“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, May 31, 2014

Caused by Humans

Anti-essentialist Anthropocene objectors, it might be a good idea to upgrade your thoughts on this, the upshot of global warming.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shorter Ecological Awareness

[T]here is nothing the least bit “misanthropic” about saying that humans don’t deserve to be ontologically half of the universe. There’s a philosophical debate to be had here (and we’ve been having it among ourselves for a long time now), but that debate can’t get properly started if people gloss my claim that humans and nonhumans must be placed ontologically on the same footing as: “humans are worthless.” It seems to me that one can grant plenty of worth to human beings without reserving half of ontology for humans while stuffing all the trillions of other kinds of entities in the cosmos into the other, same-sized half.
Graham Harman

Olafur Eliasson's Exhibition

Here are the details.

“For Louisiana's major autumn exhibition in 2014 Olafur Eliasson will fill the entire South Wing with a huge project that reverses the relation between nature outside and art inside.”

It reminds me of Geoffrey Hartman on “nature” as an “outdoor living room”: I always liked that line. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou RIP

Her inaugural poem was so moving.

Conversation with Olafur Eliasson

I've been a huge fan of his work for at least the last decade. He called me yesterday to talk about speech as a physical entity--a concept with which I totally agree. He asked very, very accurate questions, which were great to answer. We do indeed, as I'd suspected for quite some time, share an awful lot of common ground.

This conversation and others will be part of There Is No Outside, happening in Denmark at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

To the Anti-Europeans

All right:

Want to go back to when brie cost £10 rather than £2?

Want to go back to when a holiday in Spain is out of the question?

Go on, go right ahead. Secede from Europe.

Good luck competing with China and the USA.

PrOtocOl Is On

Geddit? By Joseph Nechvatal at Galerie Richard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Whitney on the Plane

Miljohn Ruperto gave me some pictures from his show at the Whitney for which I'd written an essay. I can't believe he did that, actually. Now the pilot on this plane back to Houston is looking after them specially. The thought of having them overhead and crumpling with every bank and pitch fills me with horror.

Got Petroleum?

Petroleum Manga that is, by the unstoppably good Marina Zurkow and Valerie Vogrin. Warning: Product may contain traces of Lucy Corin and Tim Morton. Who used to work next door to one another.

50 Books to Read before You Die?

Wow. Okay! I totally understand why Christian's book is in there by the way. I think we have influenced one another over the years.

Wellek No More

Well. Without doubt that was the nicest, and the most inspiring thing I think I've ever done in my career so far. What an amazing format. You give three lectures over three days. So you can get to the point on day three of starting with “Hello, my shivering mates. And now, the real me!” and stuff like that.

I called my third one “Return to the Planet of the Apes” a lot of the magnificently humanities-centric middle of the Irvine campus was the SET OF A PLANET OF THE APES MOVIE. How much more amazing could it get? Well actually, quite a lot more, because it was beautifully designed and put together in the 60s. The center of campus is the humanities, and they have an arboretum that's also somehow smack in the middle. And sculptures of Lao Tzu.

The people and their questions, wow. These guys came all the way from Cal State Long Beach. Some people drove down specially, not scholars or students. I think there were probably about 200 people in the room at any one time.

So inspiring was it that I did five hours of office hours for whoever (faculty,  students) today. I basically did two two-hour seminars on either side of lunch, before my talk at 4pm. I took so many notes.

And my talks were okay, I think--I'm so touched they invited me and I'm so glad they liked them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wellek Office

Humanities Gateway 1012

Wellek Lectures Office Hours This Week

If you're at Irvine, I'll be on campus on Friday morning if you wish to meet. In particular, I'd love to see anyone who has been attending the lectures. Pass it on! I'll let you know the room as soon as I can.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Petroleum Manga

Part of Marina Zurkow's Necrocracy project. I wrote a short piece for it on plexiglass chairs.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wellek Lectures on Visual

The ecological era we find ourselves in—whether we like it or not, and whether we recognize it or not—makes necessary a searching revaluation of philosophy, politics and art. Timothy Morton

In Bern

It's very very nice here. It's not difficult not to like doing a seminar in a Swiss Schloss. Thomas Claviez has assembled a wonderful crowd of excellent types. I'm getting that feeling I've had before in this country where I want to hide in a barrel and grandfather myself in to being a citizen.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Climate Change You Can Believe In

Nice one mate.

Symbiosis as a Site of Aesthetic (Causal) Transition

Excellent, Graham!

Science Isn't Fact

Sorry to break it to the scientistic types--but science is about not having to believe everything you think. Because it's about interpretations of data. A very small number of current physicists now believe in physics at all. Let's not take it from them though--just listen to this older chap.

Wellek Lectures 21 to 23 May

Just another announcement about these lectures in case you need it. Do come--they are open to the public.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Never Use Student Evaluations

My friend the chair of Stats at UCD told me she never used them for promotion cases or merit raises.

Why? It's perfectly obvious: they are statistically meaningless.

I've heard the argument that “Well, but that's the way we've always done it.” The argument from precedent is never logical. Imagine the CIA defending waterboarding this way.

A poor teacher in the Houston Independent School District is undergoing this right now. So if anyone's reading, let it be known that it's become quite clear here at Rice that they are statistically very dubious. We're switching to what should have been done in the first place. Sure the students can evaluate, as if they were customers responding to a survey. But what needs to happen is for another teacher to go in that classroom and see the teaching.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Graham and I have written things for this:

thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art 2014
Opening: June 10 2014
On View: June 11 - July 7 2014
Galleries: 3, 5, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21
Address: National Art Museum of China  (NAMOC)
No. 1 Wusi Street Dongcheng District
Beijing 100010 P. R. China

“thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art 2014” is the third edition following the internationally acclaimed Olympic Cultural Project “Synthetic Times: Media Art China 2008” and “transLife: International Triennial of New Media Art” which was officially instituted as a triennial of new media art at the National Art Museum of China in 2011. The previous exhibitions have received extensive media attention and publicity with coverage from major news outlets such as China Central Television (CCTV), China Daily, Radio China, People’s Daily, Wenhuibao, Guangming Daily, China News Agency, Beijing Daily, Southern Daily, China Youth Daily, Vision, Esquire, Domus, Vogue, New Weekly, The Art Newspaper, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Art Asia Pacific, Artforum, and Skymedia.
These triennials have investigated the most current intellectual trends in the discourse of media art and culture, providing a prominent platform for a global presentation and theorization of cutting edge media artwork. The 2014 edition will present 58 works by 65 artists and artistic collectives from 22 countries. Most of the works in the exhibition will be shown in China for the first time.
From metal balls ascending in an uncanny anti-gravitational movement to a Victorian sofa standing precariously à l’attitude; from miniature instruments which require a magnifying glass to peek at their elegance to monumental inflatables that entwine and elongate to permeate 5,000 square feet of gallery space; from murmuring tweets from the virtual void to billions of algorithmically generated configurations of a mere 24 cards depicting an 18th century genre painting; from the umwelt of artifacts shuffling through a galaxy to a new ecosystem that emerges from the chemical sludges and trash vortex of the Pacific Ocean, the exhibition unfolds its three themes: Monologue: Ding An Sich; Dialogue: Ding to Thing; and Ensemble: Parliament of Things in a reciprocal interrelation. By aligning Physical Being, Technical Being and Psychic Being (to borrow a concept of being from Gilbert Simondon) as the new vista of equality, Technology (as the reciprocal transduction of humanity and technicity) with its initiating motility may be the surprise candidate to turn anthropocentrism on its head: physical beings via technical beings achieve their own vivid presences, their own agency and autopoiesis, their own generativity, thereby evoking a conative penetration for the human being. They act and interact, dialogue and monologue, or chorus in the assemblage of the thingworld. In celebration of thingworld, there emerges an opportunity to reinvigorate the impasse of cultural production that is contingent solely on the premise of a human subject through a much-expanded field of operation; there will be a newfound world of discussions, concerns giving rise to new forms of artistic experimentation and new vocabularies of aesthetic manifestation that resonate with a vision of equity molded by a renewed political ecology, that is the “Equality of All Things.”
The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is co-published by The National Art Museum of China and The Liverpool University Press. Essay contributors include Graham Harman, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Mark B.N. Hanson, Sean Cubitt, Timothy Morton, WANG Hui and ZHANG Ga.

Participating Artists
Aaajiao | CN, Keith Armstrong | AU, & Lawrence English | AU, Cécile Babiole | FR, Ralf Baecker | DE, Christopher Baker | US, Rosa Barba | DE, Catherine Béchard | CA, Julius von Bismarck | DE & Benjamin Maus | DE, Rejane Cantoni & Leonardo Crescenti | BR, Chen Shaoxiong | CN, U-Ram Choe | KR, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen | UK, Jessica Deboer | NL, Noa Dolberg | IL, Zoro Feigl | NL, Ken Feingold | US, Benjamin Gaulon | FR, & Tom Verbruggen | NL, & Gijs Gieskes | NL, Jean-Pierre Gauthier | CA, Petra Gemeinboeck | AT/AU, & Rob Saunders | UK/AU, Michael Joaquin Grey | US, Gustav Hellberg | SE, Hu Jieming | CN, Sabin Hudon | CA, Yunchul Kim | KR, Pe Lang | CH, Margareta Lekic | HR, Marcos Lutyens | UK/US, Chico MacMurtrie | US, Lawrence Malstaf | NO/BE, Wade Marynowsky | AU, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy | US, Ronald van der Meijs | NL, Martin Messier | CA, Erwin Redl | AT/US, Carl-Johan Rosén | SE, Adriana Salazar | CO, Björn Schülke | DE, Karolina Sobecka | US/PL, Saša Spacal | SL, & Mirjan Švagelj | SL & Anil Podgornik | SL, Wolfgang Staehle | DE/US & Jan Gerber | DE, Thomson & Craighead | UK, Jacob Tonski | US, Jonathan Villeneuve | CA, Silvio Vujicic | HR, Wang Chung-Kun | CN/TW, Wang Yuyang | CN, Gail Wight | US, Wu Juehui | CN, Yang Jian  | CN, Yang Zhenzhong | CN, Pina Yoldas | TR/DE, Zhang Peili | CN, Zimoun | CH

Visual identity and catalogue design:
Pentagram: Natasha Jen, Pei Y Ni


The National Art Museum of China


FAN Di’An  (Director, NAMOC)
Artistic Director / Curator


Advisory Board

Alex Adriaansens, (Director, V2)
Carolyn Christov - Bakargiev (Artistic Director, Documenta 13)

Bjorn Norberg (Bonniers Konsthall)

Andree Duchaine (Director, Groupe Molior)
Kristoffer Gansing (Director, Transmediale)

Graham Harman (Professor, American University in Cairo)

LU Xiaobo (Dean, Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University)
Kim Machan (Director, MAAP)

Olga Majcen (Director, Kontenjner)
Joel Slayton (Director, ZERO1)
Mike Stubbs (Director, FACT)

WANG Hui  (Professor, Tsinghua University)

Peter Weibel (President, ZKM)
With special thanks to
Peter Anders, Monica Bello, Sabine Himmerlsbach, Caroline A. Jones, and Benjamin Weil

Le Groupe Molior (CA)

MAAP, Media Art Asia Pacific (AU)

V2_Institute for the Unstable Media (NL)

Kontejner  (HR)
ZERO1, The Art and Technology Network (US)

Goethe Institut (China) (CN)

Transmediale (DE)
Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University (CN)

TASML | Tsinghua University Art and Science Research Center Media Lab (CN)

FACT | The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (UK)
Produced by
The National Art Museum of China
Implemented by
Exhibition Dept. NAMOC

Logistics Dept. NAMOC
Public Education

Education Dept. NAMOC
Public Relations and Promotions



Co-Published by

The National Art Museum of China and the Liverpool University Press
Edited by 
Essays By
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Graham Harman, Mark B.N. Hanson, Sean Cubitt, Timothy Morton, WANG Hui, ZHANG Ga
Design By
Pentagram: Natasha Jen , Pei Y Ni 

Melville OOO

This is an awesome quotation is it not, which I just found in an essay by my Ph.D. student Derek Woods:

“everything that is said multiplies the avenues of what remains to be said”