Every Thing Matters

Living and Non-living, a Sliding Matter: Every Thing Matters (2016)

This course is an practical inquiry into the ontology and materiality of [living and] nonliving beings. During the course, we attempt to explore and experience the world from a nonhuman and posthuman perspective, both in theory and in practice.

The main body of the course is dedicated to practical experiments and exercises, which allow us to become aware of the ways in which we live and interact with objects and things, to deconstruct these patterns, and to find and develop new forms of co-existence. The exercises are based on various forms of observation, sensing and bodily interaction.

What exactly is a thing? How can we practice unknowing what we know about things, and to encounter them anew? Can we bridge the subject-object divide, or even render it obsolete? What happens to things, or to us, if we do? Can we access the experiential world of objects, and if so, how? What kind of aesthetics, ethics and politics do things suggest to us?

During the intensive, we familiarize ourselves with theoretical discourses and critical perspectives concerning new materialism, speculative realism and object-oriented ontology by reading and discussing a selection of relevant texts. These include book chapters and articles by contemporary philosophers and writers, such as Jane Bennett, Ian Bogost, Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour and Timothy Morton.

Context: Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art