Ooops

Based on this year´s blog statistics, a guaranteed way to drive up traffic is to either to write about Friedrich Kittler (after he is dead) or about Object Oriented Philosophy. The latter of these two, my previous posting gathered an awful lot of commentaries, including for me really useful feedback, so thanks to all for contributing. But it also reminded me that mentioning OOO/OOP is the guaranteed way to raise big emotions — reminding me why I never wanted to dip into those conversations. That does not mean that there is awful lot of good ideas there, but I just don´t want to get drawn into such heated discussions.

Here is Graham Harman´s  mention of the discussion, also calling for more “productive debate”. I was not able to leave a comment on his blog and continue that debate so wanted just to briefly flag a couple of points here.

Firstly, for me, my blog post was not meant to poke at anyone just to irritate. I was merely interested, after reading and following debates, in some of the core questions from my perspective. I did not realize they were unproductive, and feel slightly paranoid now how my texts can be suddenly turned as part of some bigger academic catfight to which I have no desire to be part of.

Secondly, I am not interested in general debates “object” vs. “process”. Neither answers what I am after, and that is to map the specificities of technical media culture. Hence, I cannot decide beforehand whether I am dealing with object, process or something else. I am too much of  a cultural historian, or a media archaeologist even, and interested in mapping/using the heterogeneous sources through which to understand technical media culture, from its technico-scientific roots to various imaginaries; political economy to political ecology; the ethico-aesthetico to aesthetico-technical. But that’s me. Others can and are (take for instance Bryant, Bogost or Paul Caplan) are doing really interesting things with OOP and media, even if I might differ on various points. I am interested in materiality, and also politics of matter(ing) – Braidotti, Grosz, Barad, Parisi, Terranova, post-fordist political theory – where questions about the real or new materialism are mobilized in so many differing, often also conflicting ways. But that’s another story.

Thirdly, in relation to Harman´s post — of course I would be saying critical things about OOP; saying critical things is just taking an interest in something. I think that is better than not saying anything critical. I have not wanted to say anything too publicly because I have felt and always added that I am not qualified to do that, and that I will leave OOP-discussions to others. So be it from now on as well, as the some of the repercussions and comments are getting too weird, already now. It’s not a very welcoming debate.

Fourthly, what I have probably said about Simondon is that he solves more problems for me than does OOP, and feels closer to the fields I am tackling with. For me, in a Kittlerian fashion, I want to articulate the double bind of philosophy and its relation to technical media — both historicized. I am a pragmatist in this way — perhaps sharing a bit of similar ground as Bogost mentioned in one of his comments to the post: interesting to see what we can do with different theories.

And btw. on top of my reading list, Bogost´s Alien Phenomenology, as soon a its out. And a couple of months after that, Braidotti´s The Posthuman. Oh the bliss of non-human world. And hats off to so many theorists of the non-human.

 

 

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  1. December 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Just a quick note here that Harman responds to this post here http://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/parikka-responds/ and offers his version. I am not sure if that is what I am saying, so people can read both posts. My use of scare quotes in “productive debate” was just meant to quote Harman’s words, not to try to be funny in any way, even if it was interpreted that way.

    My explanation above is just to illuminate where i am coming from (media theory, media history, media archaeology), which I think is only fair — I was not saying that “I don’t care about this debate anyway”. And no, I am not admitting I have not read OOO-texts. Not sure where that claim come from? I merely wrote that I cannot claim to know too much about it; I wrote that I don’t consider myself a specialist after having read some of Harman’s books, some Bryant, some Bogost, some Morton, and following for instance a bit of the debate between Shaviro and Harman. A lot of my friends know these debates better — I have not had time for a sustained engagement. I think that is only fair, to admit that and modestly say – if one is talking publicly – that one cannot be treated as an expert, but an amateur questioner. And as said so many times, I was just interested in some elaborations to my questions. What I have raised as suspicions in private conversations about OOO has had to do with some of these points; why insist on objects if it risks losing specificity — at least specificity in the way I have grown to understand it from, lets say, German media theory perspective – and also some metalevel comments about the way the field has developed, its lack of reading of materialist feminism, etc. In some other private conversations I have even defended some of OOP positions, believe it or not.

    Also, as a heads up, I don’t make any claims about OOP in my Insect Media, nor in Digital Contagions, nor in my other books — it has not been my debate. I do stuff with media related topics, that’s it – perhaps some OOP folks find some of it useful — or highly dubious. We’ve had some very nice exchanges for instance with Levi about these topics.

    With kindest regards, J

  2. Jason Hills
    December 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I applaud your questions and civility in this and the other discussion. I have been in a few of those “blogger cat fights” and likewise affirm a wish to be free of them while still trying to have a critical discussion.

    • December 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      thanks Jason – trying to keep my head cool, and not going to get provoked, despite my pseudo-italian temperament ;). Indeed, better not to carry any ID cards with you, and leave that to the police, checking and worrying about identity (papers). And in this case, rather be friends with decent folks whether they are oopsies, DGies, or whatever they choose. (Now someone is probably going to blame me from trying to lift myself above the debate!! ;)

  1. December 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm
  2. January 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

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