Grateful Undead: Timothy Morton on Object Oriented Ontology, reposted from Ecology Without Nature

We Are Only Just Getting Started

One commenter (see below) worries that because of an essay she or he read online, which said that SR/OOO is dead, we are dead. She or he asked me to respond, and I feel inspired to, so:

1. Saying something is true doesn’t make it true.

I don’t know whether the commenter is a scholar or not, but in Humanities world, as everywhere else, you can try to get what you want by turning your feeling or your order into a third person statement.

It’s tricky if your statement is too transparent, in other words if it’s not difficult to see the person having an emotion inside it.

2. The statement is more than outweighed by the welter of emails I get every day from high school students all over the shop, and artists in India, Brazil, Norway, Australia, Russia (and on and on and on) asking to clarify points relating to my school of thought, or asking for me to collaborate on something related to OOO. I’m not counting the scholars who are constantly writing with various kinds of message. “Scholars” here means undergraduates, graduates, and people with Ph.D.s (employed or not).

I’m sure this is also true for Harman and Bogost, not to mention the loads of other scholars in other SR domains.

2.a. Example: I’m opening Olafur Eliasson’s big exhibition in Stockholm in a few weeks’ time. He is very into OOO.

b. Björk. (Hello mate!)

Continue reading here.
Also see “Explaining Object Oriented Ontology to your non-OOO friends” here.

1 Comment

Filed under Objects, OOO

One response to “Grateful Undead: Timothy Morton on Object Oriented Ontology, reposted from Ecology Without Nature

  1. Nice, even encouraging. Written with space, both literally and intentionally; room to move.

    I was at Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park the other day to pick up a book recommended to me by Randy. “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” by Rob Nixon was found near Morton’s “Hyperobjects” and “The Ecological Thought”. There were 3-4 copies of each on the shelf. Out of curiosity I asked the clerk—his name was Rich—if people were buying Morton’s books “around here”, intimating folks at U of Chicago. He said he wasn’t sure, but could check easily enough by scanning the code on the books into the computer. And sure enough, each had sold a goodly amount—nothing dramatic, but enough to spark Rich’s curiosity.

    Sensing that I explained that OOO was a nascent attempt to reconnoiter and reconsider and reorient ourselves in the world. It was an idea to undo the idea of Enlightenment hierarchy, and see what we might come up with unbound from that orthodoxy. Rich said he was “always interested in critiques of the Enlightenment”, and kept Morton’s books on his desk.

    Round there—the U of Chicago—some people are interested and so perhaps they’re “just getting started”. As everyone knows U of C is home to the Chicago School of Economics—an Enlightenment based global whirlwind that has seeded much devastation. And so there is always the concern that counter movements become absorbed in the Spectacle of the reigning hegemon. We’ll see what that might look like.

    Which rounds me back to Randy’s recent essay on EC: “The Uncanny Expo Milano 2015” describes just this sort of hegemonic absorption in which new things can look different to us, but upon closer examination, they are the same. A truly interesting piece well worth reading (and then of course, there are his photographs).

    As for the book Randy recommended, I’ve only just begun, but it seems like a book Morton would appreciate, as anyone interested in looking at the world from radically different temporal, demographic and geographic perspectives. Right now I’m thinking “slow violence” is a hyperobject—another one we’ve never seen before, let alone thought about. I’m eager to read on.

    Here’s a Bjork clip I show in class: State of Emerge-n-see (Joga) (5:05)

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