Short text by Jaspar Joseph Lester

To anthropomorphize objects is perhaps the greatest abuse that we can inflict on the object world. We like to imagine objects staring back at us and even, on occasion, position objects so that they appear to be watching us (see Jaspar’s image in the Visual Interpretations section).  This delusional fantasy is perhaps best challenged through the process of putrefaction where the human body decays to the point of being indistinguishable from the earth that envelopes it.
‘That which is exteriorized or dissolved into its precursor exteriority becomes a differential interpolation of a nested series of interiorities whose limitropic convergence upon zero (i.e. reflection upon death) has a weirdly chemical – thus contingent and productive – disposition which simultaneously forecloses the idea of return to the ideal origin and differentially convolutes the path of decontraction to the originary flatline of death.’
Reza Negarestani, ‘Undercover Softness: An Introduction to eh Architecture and Politics of Decay’, COLLAPSE, Philosophical Research and Development, Vol VI.  p. 391.
Lukol 1 pc

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Object Abuse and the Proprietorial Fallacy (a short introduction), Dale Holmes

’They (the Moderns) do have a fetish, the strangest one of all: they deny to the objects they fabricate the autonomy they have given them. They pretend they are not surpassed, outstripped by events. They want to keep their mastery, and they find its source within the human subject, the origin of action’.
 (Bruno Latour, On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods)

1.     Concrete? Or Abstract?

The distinction between abstract and concrete objects remains contentious and the question of whether objects can exist at all outside of the human mind has haunted western philosophical investigation since its earliest days. Plato argued that abstract objects – objects that are non spatio-temporal and therefore causally inert – exist. Empiricisms of all stripes continues to question the existence of such objects; none more radically than the nominalists asserting as they do that only concrete objects can exist. For the philosopher Martin Heidegger humans transcend the objects they encounter so completely they are rendered invisible and only become truly visible at the moment they are useless to us – in this sense the discrepant object is the real object. In his Zeit und Zein (1927) Heidegger illustrates this through the figure of the hammer and how at the moment it breaks we no longer have any purchase upon it; it is no longer useful to the human that transcends it and the broken hammer becomes an object in-itself – autonomous and ungraspable. The privileging of the human subject in the world and the autonomy of objects …

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Paintings’ Awakening, Karen David

Tom: I’m Tom.
Jerry: I’m Jerry.
Both: (gasp) You talk!
— Tom and Jerry: The Movie

Through observing the De Lacey family, the monster has become educated and self-aware. It had also discovered a lost satchel of books and learned to read. — Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“Beep, Beep, Beep!” the microwave signalled the popcorn was ready, but Painting had already smelt the aroma as it wafted through the kitchen. Painting was rectangular in shape and lived in a constant state of flux. It was unsure of itself. While painting knew it existed, it did not know much more. Painting had no religion but it believed in belief as a tool and it was a curious soul.
Its curiosity led it down various avenues in it’s quest for enlightenment. Painting was well read in meditation, but couldn’t gain enlightenment even when facing a Rothko. It knew Caspar David Friedrich, but often felt more like the character in the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818). It had heard rumours of Hilma af Klint and her trances that possessed her to make paintings, but it felt no such alignment. Once, on a trip to London, it happened upon Osman Spare and learnt of his sigils and automatic writings and wondered what or who was the ‘automatic’ force. It had read of Transpersonal Psychology and the work of Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson and their research into the use of Psychotropic drugs to attain higher dimensions. It had also read that the use of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) could …

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Object Abuse…, Cerlin Karunaratne

I do think about objects quite a lot.
I wonder if it is ok to keep making them and I think I expect too much of them. I try not to, and allow them to be but sometimes it is hard. Sometimes as with people you are aware of what they could do but they are what they are.
Is it us abusing the object or does the object abuse us by its presence?
Do we have a right to expect objects to do work by their mere presence? Is it abusive to give an object meaning without its consent?
Things are constantly done to objects without their permission. Planned obsolescence is one such thing. Is it an abusive action to plan something’s demise in advance?
Does an objects presence cause pollution – practical, visual or ethical? -
Practical pollution- Its use value is not equivalent to its material value not in a monetary sense but an ontological sense. How do we judge that? Should we judge that?
Visual pollution – Can there be such a thing or it is just a matter of taste, style, waste?
Ethical – to have an object exist is giving a strand of human thought form – there are many outcomes for thoughts but to become objects is such a definite action. This action then has an implication. Not to judge in a moral way or in any way but going back to the fact that the form exists.
I read an interesting essay last week – Behold the Invisible by Keja Silverman. …

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Object abuse asks the question:
who or what is being abused?

Object Abuse has been set up to provide a platform for people to discuss, provoke and question the very nature and orientation of objects. The aim is to readdress the unquestioned drives of our collective pursuits, to turn the tables on the object-subject dynamic.

This investigation’s relevance is reflected in recent developments in philosophy, shifts in our socio-cultural landscape and is finding expression in the visual arts. This questioning of our human-centric perspective is reflected through current ideas found in the works of Bruno Latour, Graham Harman, Quentin Meillassoux, Anselm Franke and others.

The question: what exactly is object abuse is by no means obvious, when you think about it, who is to say the object in question is passive and not active? Also it is worth asking where does the form of abuse originate from? What qualifies abuse, is it quantifiable, can we identify subtler variations? And for that matter; what is an object, or rather can we say what is not an object…with any real certainty?

OA‘s function is to invite a multidisciplinary engagement; to be a forum, a curatorial framework and an archival space.

We welcome expressions of interest and contributions to the ongoing debate.