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Ecomedia on YouTube

Reposted from e2mc: evolving ecological media cultures:

I’ve begun a YouTube playlist entitled “Ecomedia,” where I’ll be sharing ecologically relevant PSAs, eco-art videos, and other works relevant to the broad and loose category encompassed by its title.

Access it here.

Feel free to “like” it, subscribe to it, and send suggestions to me about videos that should be added to the list.

Note that simply typing in “ecomedia” in a YouTube search won’t get you to it — it’ll take you instead to the commercial CBS Ecomedia site.

Whiteheadian films

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Readers of this blog know that my recent book presents what’s essentially a Whiteheadian (and Peircian) theory of cinema. (A theory, not the theory. And when compared to something as deeply Whiteheadian in its details as, say, Donald Sherburne’s A Whiteheadian Aesthetic, mine is, at best, “inspired by Whitehead.”)

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Happy phytomorphosis

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Plant scientists are wondering if plants really communicate with each other (and with insects and other organisms) or if they just “eavesdrop” on each other’s “soliloquies.”

At stake in the debate are the definitions of communication (e.g., is it necessarily intentional, and is intentionality necessarily conscious intentionality?) and behavior (is it something that only animals do?).

What seems certain is that plants can and sometimes do share information. This article from Quanta summarizes recent research.

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Happy solstice

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We’re almost at the halfway point of the sun’s life cycle, so let’s enjoy it while it’s here.

Happy solstice.

 

Photograph by Santha Faiia.

The groundlessness of revolution

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Every violent suppression of dissent is violence against the humanity that is being born. The world to come is at stake in these encounters.

That’s what I tweeted last night while watching what looked like the squashing of a revolution, when riot police appeared by the thousands and began moving in on the territory held by Ukrainian protesters in downtown Kyiv (Kiev, pronounced “kay-eev” in Ukrainian). Watching these events on the multiple live video feeds available to a global audience was transfixing. Together with the constant stream of commentary in social media — I followed Facebook, Twitter, and the feeds on the streaming TV sites, but there were other options available — made it seem like a genuinely global insurrectionary event.

The following are some reflections on this experience, contextualized within global geopolitics, Ukrainian politics, the ecology of media, and the recent history of analogous events elsewhere (such as those I have blogged about earlier in Iran and Egypt).

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My upcoming talk at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs comes from the East European strand of my research.

The talk will be called “Becoming Tuteishyi: Peregrinations in the Zona of Ukraine, with Walter, Gloria, Andrei, Bruno, and Other Explorers.”

The description reads as follows:

Drawing on the author’s research and travels, this talk will consider Ukraine’s ambiguous positioning within global cultural discourse by recourse to theories of borderlands (via Walter Mignolo and Gloria Anzaldua), hybridity and amodernity (via Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway), postcommunism and postcolonialism, and to images of anomalous zones and errant wanderings, with particular attention to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

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Here’s one of the participants at the AAA’s ontology panel, McGill anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, applying ontological speculation — including Peirce and biosemiotics — to animals and forests:

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For interdisciplinary scholars, it’s always a challenge to decide which conferences to attend and which to forgo. The problem is particularly acute when the conferences are held at the same time, as occurred last week with the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and American Academy of Religion (AAR).

As I’ve been attending both of them off and on for years, the decision hinged for me around the fact that I had organized the Latour session at the AAR.

Latour himself, however, would be attending the AAA. (We tried to get him to bilocate, but didn’t succeed.) And it turns out that his session, “The Ontological Turn in French Philosophical Anthropology” — featuring an all-star cast of Philippe Descola, Marshall Sahlins, Michael M. J. Fischer, Kim Fortun, and Latour — was scheduled for the very same time as our panel.

It also turns out, as Rex relates at Savage Minds, that ontology was “the big theme” at the AAA this year.

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Lava lampy Whitehead?

While I find much to admire in Tim Morton’s writings (and in him personally, as I’ve recently related), I’m sure he knows that his writing on what he calls “lava lampy materialism” leaves me unconvinced. (I’ve discussed that topic here, here, and elsewhere.)

I haven’t read his Realist Magic yet, so I can’t comment on the book’s arguments as a whole. But I’ve read some sections of it, including those which reiterate Morton’s critique of Whitehead’s “lava lampy” process philosophy. And, as before, I have trouble following these arguments. I would have eventually articulated a response to them, but Nathan Brown has spared me that trouble with his review (pdf warning) of Realist Magic in the latest Parrhesia.

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The following are my notes from “Querying Natural Religion: Immanence, Gaia, and the Parliament of Lively Things.” (Live-blogging did not work, as we didn’t have a live internet connection.) These notes are followed by a brief set of post-event summary comments.

The setting: an airplane hangar of a hall in the Baltimore Convention Center. This made the audience of some 120 seem like a puny one.

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