O-Zone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies

Issue 1: Object/Ecology



Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in ecology in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, with exciting new conceptual innovations and critically reflective returns to the work of earlier ecological studies. If ecological thought, in its most broad definition, investigates the interrelations and interactions of entities with one another, then the concept and domain of ecology can be expanded significantly, referring not simply to the natural world apart from social structures and configurations, but rather to relations between entities of any kind, regardless of whether they are natural, technological, social, or discursive. In short, culture and society are no longer thought of as something distinct from nature, but as one formation of nature among others. Increasingly, a sensibility has emerged that views as impossible the treatment of society and nature as distinct and separate domains, and instead sees the two as deeply enmeshed with one another. Similarly, ecological and posthumanist developments have increasingly come to intersect with one another, jointly conceptualizing humans not as sovereign makers of all other tools, beings and meanings, but as beings (or objects) among other beings (and objects)—animate and inanimate, human and nonhuman—entwined together in a variety of complex contingencies.

The inaugural issue of O-Zone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies seeks to expand current ecological dialogues and open new trajectories for ecological engagement vis-à-vis the world of objects, or even world(s)-as-object(s). Authors were invited to contribute SHORT meditations, thought experiments, riffs, ruminations, rants, broadsides, etc. — of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 words — on any object-oriented ecological turn or (re)turn percolating through their current work, OR, on any aspect of the relationship (or non- or frictional relationship) between the two terms. Artworks were also encouraged. The following questions served as initial prompts:

  • How do the post-correlationist, post-Kantian, realist, and materialist turns transform our understanding of the systems, operations, objects, and/or ontology of ecology?
  • What is an ecological politics, and what might certain political considerations bring to object-oriented and new materialist trends of ecological thinking? Conversely, how might an intensive focus on the singularity and autonomy of objects revise our conceptions of political domains?
  • Object-oriented theorists have proposed a number of new critical modes to expand ecological inquiry, like dark and black ecology. In what ways do these new approaches challenge the traditionally “green” orientations of ecological investigation? Further, what other new modes of ecological thought might we propose now, beyond green?
  • Ecology has traditionally been defined as the study of systems of inter-dependent relations, often with respect to natural environments. How might certain strains of object-oriented thought that take as a given the withdrawn nature and independent reality of objects give rise to new ecological thinking? Further, what would it mean to think the non- or para-“natural world” ecologically, such as new media, machinic and other technologies, artificial life, bioinformatics, cloning, and the like?
  • What is the relationship between posthumanism and ecology? Can there be a post-ecology, and how might that relate to the “life” of objects?
  • What might be some of the productive tensions, inter-relations, attractions, oppositions, alliances, dialectics, etc. between the two terms, “object” and “ecology”?
  • What would it mean to retrieve earlier ecological and materialist voices, especially from feminist, gender, and queer studies, and what might these voices contribute to object-oriented and new materialist modes of thought?

These questions were only suggestions for possible meditations. Authors + Artists were also invited to develop their own topics.


Short Essays on Object/Ecology: Mahlin Ah-King + Eva Hayward, Stacy Alaimo, Fabiane Borges + Hilan Bensusan, Jim Brown + Nathaniel Rivers, Anthony Camara, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, William Connelly, Steven Connor, Drew Daniel, Freek DeHaan, Rick Dolphijn, Lowell Duckert, João Florêncio, Nathan Gale, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Gaelan Gilbert + Megan Gilbert, Niels Gommesen, Aetzel Griffioen, Ursula Heise, Myra J. Hird + Nigel Clark, Tim Ingold, Ed Keller, Katie King, Quinn Lester, Erin Manning, Freya Matthews, Dan Mellamphy, Steve Mentz, Sam Mickey, Gregory Minnesale, Johan Normark, Serpil Oppermann, Jussi Parikka, Jordan Peacock, Marina Peterson, Dominic Pettman, Thanasis Priftis, Kate Rigby, Zach Rivers, Adam Robbert, Catriona Sandilands, Christopher Schaberg, Christian Sorhaug, Florian Sprenger, Susan Squier, Karl Steel, Lisa Summers, Brad Tabas, Lindsay Thomas, Jeremy Trombley, Yoni Van Den Eede, Gillian Whiteley, and Joanna Zylinska.

Full-Length Articles: Martin Goffeney, Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Patrick O’Connor, and David Roden.

Roundtable: Speculative Realism, Object Oriented Philosophy, and the Criticality of Critical Thought: A transcript of a roundtable discussion that formed part of the London Conference in Critical Thought 2012, between Joseph Noonan-Ganley (Goldsmiths, Univ. of London), Stanimir Panayotov (Euro-Balkan Institute), and Chris Wong. The session was chaired by Matt Mahon (School of Advanced Study, Univ. of London), coordinators of a stream within the conference titled "The Object between Time and Temporality."

Art/works (essays on art + contributions from artists): Jamie Skye Bianco, Redmond Bridgeman + Jo Law, Sophia Gold, Robert Jackson + Florian Slotawa, Jared Nielsen, Isabel Nolan + Willie Doherty, Michael O’Rourke + Christina McPhee, Aaron Pedinotti + Ajay Kurian, Andy Weir, and Margaret Inga Wiatrowski.

Interviews: Andy Clark, Henk Osterling, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Cary Wolfe.

Reviews: Will Johncock (Karen Barad’s Quantum Anthropology), Steven Shaviro (Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum’s Getting Causes from Powers), and Jason La Riviere (Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, William Connelly’s A World of Becoming, and Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, eds., The New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics).

Cover Image: Margaret Inga Wiatrowski, Negativland 43 (2012)