About the event

What are the political and ethical implications of considering all objects—whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, even whether animate or inanimate—equivalent and thereby interchangeable? Noortje Marres (Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London), Shannon Mattern (Media Studies, The New School) and David Turnbull (Architecture, Cooper Union) with Katherine Behar (Fine and Performing Arts, Baruch College, CUNY) as moderator will discuss how this changes the conversation around sustainability as well as human interaction with technology at the scale of machines or cities. Should we assess the qualities of an object in relation to political and ethical ramifications of its material being? Can an object bear responsibility that has previously been reserved for humans? What is the constellation of disciplines including architecture, ecology, global geography, urban studies, and anthropology that must consider these questions? Artists’ sometimes contentious relationship to material presence provides a platform for the examination of these questions.

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