Vibrant Matter   2 comments

I have got a really sore throat today. So no reading out-loud for me. Instead, I’ve started reading Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things (Duke UP: Durham and London, 2010).

I found the book referenced on Timothy Morton’s blog:

http://ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com/2010/01/materialism-remixed-and-expanded.html

I think it will be valuable as I develop my own river-themed Finnegans Wake project.

Bennet pursues “a materialism in the tradition of Democritus-Epicurus-Spinoza-Diderot-Deleuze more than Hegel-Marx-Adorno” (xiii). I’m glad of the chance to better understand this genealogy. And to observe how Bennet relates such theory to the work of the Russian scientist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, “who also refused any sharp distinction between life and matter” (8).

I’m also pleased to read about the “Spinozist notion of affect, which refers broadly to the capacity of any body for activity and responsiveness” (xii). And Bennet’s “willingness to theorize events (a blackout, a meal, an imprisonment in chains, an experience of litter) as encounters between ontologically diverse actants some human, some not, though all thoroughly material” (xiii-xiv).

This is sore-throat-compatible reading.

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2 responses to “Vibrant Matter

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  1. Hey that’s great. It’s been a while since I read Finnegans Wake…if “read” is the right word..I can see how Jane’s book would work with that–though for more plurality style plenitude, you might prefer OOO (now there’s a nice Joycean acronym). I want to hear about margarine now…

  2. Thanks. I’ve been following your OOO turn on your blog. Since I’m just starting with Heidegger at present, perhaps I’ll read accompanied by Ian Bogost’s, Alien Phenomenology,

    http://www.bogost.com/blog/alien_phenomenology.shtml

    and Graham Harman’s Guerrilla Metaphysics,

    http://www.opencourtbooks.com/books_n/guerrilla_metaphysics.htm

    I like the apparent concreteness of Harman’s “the carpentry of things”, as I’m currently exhibiting a jewelry exhibition (wool crochet, silver wire, apatite gemstones, shells, seeds, pot-pourri) at:
    http://larobertsau.blog4ever.com/blog/articles-cat-104904-97309-notre_actualite_______news.html

    Actually, your “Poetics of Spice” was part of my background reading for the installation, Neck Lace: Décorer le Soi, Fétiche de Nos Jours

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