72478670_10218175252205458_4671185712207364096_nSome people have expressed interest in my keynote address for the Rethinking Agency conference in Poznan, Poland. Here it is:  bryantpolandpdfwildthings.  It hasn’t been edited and doesn’t include references, so be gentle!  The talk was well received and generated a lot of discussion.  The conference as a whole was amazing.  Perhaps I’ll write about it in days to come as my thoughts crystalize more.  The great Bjørnar Olsen criticized the talk on the ground that my rhetoric suggests a normative language in which wild things are the good and positive and domestic objects are bad and negative.  This was certainly not my intention as I hope the examples I chose– cracking home foundations, roots destroying plumbing systems, etc., attest.  Nonetheless, I think he’s right that I need to tone down the rhetoric.  I think this problem can be solved by conceiving things as dipolar entities that have two dimensions:  one tending towards the domestic and the other the wild.  This would be somewhat like my distinction between local manifestations and virtual proper being in The Democracy of Objects and Onto-Cartography.  Stein Farstadvoll’s questions and remarks helped me to think of this as well (and he gave a truly amazing talk at the conference).  He asked whether or not there are nonhuman processes of domestication.  I think the answer is an emphatic yes!  I immediately thought of ant and termite nests and how they build their own environments, as well as the way in which trees change the chemistry of their soil in forests to create favorable growing conditions.  I would also like to come up with inorganic and mineral examples of these processes of domestication, such as, perhaps, the way in which wind carves stone creating their own weather conditions.  Stein, I think, did a far better job exploring the wildness of things with his archaeological investigations of birds, aluminum, and certain insects.