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.