New Materialisms: reading group.  Wednesday 17th May at Banner Repeater 7-9pm.

Vibrant Matter with Indianna Farrell.

We will have read and be discussing: Jane Bennet’s ‘Vibrant Matter’ chapter 1 (sections 1-3), and a two-part story from Katrina Palmer’s novel ‘The Dark Object’ entitled ‘A Realist’s Nightmare’.


In ‘Vibrant Matter’, Bennet constructs a notion of material which she attempts to separate from ‘human social structures’. In this chapter she establishes two terms: ‘thing-power’ and the ‘out-side’.


“Thing-power gestures toward the strange ability of ordinary, man-made items to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence or aliveness, constituting the outside of our experience”


Bennet’s frequent use of the anecdotal illustrations of her theory will lead us into a discussion of how her theory applies to the strange behaviour of the objects in Palmer’s story and the role that fiction can play in the development of theory. In this story, Palmer uses the medium to playfully manipulate aspects of the Object Oriented Ontology which the text heavily relies upon, enacting a precise reversal of the theory which leaves the objects struggling to maintain their form.

download the texts here: Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennet, and The Dark Object by Katrina Palmer.

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