Sunday, August 12, 2012


by Christophe Gilbert

The true alien recedes interminably even as it surrounds us completely. It is not hidden in the darkness of the outer cosmos or in the deep-sea shelf but in plain sight, everywhere, in everything. Mountain summits and gypsum beds, chile roasters and buckshot, micro-processors and ROM chips can no more communicate with us and one another than can Rescher’s extraterrestrial. It is an instructive and humbling sign. 

Speculative realism really does require speculation: benighted meandering in an exotic world of utterly incomprehensible objects. As philosophers, our job is to amplify the black noise of objects to make the resonant frequencies of the stuffs inside them hum in credibly satisfying ways. Our job is to write the speculative fictions of their processes, of their unit operations. Our job is to get our hands dirty with grease, juice, gunpowder, and gypsum. Our job is to go where everyone has gone before, but where few have bothered to linger.

I call this practice alien phenomenology. 

Ian Bogost: Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like To Be A Thing  

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