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

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