Jesse Benjamin 3/30/2016
Private. Collaborators only.
Selection made on Version 19
Ontology is the philosophical study of existence. Object-oriented ontology (“OOO” for short) puts things at the center of this study. Its proponents contend that nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally—plumbers, DVD players, cotton, bonobos, sandstone, and Harry Potter, for example. In particular, OOO rejects the claims that human experience rests at the center of philosophy, and that things can be understood by how they appear to us. In place of science alone, OOO uses speculation to characterize how objects exist and interact.
OOO uses speculation to characterize how objects exist and interact
Great article Kevin, with some incredibly important points to be taken up in practice as well as theory. However, I’m not convinced OOO can be neatly folded into a design-practice built on participation, emancipation, and reconfiguring the commonspace of human experience. Just because ‘things’—computational, technological, cultural, biological—are so predominant in our thinking in critical, cultural and design theory, it is exactly that—our thinking. Human discourse and interaction alone make ‘things’ into events, speculation into propositions. Carl DiSalvo has outlined a very specific design agenda that can be seen as a similar approach without losing focus on the very real ethical issues of design practice; which he calls ‘reconfiguring the remainder’—what is being left out of and, how you rightly state, obfuscated so casually in designed commonspaces when design functions in a complex world where nearly every action (at least in computational processes) occurs on an environmental scale—that is key. Because there we find the potential for new shared complexities and ideas.