Thursday, June 7, 2012

Object oriented rhetoric

Continuing my recent inquiry into rhetoric, here are some excerpts on object-oriented rhetoric from around the internets:

From Bryant's 5/28/12 post on OO rhetoric:

"I’ve heard a lot of theories as to what object-oriented rhetoric (OOR) might be. One theory has it that object-oriented rhetoric is the investigation of the rhetoric of object-oriented ontology. This strikes me as a particularly stupid and uninteresting project as who cares about the rhetoric of object-oriented ontology? All this is, is an attempt to integrate the theses of OOO into a traditional correlationist framework and issues of persuasion through language. While I have no desire to dispense with the discoveries of figures like Burke and Aristotle, if OOR exists I think it’s up to something else. I don’t suggest that this post is exhaustive of what that 'something else' ought to be, but I do think that minimally if there is to be something like OOR, it will consist in breaking the bad habit of a focus on representation, persuasion, and identification, and will necessarily consist in drawing attention to the materiality of speech acts, communications, texts, and signifiers. It’s not that OOR, if it comes to exist, would give up on these things, but that it would become a little less representational, a little less 'decoding,' a little less interpretive, and far more material. It would become a little less focused on what things are about and the pathos, logos, and ethos that animates them, and a bit more focused on what texts are."

Adam drew attention to this article on OOR over at his blog:

"Is it then reasonable to consider whether such pre-symbolic expressions operated rhetorically?... This is not about imaging a rhetoric without symbolic action but rather recasting symbols as objects among other objects in a flat ontology where the rock, the word 'rock,' the sound rock, rock music, the Rock, Plymouth Rock, and the Pink Panther are all real and rhetorical, with or without us to view them symbolically. The point is to recognize that objects need not be symbolic or in relation to us in order to operate rhetorically. What is at stake here is a symbol-independent expressive force whose effects cannot be articulated wholly in terms of physics, chemistry or other related fields. Instead it is a minimal rhetorical ontological capacity that allows objects to enter into rhetorical relations and is not solely available to humans."

Balder provided this relevant excerpt from David Abrams' book Becoming Animal in this post:

“So language, from the perspective of the fully embodied human, seems as much an attribute of other animals and plants as of our own garrulous species.  Yet, as we know from many of the traditional, indigenous peoples among us, this is still too restrictive: language accrues not only to those entities deemed 'alive' by modern standards, but to all sensible phenomena.  All things have the capacity for speech -- all beings have the ability to communicate something of themselves to other beings.  Indeed, what is perception if not the experience of the gregarious, communicative power of things, wherein even ostensibly 'inert' objects radiate out of themselves, conveying their shapes, hues, and rhythms to other beings and to us, influencing and informing our breathing bodies though we stand far apart from those things?  Not just animals and plants, then, but tumbling waterfalls and dry riverbeds, gusts of wind, compost piles and cumulus clouds, freshly painted houses (as well as houses abandoned and sometimes haunted), rusting automobiles, feathers, granitic cliffs and grains of sand, tax forms, dormant volcanoes, bays and bayous made wretched by pollutants, snowdrifts, shed antlers, diamonds, and daikon radishes are all expressive, sometimes eloquent, and hence participant in the mystery of language.  Our own chatter erupts in response to the abundant articulations of the world: human speech is simply part of a much broader conversation."  

Here's more from a recent Reid blog post:

"Within Delanda's (and Deleuze's) assemblage theory is a consideration of the 'collective assemblage of enunciation,' which is an investigation of expression.... Expression is a kind of exteriority (this would be contrary to conventional notions of 'personal expression'). It is a capacity of objects in relation. It is also its own thing, an object, an expression. It is also a force and a process, but all objects are also forces and processes. Expressions have the capacity to affect the objects with which they relate. This capacity cannot be reduced to physical, electrical, chemical, and/or neurological forces. That would be undermining, to use Harman's term. Expression requires those forces (as all assemblages do) just as my body requires relations on an atomic level. When objects encounter one another as expressions (in addition to encounter one another as physical forces), they are having a rhetorical encounter (or at least that's my version)."

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