Sunday, 29 September 2013


The recent NewMat2 conversation threw up a number of new sources for contemplation and further discussion. It was really useful to have a general direction for the group in place and the engagement with the Enucleo exhibition, at Sawtooth ARI all September, and the wider consideration of materialising spaces (particularly galleries or exhibition sites) brought up some interesting observations on object-architectures, large and small.

Word of the day was 'entanglent': no, we didn't plan this, but it happened anyway. Ideas of webs, relationals, rhizomes all got a nod in their immediate application to material/non-material - yes - entanglements, in fact the idea of materialising practical action. But then someone had to mention hermeneutics. This was an act of innocence but - for those who were not convinced of the possibility of hermeneutics inherent fluidity - the source documents are:

Hans-Georg Gadamer, 1981, 'Hermeneutics as practical philosophy', Reason in the age of science, The MIT Press, Cambridge MA
Although Gadamer's hermeneutics was considered a 'domesticated' version of what could be perceived as the less fluid version set out by Heidegger, it is worth reading, particularly to get a bit of a screen grab against which to set the following:
Alexander R Galloway, 2012,  'What is a hermeneutic light?' in  Leper creativity: Cyclonopedia symposium, eds E Keller, N Masciandaro & E Thacker, Punctum Books, Brooklyn NY

More directly related to the spatial practices under discussion was:
Elizabeth Grosz 2005, 'The thing', Travels: feminism, nature, power, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
For those with UTAS accounts, this book is downloadable/readable as an e-book through the library. The print allowance probably just covers printing
the chapter and the notes (pp. 232-34 are the relevant ones)
One that did not come up in discussion but which comes highly recommended is:
Bernhard Siegert, 2012, 'Doors: on the materiality of the symbolic', Grey Room 47, Spring, 6-23
Again, anyone with access to e-journals through UTAS or similar institution can download a copy.
The Siegert paper brought to mind Bruno Latour's terrific consideration of the 'door-closer' which occasionally turned up on reading lists prepared by the Thinker when she was in charge of clutches of undergrads:
Bruno Latour (Jim Johnson) 1988, 'Mixing humans with non-humans: the sociology of a door-closer', Social problems 35:3, 298-310
This is available for free download at:
Recent re-reading of this Latour-de-force (sorry ... a pun waiting to happen) has confirmed it is just right for the NM investigation of the dynamics of space.

Not totally unrelated to the Bruno Latour piece (and you will need to read Latour's footnote 1 to start to get the gist of this relationship) is a TED lecture by JJ Abrams, 'The mystery box'. This may be viewed at:
Any similarities to the dynamics of  jars on hills in Tennessee are intentional.

Finally, it seems that imagining is starting to push forward as an important aspect of NM thinking, particularly if is to be a 'practical philosophy'. My initial source for thinking what imagining might be was:
Edward S Casey, 1976 Imagining: a phenomenological study, Indiana University Press, Bloomington
Written when Casey seems to have been even-more-than-usually morose, it's a bit of a slog (although worth it, providing you place the whole thing prior to the technological revolution of the 1980s and beyond).
For a little more clarity and easily searchable, have a look at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry:
As usual SEP has a good list of entries pertaining to the topic - but best to look at Tamar Gendler's long entry on 'Imagination' then digress to other entries looking at Kant, Hume and various inter-cultural aspects of the topic.

It is envisaged by the Thinker that aspects of Abrams' lecture, in tandem with the Siegert/Latour papers, will provide plenty of fodder for the NewMat group's next outing - particularly if loaded with a certain amount of imagining.

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