Week 8 – The Post Human Metamorphis


“It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas (with) – British social anthropologist Marilyn Strathern

It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.

Gives me “speculative thinking” in spades. Isabelle Stengers insists we cannot denounce the world in the name of an ideal world.

She maintains that decisions must take place somehow in the presence of those who will bear their consequences.

In the Navajo language, string figure games are called na’atl’o’. They are one form of “continuous weaving,” practices for telling the stories of the constellations, of the emergence of the People, of the Diné. These string figures are thinking as well as making practices, pedagogical practices and cosmological performances. Some Navajo thinkers describe string figures as one kind of patterning for restoring hózhó, a term imperfectly translated into English as harmony, beauty, and right relations of the world, including right relations of humans and nonhumans. Not in the world, but of the world; that is what leads me to include Navajo string figures, na’atl’o’, in the web of SF worlding. The worlds of SF are not containers; they are patternings, risky co-makings, speculative fabulations. It matters which ideas we think other ideas with; thinking or making cat’s cradle with string figures with na’atl’o’ is not an innocent universal gesture, but a risky proposition in relentless historical relational contingency.


It was from the artists and poets that the pertinent answers came. These responses from aesthetes told a disturbing tale.

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.


The Posthuman Metamorphosis

Week 8

  • speculative thinking
  • thinking the posthuman in the anthropocene
  • the anthropocene is time of human impact on the environment
  • speculatuve thinking on the construction of stories.
  • about how creative practice thinks and responds to the anthropocene
  • IF the anthropocene is about the geological marker left by the human, what then is the human?
  • HARAWAY – “It matters what matters we use to think other matters with. It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas with” The language, the ideas, the objects we use all matter, because they help us to think where we are and what we are doing
  • What is the human? Human = Individual
    Rene Descartes – I think therefore I am – cogito ergo sum
    (Dubito ergo cogito, cogito ergo sum) -> i doubt therefore it think, i think therefore i am. 
  • his ideas where that you cannot believer everything you see or hear, but because we doubt, means that we think
  • What is the opposite of human (thinking things)?  = Technology, machine, animal, women? = work like clockwork
  • What about nature and technology? Are they opposites? Human nature and technology (haraway) are not opposites at all
  • Natural Nature – normal, the way it has always been, not touched or contaminated by humans, separate to and distinct from culture/control, free/left to its own to devices.
  • Great barrier reef – natural should we conserve it, should we let nature take (her) course? Great barrier reef is an anthropocene artefect
  • Fredwrick Edwin church The icebergs
  • Olafur eliasson ‘The weather project” 2003 – people start behaving like their directly with nature. they treated the sun like it was the sun in the gallery space, lying down and sitting and having picnics, wouldn’t usually happen. how do we work through these interactiosn?
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Why in this age of overwhelming desire and perhaps, pressure to escape the human/ the planet, do we silty ant to stay and work with the human/ planet?
    Maybe these days its not to be a thinking thing to be human but to be a caring thing, something that is in relationship with other things.
  • what are the implications of the networking of other types of bodies with our own, through technologies such as genetic engineering?
  • If the human is not a discretely confined entity, how might we articulate its relationships with other bodies and objects.
  • Post human – the boundary between the human and the non human, human and technology and human & nature.
  • Donna Hardaway – began her relationship as a primatologist

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