Posted by: Johan Normark | January 25, 2010

Three upcoming Posthumanocentric articles

It is that wonderful and relaxing time of the year when I have to apply for funds for future projects. This means that it is time to update the CV as well and add the most recent publications that are either in print, in press or accepted for publication. This also gives me reason to update the list of publications on the blog. Here are three new articles on Posthumanocentric archaeology that just have not made it into the press yet:

2009b Maya chaosmos: 2600 years on the cave’s path. Acta Americana 17(2): ??-??

This article is basically an overview of my current project. It was originally presented at a conference on Amerindian cosmologies in Copenhagen in 2008. It should be published in mid February. The title of the article is of course related to Freidel and others classic book from 1993 (Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman’s Path). Here I launch the concept of chaosmos. Chaosmos is neither chaos (primordial disorder) nor cosmos (order imposed on primordial chaos from an outside/transcendent source) (Deleuze and Guattari 1987). Chaosmos is an immanent process where order emerges from self-organization and disorder is the breakup of structure. A chaosmological perspective differs from a cosmological in the sense that the latter focus on predefined and formed cosmograms and the former emphasizes the connections between properties that create an emergent form. I focus one of those features often discussed in Maya cosmology: the cave.

2010a Involutions of materiality: Operationalizing a neo-materialist perspective through the causeways of Ichmul and Yo’okop, Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 17(3):??-??

This peer-reviewed article is my most important article so far and will hopefully be published in issue # 3 this year. It primarily discusses Deleuze’s and DeLanda’s attempts to replace the Aristotelian idea of the general and the specific with universal singularities and individual singularities (haecceities). The causeways at Ichmul and Yo’okop are used in order to show how we can move from a typological and geometrical view of causeways and other materialities to a populationist and topological view.

2010b   Face/Off: A neomaterialist study of the Face. The Archaeology of Senses. F. Fahlander and A. Kjellström, eds.??-??. Stockholm: Stockholm University.

This anthology does not have a proper name yet but it will be published in the fall. It is the result of the workshop held at Stockholm University last year. My contribution will discuss Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of the Face, regime of signs and the war machine in relation to the defacement of royal faces in monumental art. The title is inspired by the 1997 movie featuring Travolta and Cage.

Face/off (not the movie though)

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Responses

  1. That is a great picture.

  2. Enemy Mine! My absolute favorite sci fi, though District 9 comes close.

    Seriously though this is a topic I could lose myself in. I’m not an expert, but I am a bit of a chaos and feedback loops hobbyist. Started out in fractals and cellular automata and ended up at watching societies gleefully jumping off cliffs in search of El Dorado.

    I think I’ll be looking forward to these articles.

    I just hope posthumanocentric isn’t a euphemism for neogeocentric naturalism. I thought we’d left that faux religion behind with Galileo and Copernicus and friends.

  3. I have by now dropped the name “posthumanocentric” archaeology in favour of “neomaterialistic” archaeology. The content is the same and it strives away from both social constructionism and naive realism.

    The article “Involutions of materiality” is published, “Face/Off” will be published in the fall but what is going on with “Maya chaosmos” is beyond my control. It should have been published by now…

  4. Got a link or quick description of neomaterialism, social constructionism, and naive realism?

    I’m curious about neomaterialism. I also have a pretty good idea what you’re getting at with the other two.

    Social constructionism seems to suffer a tendency toward a lot of subtle top-down anthropomorphism of all things archeology. As if everything is part of some grand social progression. Definitely should be dropped. History repeats, but only with our help or lack of interest. It’s not an independent pattern.

    Naive realism, ouch. I’m kind of partial to it only because there is potential to fix the mistakes of relativism, but probably should remain in the realm of theoretical personal psychology. It’s probably a little too squishy for archeology.

    I’d love to see the articles, published or not. The position you’re taking, from my experience with the dark corners of politics, is as dangerous as the printing press to the established narrative.

    Chaosmos which is such a sweet metaphor is deadly to the top-down extremes. Don’t expect much progress on it. I’d even say you might need to sneak it into your work.

    Absolutely excited about your work. It’s something I’m scraping at with my attempts to start an amateur RENAISSANCE.

    There’s a push to crash the US before it finds its conscience and cojones and fights back by INNOVATING. This is a tactic used around the world. Ordo ab chao. Bastards. It’s not order after chaos. It’s life within chaos+order.

    So you can appreciate why I love the chaosmos concept. It’s one of the few life affirming Malthusian debunking points of view out there.

    Keep at it. There are people very much threatened by what you’re suggesting.

  5. One of the philosophers who have coined the “neomaterialist movement” is Manuel DeLanda, a “Deleuzian” philosopher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_de_Landa). He has several Youtube clips where he explains Gilles Deleuze’s (1925-1995) philosophy:

    Check out his website:
    http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/delanda/

    I have also written about his and Deleuze’s ideas: just click the tags DeLanda and Deleuze.

    Deleuze has reached a prominent position among contemporary philosophers. Not everyone likes it since Deleuze has become a person who some believe never was wrong. Check out Harman’s recent blog post: http://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-quick-response-to-bell/

  6. Ok. Wow. Them guns is loaded.

    I’m gonna have to flesh out my livejournal blog which I use entirely for notes and concepts. Been a bit negligent.

    My current understanding amounts to this:

    Two species of elements (set which is the union of objects AND relations): static and dynamic.
    Two instances of each:
    Static – independent and dominant.
    Dynamic – focus and context.

    Best example:
    I have a floor covered in clothes. I have to add a computer desk. The context is the floor. It provides space and space can be consumed by objects placed in it. The dominant is the computer desk. It takes up space from the context. Unrelated is the fact that it provides organized space for books, laptops, etc. The independent is the object, the clothes, that must be moved to, around, on behalf of the dominant. The focus is the dresser into which clothes will be moved.

    That’s the structure of the situation.

    The strategy says this: The process is to collect the clothes and move them into the dresser. But to do this you have to make room for the dresser. So some miniature version of the process has to occur, as a seed of sorts, to make the the process possible. You have to clear some of the clothes even if it creates more disorder among the clothes.

    The final part of course is that once that dresser and computer desk are installed you have to keep doing it or you’ll return to the problem.

    That’s as close to non-naive realism that I can get. I really have to read those links you posted. They could make or break my little amateur model.

    To summarize:

    The process: the focus enables the independent to be moved around the context to make the dominant possible.
    The strategy: you have to seed the process before it begins.
    Sustaining: keep the faith once it’s installed. It puts the independent in the focus. It puts the independent in the focus. Exit Hannibal Lecter.

    Thanks. I’ll check back in a week or so. You’ve given me a lot of work to do.


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