OOOIII was a fantastic success yesterday. It was terrific to see lots of old friends and meet new people. The event had, all around, a nice vibe to it with lots of great discussion. I especially enjoyed meeting Jane Bennett and Eileen Joy and I immediately felt as if I’d known Joy for years. Both are amazing people and thinkers. I think Bennett might be my long lost twin sister. This has been the first conference I’ve ever attended where each paper was excellent. McKenzie Wark did a great job organizing the event and was an excellent host.
One of the things I find interesting is that people have not yet seemed to notice just how bizarre the OOO ontology is. The thesis that objects exist, has, for whatever reason, been quite controversial among high humanities types (though this has seemed natural and obvious to media studies folks and artists). However, I think the truly bizarre and disturbing thesis has yet to register. Within the framework of my onticology, armies, cities, nations, activist groups, corporations, institutions, etc, are independent, autonomous, autopoietic objects that are independent of humans, have their own aims, are conscious, and are rational animals. These days we spend a lot of time asking whether artificial life on par with humans will arise out of our new technologies. My thesis is that non-human intelligences on par with human intelligences have existed for centuries. Just as it would be unlikely that we could communicate with an alien intelligence on par with our own intelligence due to differences in our being, these “aliens” have been amongst us for centuries, using us in the way cells use protiens to construct themselves, without us being able to communicate with them. Kafka was right when he described the Castle as being an intelligence in its own right. Like Joseph K. we can be entangled in the Castle, perpetually striving to communicate with it, without ever quite being able to make contact. I find this idea terrifying.