Timothy Morton: Things Just Got Weird

Timothy Morton. Photo: Emilija Škarnulytė

  • Timothy Morton. Photo: Emilija Škarnulytė

  • Sun, Oct 23, 2016
    (This event has already happened.)

    Kent Hall, Room 107
    1020 E 58th St
    [view map]

    In Urth, Ben Rivers draws on the work of philosopher Timothy Morton, who offers vivid new perspectives 
on ecological thinking, our interconnectedness with the nonhuman, and the future to come.

    Here Morton presents a lecture titled Things Just Got Weird, in which he discusses how ecological awareness involves a loop-like quality, inspired by the Old Norse word “urth,” meaning “twisted in a loop.” Far from being obvious or “natural,” ecological awareness is strange and uncanny. 

    In his latest book, Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (2016), Morton argues that ecological awareness in the present Anthropocene era takes the form of a strange loop or Möbius strip, twisted to have only one side. Deckard travels this oedipal path in Blade Runner (1982) when he learns that he might be the enemy he has been ordered to pursue. Ecological awareness takes this shape because ecological phenomena have a loop form that is also fundamental to the structure of how things are.

    The logistics of agricultural society resulted in global warming and hardwired dangerous ideas about life-forms into the human mind. Dark ecology puts us in an uncanny position of radical self-knowledge, illuminating our place in the biosphere and our belonging to a species in a sense that is far less obvious than we like to think. Morton explores the logical foundations of the ecological crisis, which is suffused with the melancholy and negativity of coexistence yet evolving, as we explore its loop form, into something playful, anarchic, and comedic. His work is a skilled fusion of humanities and scientific scholarship, incorporating the theories and findings of philosophy, anthropology, literature, ecology, biology, and physics. Morton hopes to reestablish our ties to nonhuman beings and to help us rediscover the playfulness and joy that can brighten the dark, strange loop we traverse.

    Following the lecture, Morton will sign copies of his books, which will be available to purchase.

    This event is presented in partnership with the Arts, Science & Culture Initiative, the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, and the Open Practice Committee of the Department of Visual Arts, all at the University of Chicago, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

    Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. His books include Ecology Without Nature (2007); The Ecological Thought (2010); Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World (2013); and Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (2013); and he has published more than 150 essays on ecology, philosophy, art, literature, music, architecture, and food. He has collaborated with several artists, including Björk, Olafur Eliasson, and Haim Steinbach, and blogs regularly at ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com.