Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things by Graham Harman

Graham Harman demands a return to metaphysics, refuting the validity of the prevailing intellectual winds of linguistics, textuality, simulacra and other theories of human access. In his world objects exist in their own right but are endlessly withdrawn from full-blown access to other objects that they bump into, transform or perceive. Withdrawn objects are caricatured by their relations to other objects, only their sensual contours are revealed within relationships which themselves create new withdrawn objects in which their sensual elements rub up against one another. The world is an object within an object in an endless regression. Every object is split in a fourfold struggle between its essential notes and its accidental parts. Only allure can point towards the hidden depths of reality. 

This book has many beautiful insights but especially those about what Harman terms the Carnal Phenomenologists. 

Quite what this heralds for art I as yet withhold judgement. It is not simply a justification for making real objects, as opposed to ephemera as in effect, Harman suggests that objects are nothing but relations. What this theory suggests is an approach to reality which is visceral, poetic and full of mystery, employing metaphor, humour and charm as tools for delving into the depths. I like it.

Villem Flusser Toward a Philosophy of Photography

A beautifully written Heideggerian treatment of the photograph in an era of the mass commodity, where the photo is an expression of technical language and the photographer is constrained to a set of choices. The apparatus is an expression of a system which is an expression of a system removed from what might be thought of as the camera's direct and immediate access to the world. 

Tool-being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects by Graham Harman

Harman uses Heidegger's tool analysis to show that objects have a reality which forever exceeds our grasp. And not only our grasp but that of other objects as well. When two rocks crash together they only unlock certain facets of each other's reality. When fire burns cotton it is unconcerned with it's colour of softness, or it's suitability for making clothes. The full reality of things withdraws from every relation and the world of causality and perception is populated with caricatures.

Hubert Dreyfus Being in Time Lectures (2007)

Brilliant lecture series by Hubert Dreyfus which geos through Being in Time chapter by chapter. Dreyfus sees in Being in Time what he terms a 'Robust Realism' which is not incompatible with Graham Harman's Speculative Realism.

Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays by Martin Heidegger,

Technophobic commentary on how mass production turns everything into stockpiled assets waiting to be used. What is more interesting an somehow not adequately explored are the contemporary possibilities for the Greek concepts of poesis and techne.   

Peter Adamson, History of Philosophy Podcast

Ongoing series of podcasts. Clear and detailed. 

The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today by Roxana Marcoci

The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art by David Lewis-Williams

The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience by Vivian Sobchack

Merleau-Ponty and the cinema. Exploring the ways in which cinema is grasps by the viewer. IN which the cimematic image is unprecedented in its ability to see and to make seen and  is analogous to the act of perception itself as an inseparable dynamic of perception and expression. 

Action in Perception (Representation and Mind Series) by Alva Noë

Perception as an active bodily process and an agglomeration of the senses. Full of fascinating case studies. 

No comments: