Ontology is not a selective model, the work shows fidelity to the speculation whatever. Much more interesting and productive in this instance is the move to consider not how art might illustrate an ontological proposition, but how the practices within the residency might tell us something about objects. Thus the necessity of looking at the work before thinking through the theory. This seems to be ostensibly the right way around.

An interesting proposition of Harman’s object-oriented philosophy is the concept of allure: the fusion of a real object and sensual qualities. One sees, hears, intuits whichever way; the real object withdraws, as always, but something of this fusional moment remains. Allusive remnant, art work in whatever form. A kind of vacuous testimony, but the vacuum is interesting precisely through its assenting nod to withdrawal. Harman’s ‘bland puree’ opens into something more fascinating than the lumpen world of just stuff.

A concomitant problem of moving from ontology to the work is to confuse two distinct bodies of practice as a coherent and illustrative whole. The problem posed is that there would be, in essence, a common outlook because of the possible articulation of a common philosophical problem. Two things then: object-oriented philosophy is not singular; here philosophy doesn’t come first. The moulding process of philosophical coherency is not the same as the speculative process of making something.

Joseph Fletcher
Working the right way around