Matter, Memory, and the More-than-Human

Matter, Memory, and the More-than-Human
Relational Aesthetics and Politics in the Age of the Anthropocene

Heather Davis

Freezes the processes of becoming that biological organisms need

Bernadette Vincent — plastics are supposed to be ephemeral… Bergson… they are supposed to be at rest as moments of being. The ephemeral present of plastis… is the tip of a heap of memory. Plastics really belong to Bergson’s duration… the present is conditioned by the accumulated … past… It’s waste will constitute the archives of the twentieth century and beyond.”

Slow violence – against morphogenesis – by stopping processes of becoming

The virtual — is plastic anti-virtual — in terms of potential

Bacterial lifeforms that digest plastics —

Ridvan Askin – Every Pumking in the Field… Emerson

  • Nature Always wears the colours of the spirit
  • Pumpkin and human relations are through spirit
  • Pumpkins are immersed in the entirety of pumpkin history (biology)
  • Every person in town goes through every point of human history
  • What is the shared history of pumpkinhood
    • The work of vegetable and the mineral material is not something that they are outside of, but that which they inhabit (why are humans under the impression that they are outside of this?)
    • The standing forth of pumpkins – natural archives for us, and a memory of matter for us
  • Matter, Aesthetics, Memory
  • Emerson and matter and spirit – every materialist is an idealist, but the idealist cannot be a materialist
  • For Emerson materialism is a kind of empiricism
  • There is no difference between human, stones and pumpkin – they are “better or worse reflectors” – humans are the best reflectors
  • Human thought’s self-reflexivity
  • Aethetics – ‘intuition materialised’
  • Ar is a relation of the material and the immaterial – the veritable speculative experiment in metaphysics – its methods is that of a transcendental empiricism (only true document of philosophy – Schelling)
  • The saturation of art with metaphysics
  • Art discloses the relation between the immaterial and material
  • “The earth is a museum, and the five senses a philosophical apparatus of such …” (earth and time … angel of history)
  • Emerson’s self reliance – becoming god or becoming one -
  • Self-reliance — aesthetics — memory
  • “beauty” and “virtue” — the realm of thought to the realm of action
  • Thought and action are related by means of things
  • Thought alone, being finite cannot quite render god, etc. —
  • The method of transcendental empiricism — tune oneself to the idea — speculative pragmatism
  • Onto-ethics — Spinoza’s third kind of knowledge, Deleuze’s other knowledge   

It seems like ‘relating the finite and the infinite’ is something you could claim about everything. The relation to the collective.

Emerson to James — transcendental empiricism / radical empiricism

Stamatia Portanova

The Genius and the Algorithm. Refections on the post digital Aesthetics as Capitalist Neurosis

New Aesthetics is mostly discussed in terms of

Sociotechnical-psychophysical — neurosis (Deleuze and Guattari)

Post-digital neurosis is the main aesthetic form of contemporary capitalism

The Anti Oedipus — Schizophrenia is a relational attitude, a being a capacity for relation. A horizontal attitude – being able to be multiple, to produce a life in relation in collaboration. The neurotic, someone or something that lives the rules and external logic of the society. Capitalism is a schizophrenic economic system, which also operate in a neurotic way.

The Body Without Organs is a pure fluid.

Digital images are everywhere versus us seeing images as digital.

The New Aesthetic argument: Computers have a capacity to dictate a style

Digital Algorithms in a Whiteheadian sense – as a capacity to decide efficiently – have the most type

Postdigital aeshtetics – are about abstract flows of money — industrial captalism is about the earned money and money to invest (surprlus) — now the operation of dissimilating

Post digital aesthetics give us a kind of ‘as if’ — capitalism is acting as if the material structure

Computational machines allow money to become more fluid — controlling and regulating the flows of capital in a more abstract way. This is work – “money is not free.”

Technical machines have a new role – giving capitalism a ‘new style’ (a new efficiency)

“You cannot process information without dissipating energy.” (Shaviro … reminds me of Serres and mathematics)

Algorithms become for the economists the most reliable modes of thought.

Kant as the origin of the fixation on objects + aesthetics

Joel McKim

A Philosophy of Infrastructure

Primary concerns for architecture – away from the design of signature buildings, to the organisation of energy, transportation, information, naturalism

Norman Foster — reigning architect of infrastructure

Thomas Heatherwick — garden bridge

Lateral Office — Infrastructural Opportunism (where transportation, etc., infrastructures are used for other things — e.g.: Highline?)

Herzog & de Meuron – 1111 Licoln Road

J. Henry Fair – geological manipulation

Marjetica Potrc – Hybrid House – various forms of “infrastructural coping”

Infrastructures of the past – Robert Smithton’s Floating Island that would travel around the city of Manhattan (1970 proposed, 2015 effected)

Eliason – Waterfalls in NYC – man made infrastructural nature

Disciplinarian argument: Infrastructure is about a move away from philosophical concerns — architecture’s kind of integration with deconstruction producing a kind of over-theorising of the practice — and infrastructural architects seems to move around the. This is strange as there is a move toward the infrastructural thinking in philosophy.

Jane Bennett / Graham Harman / Timothy Morton – Philosophy of infrastructures

Fresh Kills – refers to the dutch word ‘kills’ meaning stream – Fresh Stream – reopened as a site for 9/11 and of course there is still garbage flowing. (What of the psychological desire to right the site vis a vis its history)

Data Centers – largely non-visible and aestheticisces (Walmart Data Centre, Yahoo! Data Centre – chicken coop)

Jane Bennett – thing power, latour, etc. – efficacy. A complex assemblage of actants, rather than a single root, is ever responsible for something like a ‘blackout’.

“Astonishingly non-anthropocentric”

A number of the talks today focused on this shock — how pumpkins having history seems crazy, how our plastics are ‘coming back to haunt us’ and the speculative realism object (things in themselves – tool being)

Transcendental empiricism as a moral responsibility — and the proximity of practice to both the everyday lives of people (in terms of their distancing through capitalism, etc.) and to the theorist (it’s true that theories of art are created, but most are oriented toward aesthetics as a non-production of the

Christoph Jenkin — Artistic Research

Sadie Plant

Cybernetic Cultures Research Unit – Nick Land

“There is a sense of everyone trying to out radicalise one another”


What is strange about the resurgence of these ideas // apolocalyptic flavour that is

Skeptical of immanent singularity

Radical turn away from linguistics — emphasis of the world of text that we should read — emptied of all substance

Iriguray – materiality of the body, jouissance, mechanics of fluids

The new interest in the outside – the real

Women were never part of the ‘anthropogenic’ world view — they were never admitted to being ‘fully human’, and so were “denied the illusion of subjectivity” (Zero’s and One’s book by plant). Women were objects, and part of infrastructure (particularly in technology) — objectified, gaining subjectivity.

Feminism can almost be accounted for in the ways that objects become more vibrant and lively. Women were the avant grade of threse processes. Why feminism happened at a certain time and a certain moment (because of the liveliness of technoculture?). Our tools begin to have far more to say in the processes we undertake…

There simply are more things (and our access to them) and they are more lively

Mcluhan – what if humans are simply the reproductive organs of machines // rear view mirror

DeLanda – tracing the history of the planet

Finitude of the human — the fact that we can’t get outside of ourselves — in Harman is extending these things outside of the human. Everything’s relation to everything else is problematic, incomplete, etc.

The relation of Speculative Realism to objects: There isn’t much specificity attended to the actual object, and so it’s not clear that the SR crew has much to offer artists…

There is this reality that sits outside of us — Meillasoux — a becoming governed by no necessity whatsoever

events ixdm

Demo or Die! — Orit Halpern

Demo or Die!

Computer immersive environments and biopolitics 

Seek – Life in a Computerized Environment 

What does it mean to be critical?

A history of senses in relationship to cybernetics 

  • Frogs / aerial views / virtual systems / smart cities
  • Smart cities — the global business utopia — Incheon
  • Ubiquitous computing is about apocalypse 
  • How did bandwidth come to equate life itself…?
  • Performative architecture 

How as Sensing = Smartness? Smartness = Networked Stupidity? Networked Stupidity = Value

Historical Genealogy of Contemporary Responsive Environment 

  • Science of communication and control in the animal and the machine 
  • Norbert Wiener — statistical behavirou of plane bombers
  • “The Human Use of Human Beings” 
  • Cybernetics 
    • Behavioural — black box
    • Probabilistic
    • Anticipatory
    • Data Rich
  • What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain
    • sui generous – experimental esptemology
    • McCulloch – machines for making thought 
    • Beginning of computer vision
    • Informatic overload – all processing cannot occur in the brain
    • The eye speaks to the brain already highly organised
    • The eye becomes ‘autonomous ‘ in some sense – a Turing Machine 
    • Optic nerves don’t transmit data – they transmit 
    • “Information is not a measure of what you say, but what you could say” – the potentiality of the media / medium is the message
  •  The idea of vision —> sense as intellect
  • Autonomous perceptual field —> mobile observer 
  • Gyorgy Kepes (taught a course with Moholy Nagy in Chicago on camouflage) 
  • Kepes assumes scale gives us a new objectivity — sustaining the image allows us to ‘get over the eye’ — the machine has a perfect visual experience 
  • Better design is about capacity 
  • Actioncy — modelling the act of perception itself 
  • Sensing = Process = Knowledge 
  • The focus on environment 
  • Vanderbeerk Movie Drome 
  • “artist in resident of the world, but we don’t know where to apply” – Vanderbeek 
  • Architecture Machine Group 
  • Aspen Project – Naimark – “This is a way to live…” – the world as interface
  • Entebbe Mock-up 1976
  • Demo or Die — Microworlds – Testing Computing to develop responsive urban design from The Architecture Machine 1970. The demo 
    • “… said things to this machine they would probably not have said to another human, particularly a white planner or plot: to them the machine was not black, was not whte, and surely had no prejudices.”
  • Software Exhibition — Jewish Museum 
    • The Gerbils (mongolian) were 
    • The computer didn’t work / the software / fell apart
  • Negroponte — radical nihilism of the gerbils — was corrected by the “soft machine” version
  • Critical Design / Art —> opening the way to 
  • Demo or die —> doing work for companies as test subjects… 
  • Vanderbeek – “dedicate my work to the extraterrestrial whales”
  • Linking technical practices to the encountering forms of other worlds, other animals, etc. 
  • Alternate architectures for post-cybernetic worlds


  • Multimedia and multi-sensory working as an expectation – that you can translate ‘your concept’ in some way into various media
  • The question of scale – how supply chains are reflected in object design 
  • Political question – Sudong City – mobilise our nervous energy 
  • Separation between risk and uncertainty (there is an end in one case, and none in the other) … Manipulation of those kind of futures being written into all of our lives.
  • The split between the technology developers and humanities on the science side. Designers not being up on the ways that the political-sociological has been critiqued. Teaching design as constraint driven — not in terms of what we might like to do // History gives the sense of alternatives…


  • The demo or die culture // user fixing the company’s software // relational aesthetics // the positivity of the prototype // everything is a demo-prototype // life as an experiment // the inability to do anything — Link to the power that we have, as creators, to do anything (research exhibition)
    • Also a good word for this might be ‘render’ culture (that starts with a model and can always be remodelled) 

Critique of Creativity — Anke Finger

Critique of Creativity – On Imagining the Post-Human in the Digital Age

Creativity in the Western World

  • How do we become creative participants in our world?
  • Creative genius?
  • Kurt Vonnegut — “creativity running in the family” — stigma and fetish of mental illness
  • Divergent thinking … the ‘four c’s’
  • Hype of creative industries / cities
  • Creativity as a cultural value


  • A form of ‘exile’ — outside the human
  • A form of pathology?
  • If post-human is the end of exile and the end of pathology, can we be creative?
  • The marketing potential of ‘creating 10 species’ — that we exist in the post-human world as we are non-subject, ‘never fully reconstituted as subjects’

Flusser & Exile as a Position of Creativity

  • Fields of possibility that allow for creativity
  • Cruel freedom – beginning to design
  • De-sign and creativity
  • The “brain man” — design and imagination
  • Forms of disciplinarity and knowledge making — making art and science the same
  • That digitisation is a ‘end point’ —
  • Plasticity of abstract materials — homogenisation of digitisation at once proving that there are similarities between aesthetics / epistemologies / ethics are the same, but it always minimises the notion of difference — What happens when we only HAVE ONE MATERIAL (the “digital”)


  • Extremophiles — the outliers and the folding of difference
  • Aesthesis
  • The development of an ethical form of creativity — how do we insist on diversity … while taking advantage of the ‘malleability’ of abstract forms (digital). How do we understand and represence the perfidy of these forms. Flusser also gives us this: “It is a fact that functionally complex systems are a challenge to creative thought whereas functionally simple systems are stultifying, idiotic.”
  • Critique: There is no basis in idea that Flusser saw the mediation of the world as a ‘final’ stage in some kind of teleological project — i.e.: Digital is the ‘end point’ of mediation which is a kind of ‘pure thought. E.g.: “
  • “Once we have learnt to listen to electronic music, we will have learnt to grasp the beauty of pure thought. We will have learnt to grasp experientially the reality that our theoretical sciences reveal. We will have recaptured a new sense of reality, which is a new faculty, perhaps simultaneously epistemological, aesthetic and ethical.”
  • Depression / Flusser — that the work is what keeps us alive, as human
art realisations

“I have tested it”

David Samling, Copenhagen

Fragment of a box with a combination lock, cast and hammered brass, inlaid with silver and copper
Iran, Isfahan?; 597 H = 1200-1201
H: 4.4; W: 23.5; D: 18.5 cm

This combination lock is the work of the astrolabe-maker Muhammad ibn Hamid al-Asturlabi al-Isfahani in 597 H. At around the same time, the mechanical genius al-Jazari described a similar lock in his Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. The combination lock must thus be common property, a scientific invention whose origins can be traced back to the Mediterranean cultures of Antiquity.

The four double dials, each of which can be set in 16 positions, allows for 4,294,967,296 combinations. When the right combination is entered, it releases the inner metal plate, which is attached both to an external handle and to the locking mechanism itself. 

Discover Islamic Art

Al-Asṭurlâbî and as-Samaw’al on Scientific Progress

art realisations

Art against temperance

Jocelyn Robert’s “Art against temperance”, a text produced by running the “Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) manifesto through the english spellcheck of Microsoft Word. Excerpt: “Five le Quéebec limbered, five legs camaraderie priestliness poleitiques, five la revelations queebecoise, five Art against temperance.”


Nervous System — Mick Taussig (1992)

Why the Nervous System?

  • I admit to falling foul of the whirlygigging of the Nervous System, first nervous, then a system; first system, then nervous—nerve center and hierarchy of control, escalating to the topmost echelon, the very nerve-center, we might say, as high as the soul is deep, of the individual self.
  • And whenever I try to resolve this nervousness through a little ritual or a little science I realize this can make the NS even more nervous. Might not the whole point of the NS be it’s always being a jump ahead, tempting us through its very nervousness towards the tranquil pastures of its fictive harmony, the glories of its system, thereby all the more securely energizing its nervousness?
  • Objects taking on human forms. 
  • “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” Georg Lukacs
  • Of Benjamin… “The tradition of the oppressed,” he wrote at the end of the 1930s, “teaches us that the ‘state of emergency* in which we live is not the exception but the rule.”
  • It calls for an understanding of the representation as contiguous with that being represented and not as suspended above and distant from the represented— what Adorno referred to as Hegel’s programmatic idea—that knowing is giving oneself over to a phenomenon rather than thinking about it from above. And it calls for a mode of writing no less systematically nervous than the NS itself—of which, of course, it cannot but be the latest extension, the penultimate version, the one permanently before the last.
    • Similar to the Serres Keynote — Philosophy After Nature conclusion — the contiguity of the represented and the thing:  “Being able to reflect them, any object can become the subject of other objects. Verne’s cave even shows the vision of the universe has of itself… They discover the bottom of a cornucopia, rich and saturated with material and informational plenitude that, represents both the world as it is and the joyful splendor of thinking. I do not see any difference anymore between reality and representation, since the latter is part of the former.” 
    • “…like anything in the world, like everything that lives, I am a diamond, made of hard canon that is at times pure, transparent or granular, reflecting a thousand times over the thousand and one hues of the rainbow, shining out of the multiple things of the world and of the thousands of people and living things I ever met.”

Tactility and Distraction – Chapter 8

  • O

Taussig – Cabinet Magazine Interview

How much of the magic of the state is manipulation by state operators, and how much is projection from the people onto those operators and operations—a popular participation?

It’s a circle.


Ubicomp 2014

Ubicomp 2014

NASA Wearables – The Space Suit – Keynote

Group Activity Recognition using Belief Propagation for Mobile Devices
Dawud Gordon, Markus Scholz, Michael Beigl

  • “Belief Propagation”
  • Implications of GAR for QS – quantified self is too focused on
  • WoSense (Data Empowerment — Two Sense
  • Emergent Behavior 

Identity Crisis of Ubicomp? Mapping 15 Years of the Field’s Development and Paradigm Change
Yong Liu, Jorge Goncalves, Denzil Ferreira, Simo Hosio, Vassilis Kostakos

Creative Collaboration With a Social Robot
Peter H Kahn, Jr., Takayuki Kanda, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Solace Shen, Heather E Gary, Jolina H Ruckert

  • HINTS Lab
  • Interaction with Nature — ‘connects us to our souls’
  • A positive vision of technology — not more consumer goods, not things that dull our senses
  • Droodle – A bear climbing up the other side of a tree – as a creativity test for a human and a robot
  • Voice aesthetics — semantics drives it more than the ‘quality of the voice’
  • Wizard of Oz experiment — there was a person behind it — did this effect the kinds of questions that you asked? (i.e.: trying to behave like a robot) 

The Effects of Visual Displacement 
How much visual SS (Simulated Sickness) 

  • Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ)
  • Day Effect — Simulator Sickness went down after a repeated set of days 

Paper about being able to tell if someone is engaged in the world, or the virtual world (using focal distance measurement)

phd readings

Meadows – Vilém Flusser (1979)

Meadows by Vilém Flusser from Natural Mind 

An essay on nature and culture which describes how ‘culture’ relates to the agrarian, notions of ‘dominating’ the ‘field’ (comus 

  • “it is not so much about Heidegger, the glorifier of meadows, that I think of.” (such a weird line, as in writing/reading it, you can’t help but thinks of Heidegger…) 
  • Heidegger means “the cultivator of meadows in the forest” (?)

Metamorphoses – Roman poet Ovid – 8AD: “sponte sua, sine lege fidem rectumque colebat,” — “spontaneously, without law, faith and what is right were cultivated.”

  • “maybe it would be better to say that for the Romans, meadow and field were “fields of action,” that is, battle fields. Battle against which enemy? Against the field itself.”

Mistake of treating ‘early’ man as analogous to current indigenous tribes (arrow of history, etc.) 

  •  We must, therefore, imagine the dialogues around the bonfires in the recently cultivated meadows more like research and advanced reflection meetings, and less like the contemporary “potlatch” of indians in the Aleutian Islands. 

“fidem colebat” — cultivated faith

  • “the experience of the meadow… is one of the most intense experiences of nature that we can have, and to lie down on a sun-drenched meadow is to commune with nature”
  • Even though the meadow is made by man, man is at its highest communion with the natural when he’s in the meadow, because this is a true relation with nature
  • The meadow is in some sense synthetic, but it does not alienate us: “The meadow is as it should be (in fact: intensified nature) for being the articulation of fidelity to nature. As our ancestors transformed the forest into meadow, they provoked and accentuated the natural essence in it. They continued to be faithful to it.”
  • For our ancestors: 
    • “They did not feel the contradiction between culture and nature.
    • They did not “fidem rectumque colebant,” that is, 
    • they did not synthesize faith with technology, and 
      • synthesising faith with technology in our contemporary world is what produces an ‘uptight’ / ‘un-just’ relation to technologies as we both chastise ourselves for still believe in these new gods, while constantly repopulating our lives with them
    • as they produced culture, they did not reveal the essence of nature.”
    • “culture was what is natural to men, and therefore, appropriate to the whole of nature.”
  • “The meadow, as culture (and not in spite of being culture), is essentially nature, because it was produced under the criterion of “fides;” under the criterion of an integrated religiosity”


    • Technology, culture (and not in spite of being culture), is essentially nature if it could be produced under the criterion of ‘fides’, under the criterion of an integrated religiosity.


  • Somehow this description of the natural, as that which is originally not other than us, but part of a ‘fides’ or faithful relation to the world allowing for a ‘just’ or ‘right’ relation to the world — is also what has happened to us technologically… (2nd nature, etc.) 
  • Technologies have become 2nd natures, and therefore we find ourselves twice alienated — once through the cultural-natural cleaving, and again through a kind of religious-romantic ‘disappointment’ or ‘ove-expectation’ of technological 
phd readings

A Science of Signals: Einstein, Inertia and the Postal System — Jimena Canales (2011)

A Science of Signals: Einstein, Inertia and the Postal System — Jimena Canales (2011)

Account of the ‘media thinking’ of Einstein through his contextual era, and his involvement with letter-writing (his wife Mileva, his lover and cousin Elsa, his children).

At issue is whether relativity theory and communications technologies are connected as consequential or constitutive. That is, were media technics, their limitations and capacities arise as a consequence of relativity theory, OR did communications technologies in fact constitute the theory of relativity, as they gave rise, in Einstein to the limits of electromagnetic speed, etc. Eventually the links between Relativity and communications signals were effaced.

Main point of the paper: “Einstein often claimed that his theory seemed strange only because in our “everyday life” we did not experience delays in the transmission speed of light signals: “One would have noticed this [relativity theory] long ago, if, for the practical experience of everyday life light did not appear” to be infinitely fast.4 But precisely this aspect of everyday life was changing apace with the spread of new electromagnetic communication technologies, particularly after World War I. The expansion of electromagnetic communication technolo- gies and their reach into everyday life occurred in exact parallel to the expansion and success of Einstein’s theory of relativity.”

The author contrasts Einstein’s thinking to his “contemporary” Kafka, a number of times in the paper: 

  • Einstein’s position, wrote Lodge, led to an absurd result: “as if we could prolong a man’s life by evading the tidings of his death; and might be entitled to say, without absurdity, that a man who died at seventy had lived seventy-one years and a lot of miles, if we had travelled so far that a messenger took a year to reach us.” A few years earlier, in 1917, Kafka wrote the story “The Great Wall of China,” which described a similar situation. Because of the long transmission time of messages across the great nation, “in our villages, emperors long since dead are set on the throne.”
  • In Einstein’s universe the distant and the close did not match with the faraway and contiguous. Kafka, at about the same time as Einstein, described places that, although next door to each other, were far since they could never be reached by a messenger.
  • During these same years, Kafka wrote “written kisses don’t reach their destination,” revealing that he was notic- ing some of the same aspects of communication tech- nologies that Einstein was. In the face of electromagnetic alternatives, postal communication appeared much more secondary than the telegraph and telephone.


  • “Einstein often claimed that his theory seemed strange only because in our ‘everyday life’ we did not experience delays in the transmission speed of light signals: ‘One would have noticed this [relativity theory] long ago, if, for the practical experience of everyday life light did not appear’”
  • Einstein soon started defining “signaling” in physics in the way it was used by the communications industry, and distinguishing the term from previous definitions that included periodic and predetermined signals. Previously, the term “signal” was used frequently in physics to denote both a symbol and a sign, including periodic and predetermined causes, but Einstein increasingly defined it in narrower terms: as a communications signal. — p.13
  • “Einstein, by reference to signals, and their path and their reach, overhauled concepts of time and space. By reference to them, he recalculated the shape and size of the universe; understood gravitational forces; determined the relation between cause and effect; and differentiated the past from the present and future.” p. 17
events ideas

Philosophy Without Nature — 5 Sept 2014

Continental Philosophy of Science 

Thomas Kuhn – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – 1960’s 

  • Vienna circle – installation of logical positivism 
  • Asked to teach a history of physics survey course — gestalt switch: “What were ducks before the revolution are rabbits afterwards”
  • Metzger (only woman), Emile Meyerson, Analisa Meyer 
  • Fellowship for study of anti-positivism 
  • Top-down epistemology

Philosophica Oevres – Serres’ Book Series

  • Metzger – librarian – History of Science Unit
    • Chronological empiricism 
    • Vienna Circle – French historicist – 
    • “Exuberance and juvenile agression” – International Philosophy of Science Conference 
    • “Systematic ignorance of the … philosophy of science”
    • Uncle Levy
    • Primitive mentality
      • … call[ed] expansive thinking that which rushes noisily and simultaneously in all directions where it can cut a path, which will constantly and irregularly go ahead without taking a moment to contemplate with a glance the terrain covered, and without attempting to build a doctrinal monument! (Metzger, 1987[1936]: 47; original emphasis)
  • Balibar’s critical potential 
    • Positive knowledge 
    • “Neither stories of approximations – like single point of view – nor stories of anything goes but rather stories of ambiguity… neither totalizing nor relativistically historicist” 
    • Similarities between Hansen and OOO? Comment of Balibar on Hansen’s keynote
    • Thinking of a soft mild doux process
    • normative and descriptive
  • Metzer
    • (method 1) Chronological empiricism
      • Donna Haraway – ‘science implies … hostile to relativism’
      • Situated Knowledge (1988)
      • Haraway has switched language / oevre — co-respondence (When Species Meet) 
      • Um-distingheit (?)
      • Co-respondence — not the school of ‘communion’
      • Balibar — reductionist effect of correspondence (fusion communion) on co-respondence (virtual and actual in Bergson)
      • Bergson: “…a the very root of our knowledge of things”
      • Response, “grows with the capacity to respond – that is responsibility” (Haraway) 
        • Human beings are not uniquely obligated to responsibility – response-able
        • “Richer and more responsible worlding can go on”
    • (method 2) Creative a priori (the a priori of expansive thought)
      • Free association – song, two movies, and a quote
  • The requirement of the univocal — a self-understanding of science and a conception of natural law
    • Nancy Cartright — How Objects Lie 
    • Laws of Nature: What does it mean (not that nature gives laws?)
    • How did physical-thought get restricted to non-living things
      • Newton: Principles of Nature Philosophy has one mention of a living ‘person’ – a horse. The horse is walking along along a path, that needs to pull a carriage – the opposition of forces of action and reaction (Starobansky on action and reaction)
      • The horse in the middle of the explication of the natural law – what is implied there?
      • The status of animals in 17th century England
      • Why was Leibnitz — 
  • Complexity – “all my life I have tried to complicate things, which may be why Europe is in crisis”
    • American textbook on physics were always 
  • Softness entails what? 
    • Interactions are informational and soft — inferences, codes, images, copossibilities, filters
    • Matter and discourse are positioned in relation to one another — we start to think in terms of flows and energies
    • Positioning the hard sciences as only one sort of thinking
    • Doux — in french — a special meaning (La Peaux Doux, Troufault) — something smooth… its the contrary of histeria 

New Materialism — Iris van der Tuin (Chair)

Pamela Mackenzie (Concordia) — ‘The Fourth Kingdom: Ascension of the Plastisphere’

  • Plastic Bag – Ramin Bahrani — Werner Herzog
  • “I wish you had created me so that I could die”
  • Objects toward their most human aspects 
  • On plastic… 
    • Industrial revolution — creative output of our society constituted by industrial design and advertising
    • Early plastic makers were positioned as ‘early alchemists’
    • Plastic as the ‘bottom of the barrel’ or ‘the barrel’
    • Du Pont cellophane add with babies
    • Plastic is uncontroversally negative (but only for the past 30 years)
  • Portia Munson, “Garden”, 2000
  • Microorganism living on plastic — a plastosphere (adaptable ecology based on plastic)
  • Amanda Boidsist — forming a new moment of the sublime
  • Maurizo Montalti, “The Future of Plastics” — 
  • Plastic in Beehives — a deliberate integration of plastics into the ‘natural record’ 
  • Plastic bag suicide — plastic was killing people (‘guns don’t kill people, people don’t kill people’)
  • When something is dead, it can finally be used
  • Raymond Williams — ‘nature’
  • Geological entry of plastic into the record

Katharina D. Martin (Munster)— ‘The Digital Milieus and Their Material Entanglement’ -

  • Immaterial digital cloud <—> data warehouses 
  • The digital has never been immaterial (what the fuck has?) 
  • Detecting a continuum between the physical and the signals, codes
  • Milieu as a methodological construction
    • Newton – fluid / 
    • Middle / between / heart
    • Place / lieu
    • Active substance 
    • Simondon / Deleuze – technical objects – reality
  • Micropolitics of algorithms – independent interaction between computers
  • German ID photo template – the image specifications of passport photo – set by the “pan optical cell” 
  • Deleuze – panopticon – Foucault – space/time
    • “must not be understood of a dream building, it is a diagram of a mechanism of power…”
  • Verilio – the vision machine 
  • CV Dazzle / Dazzle — the mathematic undetectability of the face
  • Norman Wilkenson – stripped patterns deceive the enemy’s gaze – stripped patterns deceived computational gaze
    • Camouflage not as ‘hiding’ but reconstituting seeing, or frustrating perception (The purpose of art is to frustrate perception — Christophe Menke)
    • Camouflage as a from of ‘encryption’ in the world — 
  • Frustrating ways of seeing 
  • Kittler — the pixel is more text than image 
  • “transcoding or trasnduciton in which one milieu serves as the basis for another”
  • Tarde — oppositions and inventions — escape from micropolitics
  • The membrane between the analog and the digital is in the optical dimension
  • Algorithm as “complete”
  • The Black Cloud — science fiction novel

Paul Rekret — ‘Material Entanglements an the Question of Seperation” 

  • Post-fordist capitalism 
  • Social constructivism
  • How can a mind access something
  • The conditions and limits of knowledge — appeal to materiality and agency of materials as a political act (Jane Bennett) 
  • Serres — narcissism 
  • Strategic anthropomorphism — to feel what one cannot think — ‘web of interaction capacity’
  • The conditions of thought amount to anthropocentric narcism
  • Karen Barad — Bohr — the measurement of phenomena is an intra-action / agential-cut. Always between, never within. 
  • Epistemic limits of knowledge… Raymond Williams — Ideas of Nature 
  • Alfred Schmidt — nature rises with the rise of capitalism — medium of the wage creates nature as the object of conscious intervention
  • “Personal unity of head and hand”
  • Epistemic / Ontology is a separation that arises from the manual / mental labour division (Kantian division) 
  • Nancy Harstock — feminist problematic … reproduction as a manual-mental labour which divides epistemology/ontology — “control of the womb” (women as reproducers of the work force)
  • Federecci history of accumulation
  • Live-science industries: separation and abstraction
    • technical separation of biological processes — computer science / modelling — intervention in biological organisms as a ‘technology’
    • seperation and abstraction from sources — sustainable growth — institutional context of property rights and research (life science sector — neoliberalisation of life itself) … Moore court case – spleen cells – patented cells
  • Barad – the objectification of pregnant women – cyberfeminist (Sauerbut)
  • Expanding material agency can wind up supporting capitalism
  • Ethics committees – and ‘the bioethics’ industry
  • This is a communist position — against any system that separates ‘mental’ and ‘manual’ labour

Petra Klusmeyer (Utrecht / SAIC) — ‘Sound and Time’

  • Sound Studies in Bremen
  • Sonic Peripheries events
  • Deleuze Transcendental Materialism
  • Academy Records — Stephen Lacy
  • “Boisterous presencing”
  • Whitehead: “… we find ourselves in a buzzing world”
  • Anechoic chamber — Cage — “until I die there will be sounds… one need not fear about the future of music.” (Serres – Noise) 
  • “No one or no thing can live without noise” (Serres) 
  • Sound is neither inner nor outer 
  • In listening we enter the impinging resonance — sound enacts a periphery soundspace — middling within the event’s becoming 
  • “Always already between sound suspend in as vibrational relation effectuating”
  • Whitehead — Thus equally rocks, electrons, trees… are full of intentions (Marder, Massumi) 
  • Aesthetics — of practice… 
  • What can vibrations do?
  • Noise is always subject to the process that renders it non-existent (individuation)
The Other Side of Matter 
Felicity Colman – ‘Natural’s not in it: Materialist Informatics’
  • Serres and a philosophy of communication
  • “I call matter the aggregate of images … the evental action of one particular image – my body”
  • To perceive technically means to have established the channels of measurement first
  • To think about a measurement of change in things due to the catalysing forces of technology
  • Malabou – consciousness influx
  • Subject partakes of chemical political and instructed desires
  • Informatics — materialist account of information … 
  • Serres: “Exchange as the law of the theoretical universe, the intersection and overlapping of domains… Things in themselves are immersed… inter-information… renews theory.”  (the conference format)
  • 2nd law of thermodynamics — entropy is a physical law for a heat system
  • Biology feeds on a negentropy — inter-information (coding movements) and exchanges of information (exchange of energy) 
  • Ashley Woodward — where you have vitalist systems / biological models — material exchange 
  • Guatarri — rejecting a Lacanian structure of entropy — rhizomatic flows 
  • Materialist informatic: a limited economy of images on the effects of images on the human bodies 
  • The body as an informatics body — cognitive machines that feed us images the conscious cognate 
  • Co-constitutive nature of image communication — it’s unindividuated
  • “The technological filters that are at work…”
  • Materialisation — what is at stake? 
    • Immateriality is really about transcendent systems — historical materialist school (Barad)
Erin K. Stapleton – ‘The Activity of Dark Matter’
  • Battaile + materialism
  • Activity in and of matter — the volatility of dark matter — data + networked technologies
  • 1930’s consideration of planetary existence — astrophysical research / astronomy — The Rotation of the Earth (Arthur Edington) 
  • Swelling suns — separation of the cartesian 
  • Battaile’s materialism — resists systematisation — anti-monism 
  • Human thought, as it returns… “requires constant disruption”
  • Newtonian physics is a “deadening idealism”
  • Frost – New materialism … “are all predicated on the assumption that matter is inert stable…” 
  • The Matter Myth — popular science return of mysticism / philosophy is no longer of use because it hasn’t taken into account the activity within matter… Christian right American… 
  • Frost – energetic and dynamic theory of material itself
  • Terry Gilliam — The Zero Theorum
  • Bataille’s materialism — activity and volatility
  • Base-material — redeployed to think about dark matter and dark energy (affirming dynamic volatility)
Joanna Hodge – ‘Of the Event: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference, Historical Difference’
  • Luce Iriguay — 1984 
  • Geschlecht — Derrida
  • The past — history is rendered as a reiteration of the same — Heideggarian rubric of historicity
  • The future — 
  • The human secured by “anthropomorphism called god”
  • Ontological difference must always already be a sexual difference properly understood
  • 1983 — geschlecht — polysemic status — Derrida — reading moves to the question of the impact
  • Sexuality difference deconstructed — questioning the bipolar
  • Ontological difference 
  • History becomes modal — the dawning of the age of the anthropocene — another word for an epoch
  • Molecularised reproductive models… originary technicity — a thousand tiny little sexes
  • Nancy: “birth of presence”
  • Historical difference — a mode of orientation to thinking innovation — setting up some kind of distance from philosophy classically conceived 
  • genealogy — cartography — linking of thinkers 
    • shakespeare begat marks begat hegel 
    • genitarity
    • Rudolf Gacher — The Loss of Literature 
    • inheriting versus generating
    • Theatre of Cruelty — Artaud
    • Universality in Serres
  • The transition from Derrida to Serres shows a preoccupation about how to inherit (Derrida is inheriting differently) 
  • Why matter matters — a material discoursivity 
  • Historical difference — the end of man and the end of history / the end of the book and the beginning of a writing
    • feminist read this as the opening of subject positions to women
    • but then the subject disappeared
  • History is the term — providential, religious — never surrender the term
  • Expanding the perceptual spectrum (radiometrics — seeing astronometric radiation)
    • Is this decentering the human subject — 
  • Claire Colebrook — the endif
  • We’re always achrononistic with ourselves… 
  • Geology in Deleuze and Guittari — great imagery of geology
  • This physical materiality — the electromagnetic spectrum as a technical image — not a territory (or it shouldn’t be a territory) 
  • This is dangerous… why? Snowden as the ‘new god’
  • Material informatics — Guatarri