Object-Oriented Ontology – OOO

Object-Oriented Ontology was created by Graham Harman and later reinforced by Levi Bryant and questions if things, animals and other non-human entities experience being in a way that is situated outside our own understanding of consciousness.  In metaphysical terms, it’s a Heidegger influenced school of thought that rejects the notion that human existence is more important when compared to other species/objects.

This school of thought makes sense in the regard that all artists inject their practice with meaning, whether it be a painting, sculpture, installation etc. Object-Oriented Ontology is especially relevant considering the technological and scientific advances being made of recent years. We are closer to understanding of the minds of animals and creating realistic artificial intelligence.

OOO is dedicated to exploring the true reality, experiences, needs – in short the “private lives – of these non-human entities. “One of the movement’s founders, American University in Cairo philosophy professor Graham Harman, defined these objects in ArtReview as ‘unified realities—physical or otherwise—that cannot be reduced either downwards to their pieces or upwards to their effects.'”

accompanying this belief is the understanding that absolutely everything that is, is alive and conscious. In the words of professor Andrew Cole in  ARTFORUM Summer 2015 this emcompasses “aardvarks, baseball, and galaxies; or grilled cheeses, commandos, and Lake Michigan”. OOO further asserts that things do exist beyond our own human comprehension of them and that this existence will almost never be entirely accessible to our understanding.

This way of thinking goes hand in hand with “posthumanist egalitarianism, or panpsychism: none of the things you can name can be thought of as intrinsically less real, vital, or important than any other—an ecological viewpoint of existence that rejects any idea of human specialness as simple arrogance.”

OOO rejects “correlationism” and the habit we have as a species of acting and thinking in terms that are only concerned with us. This has an intrinsic link with the degradation of the world and our complete tyranny over it. “The world according to OOO is one full of beings acting on one another according to their own goals and caprices, motivations that cannot be kenned by others”.

In Relation to Our Own Work

Myself and Ellie are interested in the notion that objects possess an animistic sense of being and we hope to give these things a new life that exists outside of their abandonment. Whilst we do not fully subscribe to OOO we appreciate some of the concepts and topics that arise with it. Particularly that the world is not for the complete consumption of humanity and that we should not just exist for the sole purpose of ourselves. What I find particularly interesting is that EVERYTHING could possess sentience, yet we are never going to fully comprehend or confirm this. There is something inherently fascinating in the fact that this ambiguity can never be clarified, yet it remains a genuine possibility.


Information found: https://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/the_big_idea/a-guide-to-object-oriented-ontology-art-53690



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