There’s a little universe inside of everything, Ian Bogost tells us in Alien Phenomenology, tiny ontologies that are fundamentally inaccessible to any other object. If that supposition holds, tasting the experience of another, be it a person, radish or nickle-plated battery, is accomplished through metaphorical projection — imagining the alien world of another.
Bruno Latour suggests tracing as a methodology, and if I rub such tracing practices up against Bogost’s ontologies, well, who knows what could happen. As for me, I’ll be looking for the impact of materials, echoing the kind of reflection Ann Wysocki has meditated on in “Awaywithwords: On the Possibilities in Unavailable Designs.”
More to the point, I’m interested in the materials of composition. As I compose this post, the list begins on black plastic keys with white, sans-serif markings. It moves into headphones, white backgrounds, soft dining chairs, boiler systems, leaves, linoleum, plastic cords, clicks, plastic, metal, and glass. The list could, of course, go on and on, or I could focus my tracings of little universes on a grammar handbook, say, or a works cited page, or the concept of organization, or rhetorical situations. And in each effort I will surely discover, as I list, expansive universes of connections I might trace.
Damn. “I can’t think of anything to write about.” Guess that’s not going to work so well for me anymore.
I will be presenting at WIDE EMU with Jana Rosinski. Here is her blog post.