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<eyebeam><blast> posthuman/object relations

So much of our thinking in visual art is dependent upon relationships
between humans and objects, or humans and images.  Part of our problem
is that we go on thinking that this human has today remained intact,
with the same visual faculties.

I have a question for Kate Hayles and for Greg Ulmer.

Kate:  In this period of the posthuman, where you figure the human as a
distributed cognitive system that includes both human and nonhuman
components, what kinds of new ‘languages’ can we posit for dealing with
our relationship to objects?  These are at the very core of our thinking
about art.  In many ways, we have run up against a wall with
linguistic-based analyses, and even much thinking about visual languages
still posits a reading by a viewing entity that is rigid, coherent,

I’m wondering if one key might be in the realm of the habitual, of
encoded/embodied routines.  You’ve talked about this before in the
context of incorporating practices.

You’ve also discussed it in terms of a shift from a dialectic of
presence/absence to one of pattern/randomness, where the operative
moment is not one of radical separation and difference, but of mutation.

Greg:  you’re working through many of these issues in the context of the
EmerAgency, positing new relationships between the human and the object
of study.  The way I see it, you look at the site of the emergency or
public disaster as an agent that produces alignments or networks, in
which the viewer is embedded.  You see the public phenomenon in terms of
the different elements it mobilizes and distributes, the capacities it
endows.  So my question is the same to you.  How is meaning generated
here in the relation between the human and the object – what ‘language’
arises, and where?  It seem it is necessary to distribute cognition, to
see out of ourselves, through objects even, and acknowledge the
heterogeneous elements that come into play in the production of
meaning.  What is the code?

I ask these questions because in art we seem to want to fit network
phenomena in situations where all the markers are in place, and the
viewing mode is the same, as much of modern art history.  Only by seeing
how the network repositions these elements can we begin to ‘see’ what is
going on.

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