO.

Class 8. Materialisms.
    Tim Morton, “Here Comes Everything.”

Class 9. Aesthetics.

Class 10. Politics.
    Tim Morton, “Objects as Temporary Autonomous Zones.”

Review of Zurkow's Show

By my new colleague Joseph Campana.

Buy My House

Thanks to a very generous deal with Rice, I'm able to sell my house in Davis at a very low price, about $30 000 below the current asking price. It's three bedrooms, two bathrooms, on a 5000 square foot lot. Two huge landscaped gardens, deck in the front, pergola in back, with about fourteen trees, lawn, circular path, and a fountain and pool. The front garden has an awesome sloping dry creek bed and lemon tree, Japanese maple, and myrtle (among lots of other things). Very high ceilings throughout, build by the guy who designed it, who then lived in it. Much storage space, two car garage, huge car port, etc. Belongs to Stonegate which means you get access to the country club, massive swimming pools, tennis, barbecues etc.

I'm going to sell it for $360 000. You can contact Martha Mansell at Lyon Real Estate: 530 574-2003.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Marina Zurkow has excelled herself with this exhibition at DiverseWorks Artspace, which was very kindly opened early for me on my final day in Houston yesterday.

Necrocracy is oil, about oil. Like medieval flags in a banqueting hall you are greeted in the main hall by a host of gigantic banners made of a durable plastic flag material. They depict the things made of oil, which are many, strange and various.

Just outside the hall, these rather disturbingly short beings in yellow fluorescent hazard suits and black visors greet you. Are they aliens? Mutated future humans? Children? Children aliens? And so on.

Right inside, an animation depicts a friendly carbon atom who introduces himself as such, to be joined by a growingly overwhelming chorus of colleague atoms. The sound of this crew is quite quite threatening.

In an antechapel like space to the side, rows of car seats welcome you to sit and watch plastic bags ascending into wherever from a pool of oil, or a tar sand, or a polluted pond, or a pit of death, and so forth. Mournful ambient electronica washes around this space.

Ecology without Nature sits along with my essay “The Mesh” and various other texts in another side room, which includes various kinds of textured plastic.

In a space off to the side, a related piece takes you on a dizzying journey through the soil and rock as you join an animated drill bit. The child–aliens beckon you to watch the videos which are embedded in reflective cubes that hang from the ceiling. A kaleidoscopic journey through Earth ensues.

There are so many other wonders and horrors here that I'll have to stop for now but I took some pictures and will add them here soon.

The kind curators wanted to shoot photos of me looking at the work, which I was happy to do. But on exiting, I wished I'd posed for them with my head in my hands, unable to take it all in—cos that's how I felt. Zurkow has confronted us with reality and it's sad, ugly and outrageous—and yet since it's not a withering vilification, it works its way in under your skin very powerfully. 

Oh this is so going in Hyperobjects.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Plant RNA in Animals

Thanks to Bill Benzon, who sent me this link ages ago (I'm only just reading it now).

Much Have I Traveled in the Realms of Gold

Rice Chapel. Reminds me of some of the more shocking hypoxic dreams I used to have. The gold is thousands of mosaic pieces, giving rise to a shimmering surface that is perfectly right for this environment.

OOO Grad Class Schedule (starts next week!)

Class 1. Rendezvous.

Class 2. Correlationism: the turn away from things.
     Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason.
     Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude.

Class 3. Phenomenology: return of the thing (or not).

Class 4. Heidegger: tool-being and the history of metaphysics.

Class 5. Withdrawal: the essence of OOO.

Class 6. Causality: some implications of OOO.

Class 7. Flat Ontologies: styles of OOO.

Class 8. Materialisms.

Class 9. Aesthetics.

Class 10. Politics.


Bill Benzon nudged me to write about the representative kicked off the floor of Congress for wearing a hoodie, in recognition of the racist assassination of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

It strikes me that what Žižek says about the burqa could easily be said of the hoodie. Let us assume that Martin's assassin was squirming with racist fantasies. What does the hoodie tell us about the real of these fantasies? (Rather than the absurd “He was asking for it because he wore a hoodie” stance of Geraldo.) What is scary about them is that they externalize (lapsing into Žižekian here) the impssible-real kernel of a person, the opacity of a person. We think there is a woman hidden under the burqa but the essence of woman as the opaque being—and I'd claim personhood in general—is what is seen, as if the burqa embodies the void under the mask, or the mask as void.

Or to put in OOO-ese, the hOOOdie evokes a fantasmic access to the withdrawn essence of the one who wears it. You are wearing your withdrawal on your sleeve, so to speak.

Now Congress is (small r) republican, which has to do with an Enlightenment aesthetic ideology of WYSIWYG: you wear your heart on your sleeve, not your withdrawal. You should appear (decently) naked, the real Man (deliberate capital M and deliberate gender). Consider that other republican artwork, the American front lawn: it must be spotless, shaved, clean, not walked on. The lawn is a kind of chew-and-show of the house: the house sticks out its long wide green tongue and shows you—nothing. A blank slate. But this blankness is different from the OO void (! Sunn O))) fans take note) of the hOOOdie. It's candor, openness, nothing to hide. The hOOOdie is hiding as such, concealment revealed.

The lawn and the open-faced hoodie-less congressperson must embody an objectified privacy, individualism, not uniqueness. Whereas the hOOOdie threatens to de-objectify in the most provocative way, by presenting de-objectification precisely as an OOO object whose inner depth is irreducibly strange.

My Teacher in HuffPo

Tsoknyi Rinpoche, “Who Do You Think You Are?”

He is, of course, talking about my good friend, basic anxiety...


The horrible greed and bad table manners of the doctors at this hotel continues apace. Sincere looking faces thrust themselves towards badly handled forkfuls of sausage, the lips protruding. Millionaires slurp coffee hunched like cornered animals over their ceramic cups. Demands to pace up and down faster and faster are made on the beleaguered waiters, who are visibly sweating with anxiety.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Ph.D.

Lisa Sperber with an excellent dissertation on Jean Valentine and Adrienne Rich. She did extensive interviews of both. She will graduate in a few weeks!

Alea Jacta Est

Small but Juicy

Halfway between a Plant and a Ghost

With respect to Karl Steel, Nietzsche and my impending pineapple purchase.

A Tale of Two Pineapples

The grapefruit turns out to be sitting in a rather moldy basket. The pineapple by contrast grows in a grove of pineapple trees. So it's the pineapple.

But another pineapple had shown up. It's larger but less juicy than pineapple 1.

Which pineapple in the grove should it be? 1 or 2?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Problem

Okay, just to clarify, by equalizing the size issue, let's say that what was called an orange is actually a grapefruit. The most delicious grapefruit you ever ate.

The thing is, this grapefruit is surrounded by trees that bear no fruit at all, or are rather mealy apple trees.

Whereas the pineapple is surrounded by other pineapple trees, even though it's technically smaller than the grapefruit.

It's the pineapple isn't it? I'm going to check tomorrow, on foot--but I think it's the pineapple. Which is what I thought it was when I saw it online.

It's a very very delicious grapefruit. Surrounded by not tasty trees. Or an excellent, stunning pineapple, surrounded by other pineapples.

Goodbye Apple

Okay, so sorry Bobby George but I had to toss the apple. Now we're down to:

Perfect orange
Perfect pineapple


The Choice

So it comes down to a choice between three perfect examples of their kind, quite quite different:

There is a perfect apple.

There is a perfect orange. (As specified yesterday).

And now, as of today:

There is a perfect pineapple.

So the question is, should I buy the apple, the orange or the pineapple?

I'm talking about houses here. I'm also talking about mind projection in the after-death state. Can you tell?!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Occupy Yourself

One of the most magical and disturbing things I've ever heard and they are Peter Bergman's last words on the radio before he died recently. HT Jeremy Braddock my good buddy from Cornell.

Looking for a House

...in Houston today. About to meet the guy who's going to show me around. For some strange reason I have very good house finding karma. I think it's because I have no rigid expectations about what I want: I sort of let the thing call to me rather than imposing my idea on it. I've lived in I.M. Pei's building off of Washington Square, Oscar Wilde's old room at Magdalen, a 16th century cottage (Oxford) and an octagonal house (Boulder). And a silent paradise (Davis). Happily also my wife Kate said “Surprise me”: she is going to sell the house in Davis while I get one in Houston. Less chefs to spoil the broth that way. She is literally not wanting to see it until she shows up some time in July...

Zakir Hussein line up

From Thursday's gig at the Mondavi Center:

Fazal Qureshi: tabla, kanjira; Hussein's brother.

Rakesh Chaurasia: bansuri (genius flutes).

T.H.V. Umashankar: ghatam (clay pot).

Sabir Khan: sarangi (sort of Indisn cello/viola). Wow.

Navin Sharma: dholak (drum).

Abbos Kosimov: doyra (Uzbek drum). Genius.

Joy Singh: acrobatic drumming. Unbelievable. He span with his head lower than his feet hitting the drum, among other things.

Antonia Minnecola: kathak dancer. Hussein's wife.

True story: my Mum's colleague at the day care center for at-risk children she managed in the mid-90s was Zakir Hussein's sister. Which meant he and his wife showed up with all kinds of incredible musicians and performed. She rightly saw the kids there as poor deprived white kids--the parents' racism prevented them from seeing she was very wealthy and cultured.

The Ecology of the Lower Ninth Ward

In New Orleans. HT Bill Benzon.

Make a Glacier

Go on, we've been doing it for hundreds of years.

Kim Stanley Robinson

I'm going to miss our occasional very meaningful coffees when I leave Davis. We were just starting to tune quite seriously to one another's work. We're figuring out how to make this relationship work long distance.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Talk in The Hague

At Perceptions of Nature, with Saskia Sasson, John Thackara and Tim Ingold. May 23–24. Click the Future Talks tab.

Friday, March 23, 2012


My friend Carlyle, who descends from the Underwood typewriter people, gave me this bottle of 67 port ages ago. I'm having a glass of it to celebrate this endowed chair. It's the job of a lifetime. I'm in awe of the people there and I can't wait to start work.

...properly decanted of course...

Ja Natuurlijk (CFP)

Ja Natuurlijk    (NB the snazzy sous rature title!)

To be published in March 2013, NAI Publishers, on the occasion of Ja Natuurlijk / Yes Naturally, an exhibition of Foundation Niet Normaal and Municipal museum The Hague.

Concept and editor: Ine Gevers
Co-Editors: Ellen ter Gast, Henk Oosterling, Iris van der Tuin, Peter Paul Verbeek
NAI Publishers: Barbera van der Kooij / Gemeentemuseum: Laura Stamps
Assistants: Dennis Kerckhoffs, Laura Mudde

Exhibition Theme

Society is changing at an increasing speed and nobody knows where we are actually headed. Issues such as sustainability and biodiversity become intertwined with fairness and justice. How are we to build our common future?

Instead of plunging into the ‘green hype’ without further notice, Yes Naturally asks the question: What is natural, and who or what decides? Are human beings the only ones who have a say or do bacteria, atmospheres, trees, animals, things and computers play a role as well? Over seventy artists from different continents present a multitude of propositions for alternative ways to perceive the world. Famous pioneers and promising artists among whom Francis Alys, Damien Hirst, Olafur Eliasson, Fischli & Weiss, Susan Hiller, Peter Fend, Natalie Jeremijenko, Marjetica Portc and Superflex, show humor and decisiveness.

Unlooked for relationships and co-evolution between humans and the environment are central to our focus. Yes Naturally does not choose for ‘nature’ and against ‘technology’, but rather shows how innovations contribute to co-creation and partnerships between human and nonhuman entities.

Central statement

Yes Naturally is not about defeatism or getting lost in nostalgia, but rather envisions an urban future where nature and culture merge. Yes Naturally blends new materialism, object-relatedness and dark ecology in order to understand how humans and environments are intertwined. Yes Naturally is an affirmative approach to building partnerships with the world around us in a less delusional and less self-indulgent manner, opening our minds to the genuine otherness of what we call ‘nature’.

Objective of the Publication

A collection of essays will be published in conjunction with the Yes Naturally exhibition. The publication is intended to contribute to the current debate on ecology, biodiversity and sustainability by recognizing that a fundamental shift is paramount in how we perceive our surroundings and accordingly think and act. Cultural change will be necessary to reverse the destructive forces humans have precipitated.

From participating scholars and authors we expect propositions that suggest a less-anthropocentric worldview, which is both refreshing and challenging. Understanding how we co-evolve with technology is as central to this new understanding of ecological and social justice as is letting go of rooted notions about ‘nature’. Pedagogical contributions on ecoliteracy are welcomed as well. The selected articles may be seen as tools to understand our relationship with each other and with our surroundings in entirely different ways.

Situated and concrete We invite contributions that follow a bottom-up argumentation, informed by situated practices and which analyse concrete objects of study. The areas in which a more attentive perspective can make a difference are numerous. To pick just a few examples from many possibilities: Should we reconsider what it is that makes us human in a world inhabited by many intelligent non-human entities? Can innovative technology build bridges and restore a closer contact between humans and their surroundings? What do indigenous cultures teach us about co-evolution and interdependencies between language, culture, technology and nature? How can we learn from everyday practices and survival tactics of the marginalized and groups of concern in contemporary societies? And what would be the role of art in triggering attention to 'naturecultures' in scenarios for an inclusive future?

We would like to invite you to submit a proposal of 350 words. If accepted, we will contact you and make agreements for submitting a paper of approximately 3500 words.

– The deadline for submitting a paper proposal of 350 words is April 1, 2012
– The deadline to submit your paper of 3500 words is August 1, 2012
– The final deadline for edited and corrected submissions is October 1, 2012
– For questions please email Dennis Kerckhoffs dennis@ja-natuurlijk.com

Ine Gevers www.inegevers.net
Ellen ter Gast www.rtodto.nl/ellen
Henk Oosterling www.henkoosterling.nl
Iris van der Tuin www.genderstudies.nl/index.php?pageid=56
Peter Paul Verbeek www.ppverbeek.nl
Dennis Kerckhoffs dennis@ja-natuurlijk.com
Laura Mudde laura@ja-natuurlijk.com
Ja Natuurlijk/ Postbus

Oh Google, the Amazon

It brings it all back: I was there for a couple of weeks in 1987, totally unforgettable.

Joshua Edwards, "Dark Ecology"

Thanks to @WIStandUpNow I hear that Joshua Edwards's collection Campeche has a poem in it called "Dark Ecology."

Also, Campeche is a name for Galveston Island, which is 40 minutes' drive from...Houston!

Nonhuman@SLSA (CFP)

I'm going and my good buddy Cary Wolfe is keynoting. The theme is “Nonhuman.” What's not to like?

Zakir Hussein Gig Last Night

It's going to be very hard to describe this so it may take a few posts. Here are some initial thoughts about Zakir Hussein's Masters of Percussion at the Mondavi Center, a beautiful concert hall here at UCD.

It was maniacal, demonic, hilarious. There were acrobat drummers that span around and upside down backwards, drumming. There was an Uzbeki drummer from Sacramento who was mindblowing and extraordinarily costumed. The clay pot player was a clay pot. A clay pot that was also a maniac.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That's Nice Graham

God bless you mate.

A Listener Writes from the UK

Dear Professor Morton,

I would like to thank you for downloading your 'How to read any poem' class. I am a mature student taking my English Literature 'A' Level after an absence of twenty five years from the classroom. Your class has helped bring so many aspects of poetry to life for me and has been an invaluable resource each week. I am confident my high grades can be directly attributed to all I have gained from listening to your class. A whole new understanding of poetry has been opened up to me thanks to you (and Stephen Fry!).


Strangely Strange

Another mind bender from Trungpa:

In inviting sentient beings as guests, the bodhisattva, the practitioner in the Mahayana, has a constant sense of the impermanence of the relationship—the guest is going to leave. So we view this as an opportune time, and there is constant appreciation. Our guests come. We entertain them and relate with them. Afterward, the guests thank us, we say good-bye, and we go back to running our home. There is a sense of the preciousness and the impermanence of the relationship, a sense of that relationship being extremely special. Our guest may be our husband, our wife, or our child—everybody is the guest of everybody.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Most Unnatural of All Eco Programs

Thank you Deborah Elise White for suggesting a change to my previous. Rather than "the mother of all eco programs," Cary Wolfe and I shall create "the most unnatural of all eco programs." Be very afraid...

Victorian Nonhumans: My First Class at Rice

So this will be the title of my first class: Victorian Nonhumans. It's a graduate class and it will be from 2–5pm on a Wednesday. Why am I announcing it? I guess I'm just pretty darn excited to get stuck in.

I'm Moving to Rice

I've accepted an endowed chair at Rice University. I'll be building a theory and philosophy school with Cary Wolfe--someone whom I hugely admire for several different reasons. It's exciting to think I'll be working alongside him.

Also, without doubt, we are going to create the mother of all eco graduate programs! So you should think of joining us if you are considering graduate school.

I'll also be building the Romanticism and nineteenth century studies program with my friends Helena Michie and Alexander Regier, and a host of incredible scholars who work in that field at Rice.

There is a very happening religion department in which I've been invited to teach, in particular with Anne Klein (Buddhism) and Jeffrey Kripal, who runs an institute called GEM (Gnosticism, Esotericism, Mysticism). He just published an excellent book on comics and the paranormal. They have a Contemplative Studies program, like Brown, which is right up my alley.

The Dean of Humanities at Rice is an amazingly creative and intelligent person and we're already getting on like a house on fire.

Rice in general has an optimal vibe: it's very well endowed and also very fresh and innovative.

I'm going there next week to buy a house. Houston is the fourth largest city in the USA and I'm hoping I can live a few blocks away from the Rothko Chapel and the Menil Collection. It's been a while since I was in a city--last time was when I was visiting assistant prof at NYU.

Animals That Saw Me Book Signing

In NYC, by Ed Panar:

Please join me next Friday, March 30 for a book signing event for Animals That Saw Me at the ICP Store.

Friday, March 30th, from 6 to 7:30 pm

at the International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas New York City

Animals That Saw Me was featured on several best photobooks of 2011 lists including: Alec Soth's Top 20 Photobooks of 2011, TIME's Best of 2011: The Photobooks We Loved, and Photo-Eye. Find out more about this project including links to recent press and reviews here.

A special edition of Animals That Saw Me which includes an original c-print is now available through The Ice Plant.

In other news, Salad Days: Volume 2 is finished and now available from Gottlund Verlag. Salad Days is a small edition (100 each) of 4 books featuring photographs taken in and around my high school during the early 90's. The books are being released over the course of a typical school year. Find more information here.

Please visit my recently updated website to see additional new projects and new edits.

Thanks for your time and Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

UWO Title

(See the Future Talks tab for details.)

Unground, Underground, Ground Under

New Talks

Several new talks listed here.

New Nonhuman Turn Title

"They Are Here": snazzy eh? Partly in honor of Ian's book Alien Phenomenology.

San Francisco Talk

A new one, on May 26 at the ALA at the Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero Center:

Session 21-B America's Postmodern Nature

Organizer: Karen Jacobs, University of Colorado at Boulder

Chair: Allison Carruth, Stanford University
1. “Virtual Nature, Virtual Commons: Kathryn Davis’s Post-propertied Apocalypse,” Karen Jacobs, University of Colorado at Boulder
2. “Waking Up Inside an Object,” Timothy Morton, University of California, Davis
3. ”Reading Early American Space as Postnatural: Reclaiming Space in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon,” John Crossley, University of Colorado at Boulder

Respondent: Allison Carruth, Stanford University

Karen on Me, Anarchism, Religion

Karen's post has a lot to it so it's going to take me some time to digest. I reckon I agree with the basic premise.

Even Nietzsche Would Have Dug It

...when Trungpa puts it this way:

In bodhisattva language, the definition of friend is the idea of a guest. There is a phrase, “inviting all sentient beings as your guests.” When we invite a guest, we have a sense of the importance of the relationship. Guests are usually fed specially cooked food and receive special hospitality. The life of a bodhisattva is relating with all sentient beings as guests. He or she is inviting everyone as a guest, constantly offering a feast.

Monday, March 19, 2012

History of Criticism: Revision Class (MP3)

We covered a lot.

How to Read Any Poem, Anywhere: Revision Class (MP3)

A bit slow moving, but that's because we were working through stuff.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Footage of that Nonhuman

The one that interrupted Jeff Cohen's excellent, lyrical talk.

Repost Comment

Someone posted a comment on my Monsanto post and I stupidly deleted it: if they could repost that would be great. Sorry!

Monsanto Shut Down

...right here in Davis CA.

Graham Priest interview

My friend Graham Priest, HT Dirk Felleman. Warning to Badiouians: may contain traces of devastating critique.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bennington on Animals

My mate Geoff!

Alan Montroso on the EMU Event

He elegantly captures some of the intensity of it. Some seminars are good. Others are jumping. This was jumping.

My "Impact" Piece

In Jotta 1, a magazine for burgeoning artists.


It was pretty rad that our panel, called "Nonhumans," was interrupted by an F3 tornado that turned some houses nearby to matchwood.

That title was my fault. And there were several tornado references in my talk.

My EMU Talk and Q&A with Eileen Joy and Jeffrey Cohen

“Whales within Whales: Ecological Emergency as the End of Human Narrative.”

Great Panel

I was very lucky to have worked with such talented people here at EMU: Eileen Joy, Jeffrey Cohen and Craig Dionne. Not to mention the awesome grad students. Audio to follow.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Shape of the Shape of the I

At CU Boulder 4.13-15.




2-3:30: Panel 1: Tim Morton, Margaret Ronda, Vanessa Place, Patrick Greaney

4-5:30: Panel 2: Kent Puckett, Bhanu Kapil, Cheryl Higashida, Jennifer Pap, Francisco Aragon



Video Presentation by Christina Battle and Jeanne Liotta, Sound Performance by Mark Amerika, Performances by Vanessa Place and Roberto Tejada


9:30-11: Panel 3: Robin Hemley, Noah Eli Gordon, Lia Purpura, Lawrence Hergott, William Kuskin

11:30-1: Panel 4: Erina Duganne, Philip Joseph, Laura Winkiel, Karen Jacobs


2:00-3:30 Panel 5: Marcia Douglas, Adam Bradley, Andy Fitch, Mathias Svalina

4:00-5:30: Panel 6: Petra Kuppers, Brian Teare, Karla Kelsey, Mary Klages, Daniele Pafunda


8-10 COUNTERPATH READING: Counterpath 613 22nd St., Denver, CO

Readings By

Robin Hemley

Noah Eli Gordon

Lia Purpura

Margaret Ronda

Francisco Aragon

Bhanu Kapil

Brian Teare

Andy Fitch

Marcia Douglas

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"This Is What Death Will Be Like"

The wonderment of this nice 1950s lady is quite right.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

History of Criticism 18: Aestheticism, Pater (MP3)

Walter Pater, a very interesting writer. Aestheticism, a golden middle finger to the reification of everything.

How to Read Any Poem, Anywhere 17: Advanced Poetics (MP3)

A great class I thought. Always good when it's Wordsworth and Shelley.

Ghost Town Farm

I just found Novella Carpenter's blog. It's interesting. One of my Ph.D. students is working on and with gardening, in the UK.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Saturday's Angels

...by If. When my brother's band Senser had me and him in it, this is what we really dug. The A&R man who first got into Senser was the manager of these guys, I think. Oh it takes me back to the hazy days of 1990...hand tinted memories...Mixed by Mr Monday, whom Nick the guitarist had just met in the VIP lounge at Earth... I think he must've ripped the whale sound off of a sample from Songs of the Humpback Whale that I'd used on a demo Nick gave him. It's exactly the same sound. I'm quite proud of that!

JNT with Jeffrey C

And Eileen J. I just got my mojo together for it. Will be good. Middle ages mentioned : ).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aaron Kunin

He gave me a book of poems yesterday, The Sore Throat and Other Poems. Exactly right. This is my first encounter with them so I don't have many words. But they are very very strong. It's because they attend to rhythm and rhyme, in part, but also because they have a disturbing intensity of imagery, and they talk to you quite directly. I've never been called “moron” by a poem before...

My Claremont Talk (MP3)

“Fear of Nothing: Heidegger's Buddhism.” The Q&A was fabulous but because I didn't have the other panelists' permission (forgot to ask), I didn't record it. Great, great questioners. My friend Mark Payne introduces.


What a creative group of intelligent and caring people. Maybe I just found my niche, the ALSCW. I've had more meaningful conversations here than at many a huge convention.

And my good buddy from Magdalen days, lived opposite me in New Buildings, Mark Payne, was my panel's moderator. Great, great speakers on this panel.

And my friend and student of yore, Dylan Godwin, full of insights and smiles as ever.

So good to reconnect with them both. It's been a great day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Singularum Essay

Along with Graham Harman's, in a beautiful new journal, whose first issue is devoted to Alphonso Lingis, quite perfectly. Nice.

Atoms Vibrating

Nice one.

How to Read Any Poem, Anywhere, 16: Narration 2 (MP3)

Beginnings, middles and ends...

Thursday, March 8, 2012


SOLIPSIST from Andrew Huang on Vimeo.

A movie by Andrew Huang. What do you think? It is an irony of a physical medium such as film that many objects must be used to convey a belief that there are no objects at all.


Michael writes (and I accidentally deleted it!):

I've just begun listening to this series of podcasts, and I am enjoying them very much. I was wondering where I can go to read more about the "space" of poetry and/or theories of paratactic rhythm. Your explanation of these ideas are wonderful, and if you could point me in the direction of further reading I would really appreciate it.

Well that's very nice of you Michael. I don't know any texts that address parataxis in more detail than I've been doing but I'll keep my eye out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Harman on Morton

Graham and I both happen to be writing for the same architecture journal and he has chosen to discuss The Ecological Thought. When I discovered OOO, right after it was published, it seemed so intuitively to fit with my sense of things.

History of Criticism 16: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud (MP3)

The body, the physical, materialism, dialectics.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to Read Any Poem, Anywhere: Plot and Story (MP3)

And so to the subject of narrative.

Marina Zurkow in Houston

houston, texas
diverseworks art space
march 16 - april 21

production still, Mesocosm (Wink, TX), 2012, software-driven animation
In January 2011, DiverseWorks supported a two-week research trip for Zurkow to the Permian Basin. From Marfa to Midland, she met with geologists, naturalists, cattlemen, oilmen, and activists. She traversed the high southern plains of the Llano Estacado-the ecosystem stretching from Lubbock to the Edwards Plateau - a landscape so subtle most people call it The Big Empty. In the Permian Period 250 million years ago, the geological riches of the area were formed, as marine microorganisms accumulated in sediments on the floor of a vast saline sea. Over millions of years, the seas dried out, the landmass itself moved more than 2,000 miles into its present location and these creatures transmuted into hydrocarbons. In the past century, we have pumped over 100 billion barrels of oil and a hundred trillion cubic feet of gas from these Texas hydrocarbon reservoirs. The exhibit asks us to think about how we disturb, worship and are dominated by these long-dead beings: Necrocracy or the rule of the dead.
- John Pluecker
The show is composed of seven new animated works and a labyrinth of fifty 10-foot high high banners of things made out of petroleum plastics - IV bags, flip flops, rubber chickens, artificial flowers, nylon umbrellas, gas masks, police riot shields, cell phones, car parts, condoms, diapers, and more. The animations – some video, some software driven – look at the petroleum-rich landscape of West Texas through a series of lenses: geological time, the larger ecosystem, and the interdependence of resources like water and oil.
DiverseWorks Main Gallery and Aurora Picture Show's Flickerlounge
1117 E. Freeway
Houston, Texas 77002
Reception Friday, March 16, 6pm - 8pm
Gallery hours Wednesday - Saturday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trombley on Ecology and Anthropology

Nice one Jeremy. It's a creative blend of The Ecological Thought and anthropology, which he will present at Anthro(+) later this year.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Essay and Talk Today

So today I have two projects: an essay for the architecture journal TARP (the journal of architecture and urban design from the Pratt Institute).

And a talk for the JNT dialogue with Jeffrey Cohen, at the university of East Michigan (nicely named EMU).

Lovely flyer to download:

Whitson on Archives and Digital Humanities

I was happy to read this because it referenced the OOO idea of nonhuman agency. It also discussed the notion of an archive, which I'd been thinking about a bit recently with a view to OOO:

When you teach a poem in a literature class (which I've been doing frequently), you seem to have a choice between contextualizing the poem and close reading it. This is a silly choice. One reason why it's silly is because the context is often assumed to be within a narrow, ill defined human bandwidth: say 1600 to 1650 for a Shakespeare sonnet (tops).

But here you are, it's 2012 and you are also reading the poem. It has that context too. It's better, though more complex (and thus far more interesting and realistic) to think the poem as caught (and not caught) in many different networks of agents, from anthologies to Victorian readers to your classroom.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

2001 Cartoon

Did anyone else love this when it came out in 1976? By Jack Kirby (Marvel).

Essay News

The Australian nature magazine Bare Essentials has asked me to write something on The Ecological Thought for them. And I just wrote an essay for the architectural journal Volume under the auspices of Liam young, the creative spark of the think tank Tomorrow's Thoughts Today. It's for an issue on ecology and guilt. I'm writing against guilt, and really against shame, and for sadness.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Paperback ET Is Here

I'm oohing and aahing over the slimness (you can buy it here, $19.95):

New Environmental Humanities Journal

Called Environmental Humanities, for ease of recollection! PDF here.

Dear EH Editorial Board members

Please find attached a notice announcing the pending launch of our new journal. Below is a general and ongoing call for papers in email form.

It would be fantastic if you could circulate this email far and wide (with the attachment where possible). At this stage we are in the process of posting it to all of the relevant groups and networks of which we are aware, but it has become very clear over the last few months that there are plenty of individual scholars and even larger groups working in the Environmental Humanities that we have not yet encountered.

As you will see in the attached document, we have set up a range of different options for people to subscribe for notification of future issues of the journal.

Thank you again for very much your involvement in this journal.

Thom and Debbie


Subject: Notice of new journal: Environmental Humanities


Dear fellow environmental humanities scholars

We are pleased to announce the pending launch of a new open-access, interdisciplinary journal: Environmental Humanities.

The attached document provides some basic information about the journal, including the list of eminent scholars who have agreed to serve on the Editorial Board.
Further information about the journal can be found at our new website: www.environmentalhumanities.org

We would like to take this opportunity to issue an open and ongoing call for papers for the journal. We aim to publish the best interdisciplinary scholarship on the environment coming out of the humanities and we are confident that the growing and vibrant international community of environmental humanities scholars will support us in this effort.

There are various ways to keep up to date with relevant news and new issues of the journal. Please see the 'About EH' page of the website.

Deborah Rose and Thom van Dooren

For the Environmental Humanities Editorial Team

History of Criticism 15: Shelley (MP3)

Shelley, objects, causality.

How to Read Any Poem, Anywhere, Class 14: Narrators (Subject Position) (MP3)

With discussions of William Blake, the master of shamanic cartoons.