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December 5, 2013
Tacos, Enchiladas, Burritos, Chiles, &c.
A Mexican Food Index to Alien Phenomenology
Here's a complete list of all mentions of Mexican food in my book Alien Phenomenology, or What it's Like To Be A Thing: They cover plates of enchiladas as shrubs cover the hundreds of square miles of their high desert home. (3) Tumbling in vented steel cylinders, chiles crackle over ...
October 15, 2013
What Is 'Evil' to Google?
Speculations on the company's contribution to moral philosophy
July 28, 2013
Rowling and Galbraith, Strangers
The meaning of JK Rowling's attempt at pseudonymous authorship.
I did a Twitter-series on this topic this morning, and here's the Storified version of it for posterity. [View the story "Rowling and Galbraith, Strangers" on Storify] ...
June 15, 2013
One Thing Materialism Hasn't Ever Celebrated
Bruno Latour on the missing materials in materialism
Steven Shaviro pulled a delightful quote from Bruno Latour's recent book Enquête sur les modes d'existence. Une anthropologie des Modernes, which will be published in English next month as An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. I haven't yet read the book in either language, but ...
June 8, 2013
Announcing Object Lessons
An essay and book series on the hidden lives of things
Earlier this week we launched Object Lessons, an essay and book series on the hidden lives of ordinary objects, published by The Atlantic and Bloomsbury and edited by me and Chris Schaberg. We've been working on getting this going for months, and I'm excited to finally be able to ...
June 3, 2013
Exploded Ontography
The photography of Todd McLellan
In Alien Phenomenology, I discuss exploded views as one example of ontography, the cataloguing of being. Most exploded views are technical diagrams rather than, but some are aesthetic compositions that can be quite striking. Now there's a whole book full of the latter kind. The Canadian photographer Todd McLellan dismantles ...
May 26, 2013
Fortunate People Say No
The circular logic of creative success
Creative People Say No is an article has been making the rounds this week, about how creativity demands focus and time and suffers when it's interrupted by extraneous jobs and tasks requested by others. The overall message works as a pique to get you to realize that you don't have ...
May 13, 2013
Seeing Ultraviolet
Man sees beyond the normal human visual spectrum after cataract surgery
Alek Komar had cataract surgery and now he can see the ultraviolet spectrum. Read about it here. One of the more interesting aspects of the article to me details why this ability might offer an alien phenomenology of certain animals: Komar's case is interesting for multiple reasons. It's a demonstration ...
April 14, 2013
Well, what's your solution then?
David Graeber on thinking about ideas
Lately, it's common to see critique—even smart, detailed critique—answered with a crass dismissal: "Well, what's your solution then?" As if the very idea of raising a concern is invalid on its own. Among boosters, no critique is deemed valid without a complete alternative program. This David Graeber article is about ...
April 1, 2013
Two Reviews of Alien Phenomenology
By Sandy Alexandre and Cameron Kunzelman
For those of you interested in such things, here are two interesting and (to me) very gratifying reviews of Alien Phenomenology. First, a review in Invisible Culture by Sandy Alexandre, which considers (among other things), how literary practice relates to carpentry. I'll let you read to her conclusion on that ...
March 19, 2013
Carpentry vs. Art: What's the Difference?
A preview of an answer that might be forthcoming
Shortly after Alien Phenomenology was publsihed, Darius Kazemi asked: what's the difference between carpentry and art? Carpentry, for the record, is my name for the philosophical practice of making things, of which articles and books are but one example. I borrowed and expanded the term from the ordinary sense of ...
December 10, 2012
On Human Dangers
Prosperity and austerity in contemporary philosophy
I've had the pleasure of visiting with a number of classes recently after they've read Alien Phenomenology. Very different groups as well, from freshmen to graduate students. A common question that arose in many of these conversations relates to the consequences of object-oriented ontology. This question usually takes a form ...
November 10, 2012
Digging for Gold in a Turd
My "Fuck this Jam" Keynote
Rami Ismail and Fernando Ramallo have organized a game jam called Fuck This Jam, in which participants are invited to build a game in a genre they hate. Given our experience making games in genres we hate, Rami and Fernando invited me (Cow Clicker) and Zach Gage (Spelltower) to deliver ...
September 16, 2012
I Know! Let's Talk about Politics and Ontology Again!
Some responses to some responses to some responses
All right, this one of those posts that responds to conversations taking place on multiple blogs and on Facebook, so it's going to be confusing if you haven't read everything. Let me try to give you the backstory: First, Levi wrote On Ontology, another account of the difference between ontology ...
September 12, 2012
Ritual and Fashion
Žižek on "radical" academics
This excerpt from a 2008 article by Slavoj Žižek has been sitting in my notebook for a while, and I thought I'd post it. My personal experience is that practically all of the "radical" academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with the secure tenured ...
August 21, 2012
Images of Things
A quick image litanizer
You may be familiar with my Latour Litanizer, a simple example of what I call "carpentry" in Alien Phenomenology. It uses Wikipedia's API to assemble randomized lists of objects of the sort I refer to as "Latour Litanies." If you've read Alien Phenomenology, you may also remember a related example, ...
August 19, 2012
Get Well, Galen
A lesson in fiction and reality
My kids just delivered some hand-made get-well cards. I was instructed to deliver them to Galen, the main character in the Wizard 3000 videogame series, a series of my kids' invention which is not only fictional but fictionally fictional. Pop culture being what it is, Hollywood has started to make ...
July 16, 2012
The Great Pretender
Turing as a Philosopher of Imitation
July 6, 2012
Why Time is on the Inside of Objects
More on Harman on Time
I recently described time as a phenomenon "on the inside of objects." Peter Gratton objects that time is "at the surface level of objects" for Harman, because the latter describes it as the tension between sensual objects and sensual qualities. Gratton argues, "if time is at the surface of where ...
July 4, 2012
Time, Relation, Ethics, Experience
Some responses to the Alien Phenomenology reading group
Following the discussion of chapter 1, Darius Kazemi has posted discussion notes for chapters 2 and 3 of Alien Phenomenology—Ontography and Metaphorism, respectively. I thought I'd make a few comments on the topics discussed there. Time Time is discussed as a particularly mind-bending topic in OOO. AP doesn't offer a ...