To destroy an object is to reduce that object to mere appearance. Somehow a weapon of some kind is inserted into the rift between essence and appearance and translates the object so radically that the rift collapses. The reduction of an object to its appearance (“criminal,” “scapegoat,” “cop killer”) is a reduction of an object to consistency.
Prudence Whittlesey is doing a series of paintings of philosophers and I sat for her before the show began. Her paintings of Jane Bennett and Graham Harman were incredible. She caught how Jane looks like she is on fire, and how there is vision coming out of Graham's eyes. Whittlesey is slated to do Badiou some time this week (I think).
An explosion is frightening not only because it threatens me. An explosion is frightening because it's ontologically uncanny. This uncanniness underlies the physical threat. What uncanniness? Quite simply, an object that just functions in “my world”—a plane, a skyscraper—suddenly comes to life in a very different way. My world wavers for a moment—even collapses.
The New School
September 14, 2011
Free and open to the public
We're all fairly familiar with proleptic irony: the irony of anticipation in which we know something that a character in a narrative doesn't know yet. Now meet its weird sister, born today: apoleptic irony. (Thanks office hours with a super smart undergrad!) I love it when a new term is born, this time with the help of my handy Woodhouse's English–Greek dictionary.
No, they shouldn't. At least according to Douglas Hofstadter, who holds Ph.D.s in Comp. Lit. as well as Physics and has published extensively on artificial intelligence. His reasoning? Does making swooshing sounds while holding a toy plane qualify you to be a pilot? (That's exactly how he put it to me in an impassioned message.)
Unless an elaborate Sokal hoax in reverse is being played on Research in Microbiology, a slime mold can navigate its way around a maze. And that's not all folks: bacteria send one another chemical signals, a phenomenon now called quorum sensing.
In my last post I argued that hyperobjects are nonlocal. Now I'm going to argue that they are temporally foreshortened, or to use a more vivid term, squishy.
In a previous post I argued that hyperobjects are viscous—they adhere to you no matter how hard to try to pull away, rendering ironic distance obsolete. Now I'll argue that they are also nonlocal.
Most of what passes for cool ontology these days—when people dare to do it at all—is just a form of atomism. How do I mean? An atom is something that can't be cut any further. We think of them as little shiny pingpong balls like the ones we saw in high school chemistry.