“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, November 29, 2014

That Dark Ecology Feeling

Every book has a different emotion associated with putting it together. A different phenomenology.

Dark Ecology's one was very very hard to discern, until about a week ago. It has had to do, both in content and in form and in terms of the process, with fitting together all kinds of fragments, painstaking slow, depressively. Years.

And suddenly in the last two weeks, pow. Suddenly all these fragments are a thing and you can put diamonds and cherries on it.

I've never had a book process like that.

Hyperobjects was this really congruent dance between inner and outer. Ecology without Nature was a slow burning passion. The Ecological Thought was cool and contemplative.

This was like ecological awareness. A seemingly never ending path of pain, with a huge leap of joy at the end.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Maureen McLane Gets Meshy

With a poem based on an idea of mine in The New Yorker. I only just found this!

Here is McLane talking about the concept behind it.

Thom van Dooren Is Also On This

What a great show. Thom is just excellent.

Audra Mitchell on Hyperobjects and Exinction

On Australian radio--really nice! It's a very good argument, and a very intuitive use of the concept. I think I had a conversation that went there at UC Davis in Performance Studies last year, so I'm glad it's not just me.

And there's a whole part about anthropocentrism the way I like to see it--that humans are seen as the sole Decider...just excellent.

Ontopolitics! Cary Wolfe and I are looking for things that are “After Biopolitics” right now--do you know about the Rice Seminar next year that we are running?

I hope I can be this eloquent when I'm on air.

That DIS Interview Again

Some people have told me the link wasn't working, so here it is again. I gave it one!

Why Police Officers Can Shoot You with Impunity

...well described here:

For answers, one has to look to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1989 ruled “that all claims that law enforcement officers have used excessive force -- deadly or not -- in the course of an arrest" should be "analyzed under the Fourth Amendment and its ‘objective reasonableness’ standard.” The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote, “The question is whether the officers’ actions are ‘objectively reasonable’ in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.” 
In doing so, the court rejected the prior due process standard which was understood as force that “shocks the conscience” and had allowed for consideration whether the officer “acted in ‘good faith’ or ‘maliciously and sadistically’ for the very purpose of causing harm.”
The objectively reasonable standard leads to what look like callous outcomes -- like that of Crawford -- built on “because we can” not “because we had no choice” rules of engagement.
Today, if an officer says he feared for his life when a suspect dropped his hands to his waistband, even though he was just pulling up his pants, or was holding a toy gun in a discount store, not launching a massacre with an assault rifle, the officer would be justified in shooting someone to death.   (Walter Katz, New York Times)
Chief Justice Rhenquist was very much opposed to civil rights. For instance, he voted against desegregation.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Hey sorry to those of you who wrote comments recently. I spaced them! Should be published now.

Come on Lithuania!

I know you're looking at me blog. I'll see you soon!

My talk in Kaunas is called



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Queer Green Sex Toys

I've started to write my essay for the talented Whitney Bauman, guest editor of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture.

It is called “Queer Green Sex Toys” and I promise you that every term in that suggestive phrase has a very precise and profound meaning that will be fully explicated. : )

Friday, November 21, 2014


You hear the catastrophe coming. From that moment on imprinted directly on the trait, come from the heart, the mortal's desire awakens in you the movement ... to guard from oblivion this thing which in the same stroke exposes itself to death and protects itself—in a word, the address, the retreat of the hérisson, like an animal on the autoroute rolled up in a ball. One would like to take it in one's hands, undertake to learn it and understand it, to keep it for oneself, near oneself.


You will call a poem from now on a certain passion of the singular mark ... a converted animal, rolled up in a ball, turned toward the other and toward itself, in sum, a thing—modest, discreet, close to the earth, the humility that you surname ... its arrows held at the ready, when this ageless blind thing hears but does not see death coming.

The poem can roll itself up in a ball, but it is still in order to turn its pointed signs toward the outside. To be sure, it can reflect language or speak poetry, but it never relates back to itself, it never moves by itself like those machines, bringers of death. Its event always interrupts or derails absolute knowledge, autotelic being in proximity to itself. This “demon of the heart” never gathers itself together, rather it loses itself and gets off the track (delirium or mania), it exposes itself to chance, it would rather let itself be torn to pieces by what bears down on it.
--Jacques Derrida

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Slightly Less Violent

Mark Bittman with news of a good idea. Plant a bit of non-instrumental lifeforms in 10% of agrilogistical space.

Hyperobjects at Transmediale

About nine minutes in there is such a nice evocation of them.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's the Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities! (PDF)

And it's completely real. And it's being handed out in FL schools because of a law that allows religious groups (guess they were only thinking of Christianity) to hand things out at public schools.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Arca: Trauma

Absolutely brilliant, no?

From an OOO point of view, everything is stunted, wounded, broken.

Roadside Kestrel

My mate Cary Wolfe doing this today.

Wisdom of Love

Matthew Cusimano has a very good comment below:

Sometimes I think it was put backward, it's not the love of wisdom, it's the wisdom of love, the difference being that there's no wisdom as such to be loved, but just what people say in love. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Erotics of Objects

...and that's why the objects are interesting. If you're into the object-orientation, it means you know things can't be totally and utterly exhausted and accessed. You know that knowing is an erotics, not full possession.


That really is a very very good idea for a title Olafur.

A really good idea.

I'm gonna do it!

If Philo-sophia Were Just Sophia

...we'd be so sunk!

We'd be screwed, actually.

There would be no movement. No shimmering. No physicality.

There is an irreducible erotic component in philosophy. I understand Oddný Eir is working on this like her late mentor Derrida (read the translation! hello Oddný!). Behold.

Without it there would be no possibility of being wrong. Which as Graham Harman just pointed out, via his comment on ignorance and confusion as the ground of wisdom, is part of the possibility of being “right.”

Of course, loads of philosophers and scientistic-ists act as if there were no philo-...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Confusion Is the Dawn of Wisdom

“The Greek word philosophia, which means love of wisdom rather than wisdom itself, incorporates a basic ignorance into its etymology.”
Right on Graham!
One is always in the truth. Just various kinds of fuzzy. 
Thank goodness it's philo-sophia.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Spider is black
Sky is blue
How tantalizing this world

Cathy's hair is black
Her complexion is white
Her attention is like a bowstring


Is this unbelievably good? Why yes. I had the very great pleasure of meeting this chap recently.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

There Is No Away

The nature/culture distinction collapses, once again...look at this chap, he's liberating bags and wrappers like insects. Yet they can't go “away.”

Liberation (2min excerpt) from David O'Brien on Vimeo.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Biophilia Live Review

...by the chaps at the BFI. Well, a chap I guess. The movie arrives in Houston this coming Saturday.

Here is a good paragraph, which is just one excellent reason to see it, well maybe a few reasons. Can I qualify my sentences a bit more? Well, I ...

“There’s no didactic environmentalism – no burning oil platforms or seagulls marinated in Brent crude. It relies instead on convincing the audience of the preciousness of what it depicts. It also avoids crude oppositions of nature and humanity. For Björk, technophilia is clearly a kind of subset within her own personal biophilia. This is audible at the level of the instrumentation, with its buzz-saw synths, pendulums, Tesla coils and invented instruments, but also visible in the ingenious flow of animations and overlays. To adapt a very old quotation, Biophilia Live asserts that nothing human is foreign to nature.”   (my emphasis)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Global Warming Art

It's hard to imagine how the extended discussion of the dialogue at Northwestern, the day after the papers, could have gone much better! The room was absolutely packed, as the previous one had been. There was good food. And loads of questions.

One of them was about global warming art. I semi brushed it off at first as I'm very reluctant to dictate what sorts of art there should be. And I'm pretty frustrated with how art can be boxed as pr for scientism.

It was pointed out quite accurately I think that Sierra Club-style arresting imagery doesn't quite work, if "work" here only means having a galvanizing impact on a viewer. Or that we could imagine more than that. Since you can't directly point to global warming it can't quite fall into categories such as beauty or disgust or the sublime, even, all that easily.

Its symptoms can. The iceberg on the cover of Hyperobjects is a brilliant example. That's also an image of how the vertiginous rush of human reason can be confronted with its horrific double, the climate it created...

I suggested music, because it's a more drawn out temporal medium, and can talk about processes and fluids and temporality in a very intuitive way. Björk's Biophilia would be a very very powerful example.

I thought of another good answer that wasn't negative, right after the seminar finished. Isn't it always the way?

Weirdness, uncanniness, creepiness. That's the kind of register I'd like to see more of when it comes to global warming. Less 350s on beaches. Less aggression. Gothic mode. I think very few ecological artists in the past exploited this mode, for various reasons to do with the valences of the gothic. That's a shame, because it's perfect, as I've argued over and over again. Happily there's a growing number of them.

Two Scandinavian artists did this video based on dark ecology--I'll find it and try to link to it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Humanities in an Age of Ecological Catastrophe (MP3)

The seminar yesterday at Northwestern was attended by something between 150 and 200 people. They just kept on pouring in! And the conversation continues today. My talk was called “Hypocrites.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

João Florêncio

I'm in a Portuguese sort of a mood and I started noticing that my awesome Ph.D. in performance friend João has a lot of things online. Like this one. It's good isn't it? Or this. Or his O-Zone essay.

Slightly Desynchronized

Olafur Eliasson just sent me an image from this very suggestive work A Slightly Desynchronised But Otherwise Perfect Pair.

A fraction mirror is splitting a spotlight into complementary colors so you're seeing one object...


He said it reminded him of this thing I wrote:

Objects are always a little bit out of phase with themselves and with one another. . . they are 'internally' out of phase with themselves, and this is what produces time and the possibility that they can interact. 

Olafur Eliasson, A slightly desynchronised but otherwise perfect couple, 2014 from Studio Olafur Eliasson on Vimeo.

Monday, November 3, 2014


I'm here in Evanston and I think the dialogue thing that I'm part of will be at Guild Lounge in Scott Hall, 601 University Place. Tomorrow (Tuesday November 4 at 4:30pm. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Oh I'm very very happy with this thing I just figured out for the new collection by Jeffrey Cohen and Lowell Duckert. They have a habit of bringing out the best in me. The three things I've done for them have been so so very pleasant and inspiring to write.

So they're doing this thing called Veer Ecology, veer being a term that Nicholas Royle noticed was common to words like environment and perversion. Nice one! I use this concept a lot now.

So check it out. I haven't written it yet. But you can guess what it's going to say!

Timothy Morton

Since a thing can't be known directly or totally, one can only attune to it, with greater or lesser degrees of intimacy. Nor is this attunement a “merely” aesthetic approach to a basically blank extensional substance. Since appearance can't be peeled decisively from the reality of a thing, attunement is a living, dynamic relation with another being.

Furthermore, and for the same reason, attunement is the place where causality happens. Consider what happens when an opera singer's voice attunes to a wine glass. If done with the greatest accuracy, the wine glass explodes. The realm of attunement is thus like the mesmeric realm of “animal magnetism.” It is a force simultaneously discovered and repressed at the inception of modernity.

While modernity allowed agricultural logistics to destroy Earth even more successfully than before, it also unleashed, ironically and unwittingly, the non-agricultural (“Paleolithic”) idea of an interconnective, causal–perceptual aesthetic force.

The Owl of Minerva didn't just fly at dusk. She flew straight out of a dream into the dreams of sleepers convinced they had woken up from every last trace of the so-called primitive. When we study attunement, we study something that has always been there: ecological intimacy, which is to say, intimacy between humans and nonhumans, violently repressed with violent results.

OOO and Atheism

You know, in an OOO reality, even if there is a God, she can't be omniscient. So her existence doesn't matter very much.

Better than needing her not to exist at all? At least in terms of “It's not what you think, it's how you think that matters.”

Saturday, November 1, 2014