Hyperobjects

A recent tutorial with Michael lead to a philosophical consideration and analysis of my work. We discussed the framing and subtext of language, along with the sign and the signified dialogue. We covered the agency of action in regard to my ‘drawings’ which consist of ripples on paper; a resultant form of moisture from my plaster casts. I struggled over the fact that language can never meet object.

Michael and I noted the success of the ‘drawing’ due to it documenting a residual trace of an object (in this case an abstract art object). The ripple refuses the power of the sign, and alludes to phenomena without being a phenomenological artwork. (How do we label an artwork phenomena?).

Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects addresses the impossibility of a metalanguage; weakness from the gap between phenomenon and thing, which the hyperobject makes disturbingly visible.

Around 1900 Edmund Husserl discovered something strange about objects. No matter how many times you turned around a coin, you never saw the other side as the other side. The coin had a dark side that was seemingly irreducible. The irreducibility could easily apply to the ways in which another object, say a speck of dust, interacted with the coin. If you thought this through a little more, you saw that all objects were in some sense irreducibly withdrawn. Yet this made no sense, since we encounter them every waking moment. And this strange dark side applied equally to the “intentional objects” commonly known as thoughts, a weird confirmation of the Kantian gap between phenomenon and thing. Kant’s own example of this gap is highly appropriate for a study of hyperobjects. Consider raindrops: you can feel them on your head – but you can’t perceive the actual raindrop in itself. You only ever perceive your particular, anthropomorphic translation of the raindrops. Isn’t this similar to the rift between the weather, which I can feel falling on my head, and global climate, not the older idea of local patterns of weather, but the entire system? I can think and compute climate in this sense, but I can’t directly see or touch it. The gap between phenomenon and thing yawns open, disturbing my sense of presence and being in the world. 

Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects, p.12

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Hyperobjects, pages 74-77;

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A hyperobject passes through a thousand sieves, emerging as translated information at the other end of the mesh. Thick raindrops tell me of the coming storm which flashes lightning in an unusual way that is an index of global warming. Phasing is an Indexical sign of an object that is massively disturbed in a phase space that is higher dimensional than the equipment (our ears, the top of my head,  a weather vane) used to detect it. An index is a sign that is directly a part of what it indicates. (page 77^)

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