Friday, 24 December 2010

Seasonal Good Wishes

Adrian at Immanence got there first with the Happy Solstice greetings of a few days ago (shame on me with my blog prefix for not doing so first), so I will simply offer good wishes to everyone over the Christmas period instead. Hope everyone enjoys this festival of medium-sized object exchange (and Christian celebration and joy too). For those of you with young children, beware the "thing-power" unleashed on the day and the importance of the phrase 'batteries not included'. A good day for meditating on the differences between sensual objects and real objects. Happy translations.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Beyond Belief

Some of you may be aware of the case of the disabled man pulled from his wheelchair by police in the recent protests (here, for footage). However, here is a BBC interview with the victim, Jody MacIntyre. Steel yourselves, any respect you may have for the BBC (I still have a lot) is likely to take a severe hit. It is quite simply beyond belief. MacIntryre acquits himself very well, the BBC journalist though ... well, I leave it to you to decide.

This inspiring piece comes from the Coalition of Resistance Conference 27th November, the speaker, fifteen year old Barnaby, talking very eloquently about his experience of the first wave of protests.

Sinks and NDEs

Not sure if Graham appreciates how his near-miss with electricity and his bathroom sink could have translated him into one of those "amusing deaths of philosophers" stories. I can just imagine the headline: "Father of Object Oriented Ontology killed by Bathroom Sink". Clearly the ultimate revenge of the Latour Litany would be to meet one's end through the mediation of the kitchen sink, but the bathroom sink is nearly as funny. Be careful Graham, you have a lot of books to write and work to do.

Monday, 13 December 2010

OOO and a Month of Militancy

K-Punk has some reflections on the past month of protests in the UK, capturing well the mood of many who are resisting the capitalist realist "logic" tearing into the fabric of our lives. The following point resonates particularly well with Object Oriented Ontology:
Trying to be part of a crowd without being kettled proves all but impossible. The cops' ontology of the crowd is at least interesting: to enter the crowd is to be responsible for anything that any member of the crowd does. You wouldn't have been hurt if you weren't there. (One is struck by the way that this is the complete opposite of the "corporate irresponsibility" that applies to the cops themselves.)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Student Protests

Just thought I'd draw attention to Bath Spa University students protesting in the BBC news, they were applying pressure to the local MP today, prior to the vote in the House of Commons on Thursday for massively increased tuition fees. A group of students have also occupied our Sion Hill Campus, they can be followed on Twitter.

Firehoses, Colanders and Lava Lamps

I have very much appreciated the coverage of the UCLA and Claremont OOO Conference events, so particular thanks are due Tim Morton (for organising the streaming and recordings of the former) and Graham Harman (for his live blogging of the latter); plus obviously thanks to the speakers and organisers for the quality of what they delivered. What were the highlights? Apart from the general creativity and rigour of the papers overall, as with a number of other people's comments on these events, I particularly enjoyed Ian Bogost's elaboration of the idea of "firehose materialism".

Why? Personally, it made me remember a quote that I had been very proud of locating and utilising in my PhD thesis. It was part of Christine Battersby's account of how one could derive form and identity from the flow of becoming. I repeat it here, drawn from her The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity, p. 101.
Patterns of fluidity can have their own forms and stabilities. Becoming does not always have to be the underside of being. Thus, to give an example ... if the speed is great enough, water through a colander in the sink can remain a stable 'form' - as long as the speed of flow into the vessel exceeds the flow of water out of the vessel. Flow, flux , becoming, do not always have to be envisaged in terms of a movement that is alien to persisting identity or to metaphysics itself.
What can I say, in 1998 we had colander materialism. I will also take a cheap and easy shot about the gendered nature of metaphysics, or preferred metaphysical metaphors and models at least: Ian reaching for the firehose, Christine for the colander. One may of course read the lava lamp as one wishes, a gloriously and knowingly kitsch image from Tim.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Neo-Pagan Witches and Speculative Realism

Just glanced at Harman's blog summaries of the talk by Isabelle Stengers and response from Donna Haraway at the Whitehead conference in Claremont. Given my research and teaching interests, I was literally blown away by these two comments:
7:34. Isabelle Stengers has learned a great deal form the abstractions of the neo-pagan witches.
8:01. Stengers. Neo-pagan witches are important, and she discusses them with her philosophy students.
Bizarre, surprising and exciting, all at the same time; perhaps the time of the speculative realist pentad is approaching.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

UCLA Comments

Just a quick note that I've very much appreciated the OOO event at UCLA being livestreamed and the talks made available. They can be found here. Many thanks to Tim Morton for organising and extending, in the McLuhan sense, this gathering so that so many of us could engage with it. I haven't been able to watch all of it yet, but it was an odd experience sitting at home, with my sleeping and rather ill one year old son, at 7pm GMT, watching Graham Harman speaking.

The only points I will make at the moment, not having taken in the whole event yet, relate to Graham's blog comments about Tim Morton here.
Morton’s also a fellow old-timer to join me on the porch in a rocking chair, born in ’68 just like me. The youngsters Ian and Levi provide the energy and exuberance, while Tim and I impart the stern, grey-haired lessons of time.
Certainly makes me feel an old under-acheiver as a child of '66 - though I was something of a late-entry to Higher Education, at the stately age of twenty six, so I'm hopeful of a late burst of productivity.

Also spotted a reference again to the possibility/challenge of a theology of OOO early in one of the Q&A sesssions, something that I am at least thinking about at the moment.