Monday, May 25, 2009

PhD writing as the art of the curve

An object, according to Graham Harman, is never fully met.
...A thing is never fully met.
What i meet is what firstly I recognise. It may well be more than what i recognise, it will be an assemblage, parts of which i become more and less acquainted with.
And, it only 'meets me' in terms of what it interacts with.

If i have a technology or a tool such as a hammer, says Latour (2002) citing Serres, my grasping the object is akin to grasping a 'garland in time'.
The 10 yr old oak of its handle, the minerals of antiquity, and the aggregation of all that made the making possibility.

Latour takes this a little further, for rather than talking of its instrumentality, or its substance he chooses to focus on its translation effects.
Technology as a detour, a journey, or with even more eloquence:
"technology is the art of the curve."

It's how a gets to b, a translation effect.
And as Latour says
"Why then do certain dominant Western traditions in spite of everything speak of technology as something that is amenable to mastery?"

And now I'm thinking...the PhD, its not a means nor an end and is not morally inherent or devoid, what it is is
"the art of a curve."


Latour, B. (2002). Morality and technology. The end of the means. Theory, Culture & Society, 19(5/6), 247–260.


  1. And I think it is from Mae West but ..."a curved line is the loveliest distance between two points"

  2. Not an obvious choice for a female philospher, I have noticed its a career choice seemingly under-represented by women. However, i will concede she is one who knew a lot about curves. Artichokes are curvaceous also :)