Laura Gonzalez


30 Mar 2014

The Quadruple Object by Graham Harman ****

Reading dates: 26 January – 28 March 2014

I chose this book for our Dialectical Materialism book group. I wanted to see whether object oriented ontology would help us to think about how change might come about. Also, I wanted to know about OOO, fashionable as it is. Harman’s book is fascinating and surprisingly easy to read. Every time I picked it up, I got ‘in-the-zone’ with it with the added perceptive bonus that the world around me became more colourful, more interesting and I became more curious and observant. The discussion we had on friday night was probably one of our best, mainly because we listened to bits of podcasts where Harman rejects a political application to his system. That’s precisely what we were trying to do. Not that we got that far. I resolved to read Levi Bryant, an object oriented marxist.

As book-choser, I cooked for the group of 5. This meant that I missed many wonderful points (I could hear the natter) in the interest of not burning the tofu. It is a shame as this book made us speak. I wanted more and perhaps I should have provided a less sensuous experience and more take away pizza. Harman also made me draw:


The analogy between Harman’s system and playing cards is vivid and I did not understand why colour had not been an option in the book’s diagrammes. Most of the discussions I had and the ones I withdrew from (ho ho) were about understanding, about finding phenomenological experiences and examples of what the system is and how it works. As consort host, Neil provided us with precisely the right object to analyse: the quadruple nut biscuit. Its surface was clear; its depth, bottomless.

Quadruple nut

But just in case you think us comrades have no humour or only read books and know nothing of life, I will tell you that one of the best moment was Ellie’s re-acting of the scene, quadruple biscuit in hand (the other was reminiscing about electroclash).

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, DiaMat, Reading

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.