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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Materialism as in materials

Jonathan Kemp came to visit Anarchai last week and discuss matter. The discussion involved processes and procedures, matter as a locus for a plural ontology, the diversity of materials and the politics of decrystallisation. Joni holds that "Procedures are ways of understanding processes. They can also create processes. They are implemented in systems whose defining ability is to execute series of changeable rules and iterations. They can be non-symbolic and intuitive, as in the case of humans and animals going to sleep at night, and they can generate novel behaviours, like dreams. Or they can stop and begin again when a new day dawns. Whatever they do, they involve some matter, some configuration of matter as apparatus that somehow delimits procedures. We can add a coda here in playing with a celebrated Graham Harman quotation on the nesting of objects within objects within objects , by saying that processes are wrapped in procedures that are wrapped in matter that are wrapped in processes and so on."

Interestingly, the discussion points at the chemistry of abstraction. Decrystallisation is a good example: how things get less solidified and acquire new solid forms. Thinking in terms of a chemistry of all - to echo Hamilton Grant´s phrase from Plato - we think of procedures in terms of processes and ultimately in terms of matter. That is, in terms of materials. When we consider the fold, for example, in its role within thinking about the constitution of the world, we are considering the properties of some materials. If the world is some sort of origami, there should be something like paper available to be folded once and again. It is about materials - and how they affect each other. A chemical ontology - or rather a chemical ontogenesis. Another case to the point is Malabou´s ontology of plastic. She wants to understand negation in terms of plasticity, abreviation in terms of folded plastic and she builds an ontology (including an ontology of thought) in terms of this material. She reasons with an eye on the capacities of plastic. Materials somehow guide the walk among possibilia.

Joni´s report on his stay in Brazil: (including the papers we gave here in Brasília):
http://crystal.xxn.org.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=brazil:projects&#thinking_matter_universidade_de_brasilia

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