Posted by: Johan Normark | September 18, 2012

Anthropodecentric perspectives on hydrocentricity

Anthropocentrism is considered bad in Speculative Realism and Morton points out that searching for anthropocentrism still is anthropocentrism. Maybe we cannot skip anthropocentrism after all. Bogost suggests that it is only by analogy and metaphor that we can perform his alien phenomenology. We always run the risk of falling into anthropocentrism but that is the case for any object/unit. If the correlate (human) subject-object is erased we still need to fall back on some form of centricity. Water senses other objects from a hydrocentric perspective.

Given the “consensus” that archaeology and archaeologists through material remains attempts to understand past human activities, meaning, relations, etc. there is a plethora of “anthropocentric” relations that are attached to objects before any analysis even begin. The only way to reduce the dominance of a half-written anthropocentric narrative is to set the “non-human” objects in center and decentralize the human being. The problem one runs into as an archaeologist is that few other archaeologists will find that move desirable since the discipline often identifies itself as anthropology or part of historical studies. Even I have problem with a move like that since water in archaeological contexts only is of interest if it has a connection to humans and human made objects. An “anthropodecentric” perspective is what I strive for in my hydrocentric project. Of all the real objects water make its own sensual objects, it is the human and the human made objects that are of greatest interest.

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