Tag Archive: Shaviro

Shaviro interview

A few cousin blogs have already mentioned Figure/Ground’s interview with Steven Shaviro, which I recommend for those interested in Whitehead, speculative realism, media theory, and other themes explored on this blog.

Shaviro has insightful things to say about Isabelle Stengers’ role in reviving an interest in Whitehead, Gilbert Simondon and his (and Whitehead’s) relevance for ecological thinking, and Francis Fukuyama’s neo-conservative critique of the academic tenure system.

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I took a break from live-blogging [added later: I had originally written "love-bloggin" LOL. I won't correct other typos, but there're probably many of them here] during the break-out sessions, taking advantage of the time to work a bit more on my own paper, to be given this afternoon. I’m picking things up now with Steven Shaviro’s plenary. Since Steven regularly blogs his work (at The Pinocchio Theory), and since I’m getting a little worn out keeping up with our great speakers, this may be a little less detailed. 

Steven Shaviro, “Consequences of Panpsychism”

Opening caveats: We should resist conflating Speculative Realism with OOO; it’s like conflating animals with cats. Also, use of “human” better as an adjective than as a noun.

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Shaviro responds

Steven Shaviro has posted his response to my and three other “curators’ notes” on his Post-Cinematic Affect.

The twists and turns of the discussions that have followed each of the daily commentaries have been fascinating. Somehow we’ve gone from a discussion of recent cinema to theorizing about affect and the limitations of recent affect theory (under the sign of Spinoza, Deleuze, and Silvan Tomkins), metabolism and panpsychism, magic (homeopathic and other kinds), fashion, “cinesensuality” and allure, Lady Gaga, YouTube and its “free labor,” and back again to capital and the possibilities for resistance, liberation, and alternative logics.

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Next week, the Media Commons project In Media Res will be hosting a theme week on Steven Shaviro’s Post-Cinematic Affect (which I wrote about here).

I’ll be guest curating the discussion on Wednesday, and Steven will be responding on Friday.

Here’s the full line up:

  • Monday August 29: Elena Del Rio (University of Alberta, Canada)
  • Tuesday August 30: Paul Bowman (Cardiff University, UK)
  • Wednesday August 31: Adrian Ivakhiv (University of Vermont, USA)
  • Thursday September 1: Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin University, UK)
  • Friday September 2: Steven Shaviro (Wayne State University, USA)

To participate you will need to take a moment to register here.

It’s probably inappropriate to review a book about four films when one has only seen one, and by far the shortest (it’s a music video), of the four. So this isn’t a review so much as an appreciation of Steven Shaviro’s Post-Cinematic Affect, along with some half-digested notes I made while reading it, but which I haven’t been able to synthesize into what would constitute a proper review. Due to time constraints (which will continue for a while), I’ll share them as is. (I would also recommend Chris Vitale’s response to the book.)

I’ve been a fan of Shaviro’s work since a web search for “Dhalgren” led me directly to Shaviro, who it turned out was a fan of the book by Samuel Delany that was formative in my early intellectual development. I was 13 at the time I read Dhalgren, and I hadn’t read anything quite like it until then (or much like it since). I had come across Shaviro’s writings earlier, but I’ve followed them more diligently — and been inspired by his writing on science fiction, films, music, politics and culture over the years (his Stranded in the Jungle provides a great snapshot of how widely his tastes range) — since chancing onto his site. His turn to Alfred North Whitehead in the book Without Criteria accompanied a move in my own thinking toward Whitehead’s process-relational understanding of the universe. Since then, Shaviro and I have found ourselves on the same side of the process-objects debates that have been staged here and on other blogs.

Post-Cinematic Affect is a short work. Much of it appeared as an extra-length article in Film-Philosophy, and most of the rest is readable here and there online, but I would urge you to buy the book to support Zero Books’ laudable effort to make philosophy affordable. Its shortness, however, and the small sampling of films it discusses, belies a depth of argumentation that generates rich insights on media, capitalism, affect, allure, celebrity culture, and much more. View full article »


(findings, briefings, reports, call them what you will… I’m in an Agnes Varda mood, which is helping me deal with the loss of several weeks of gleanings in the hard drive crash that will define my life as “before 11/20/10″ and “after” it)

Scientists found that Asian and American brains respond completely differently when faced with images of dominance and submission, and when evaluating character traits of themselves as opposed to other people. Asians and Americans gathered with other world leaders to fiddle at a Mexican resort while buildings burned. (Some Americans stayed away. Activists grew distressed.) Hermetic libraries began giving off their own whiff of smoke amidst the dust. Google added trees and climate prognoses to the digital Earth. James Cameron tried to add a whole forest. U.S. corporations, meanwhile, gave thanks for their record profits.

Irish humanities academics called upon Irish humanities academics to help save the country’s sinking economic ship. Worldchangers sadly jumped their own ship, with barely a whimper. Anthropologists convening in the shipwrecked city of New Orleans slugged it out over whether or not they were scientists. Graham Harman and Steven Shaviro got ready to slug it out in the middleweight neo-realist philosopher category of the international thought-wrestling society. (The heavyweights are mostly dead, though their thoughts persist, and a few of them linger on.) A heavyweight of another kind, Chalmers Johnson swam away from it all quietly.

(More on the Harman-Shaviro showdown, as well as other object-relational matters, soon. And of course I’m being facetious with my terms here. Both are great intellectual role models, among the best and most public and genuine of the new breed of philosopher-metaphysicians, and I eagerly await the results of their deliberations. You all know which of them I agree with more, but the debate has been truly invigorating, and has been the main cause of my own interloper’s slide into philosophy sui generis – or so I hope that it’s generis. Wish I could be there at the Whitehead conference.)

relations vs. objects, part x

I’m glad to see that Steven Shaviro and Levi Bryant have stepped into the fray of the debate over the relative virtues of object-centered versus relation-centered ontologies. (Among others, e.g. kvond, Peter Gratton, Graham Harman of course, and see the commenters to Levi’s posts on Harman and Whitehead). With some of the best blogging philosophers going at it, I’m content to sit on the sidelines and watch things unfold. To be fair, Shaviro and Harman, as well as Bryant, have been going at this kind of thing for a while now, but it’s nice to think that my review of Harman’s book helped to catalyze a little bit of the current flare-up. It’s fine to wait around for the print publication of Shaviro’s and Harman’s critiques of and responses to each other, but blogs are so much quicker at quenching one’s philosophic thirst. (And it’s nice to see Whitehead taking a more central place in this discussion.)