[-empyre-] the real and reality in speculative realism and OOO/P

Zach Blas zachblas at gmail.com
Thu Jun 14 06:35:43 EST 2012

hi all--

thanks to jacob, jack, homay, and micha for these last few posts.
unfortunately, michael o’rourke seems to me MIA, which is too bad
because i’d love to hear his thoughts on the real and queerness in
relation to his work on speculative realism and object-oriented

do any other empyre subscribers have any thoughts they’d like to share
on the real and what’s at stake in the real in speculative realism and
how that might relate (or not) to queerness?

michael has a really interesting essay on speculative realism and
queer theory: http://independentcolleges.academia.edu/MichaelORourke/Papers/469661/Girls_Welcome_Speculative_Realism_Object_Oriented_Ontology_and_Queer_Theory_
i can’t really speak on michael’s behalf but i can say that it’s clear
he finds something productively compatible (or incompatible) with
queerness and speculative realism that he is trying to work through.
for example, in meillassoux’s “after finitude,” meillassoux introduces
the necessity of contingency, that the only necessity of the world is
contingency. this certainly (conceptually) destabilizes any
normalization or stabilization of the real or a real real. and i know
i’ve read somewhere that michael finds this bit useful for queerness.

however, alex galloway has recently written a strong critique of the
apolitical nature in speculative realism, specifically with
object-oriented ontology and graham harman:
galloway basically claims that their ontology perfectly aligns with
capitalism today. we can take from this that most (probably not all)
of the writers that fall underneath OOO/P are not concerned with this
“correlation,” (they’re concerned with another correlation).

i think this brings up issues of not only politics but also desire. it
is a question and position about the reality/realities we desire and
our political commitments to thinking and enacting them.

this seems to be a big trap with the theoretical work on the nonhuman
today. it easily falls into apolitical territory.

so, now that we have speculative realism, OOO, glitches, animation,
cliches, transitional objects, and the queerreal & transreal on the
table, i wonder if we can think more about how we politically figure
the nonhuman in our work (such as technical / new media objects and
systems) and how that bears on conceptions and ontologies of reality
or the real.

and please, we’d love for all you empyre subscribers to jump in and
share your thoughts with us!


zach blas
artist & phd candidate
literature, information science + information studies, visual studies
duke university

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