Towards Neomaterialism: Barricades vs. Shipping Containers

Open Discussion Thu 16 Feb 2012 7.30PM-9.30PM The Public School
93 3rd Avenue, corner of 3rd Ave and Bergen
Brooklyn< New York
Free admission
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Writer, curator, and 2011—2013 Vera List Center Fellow Joshua Simon facilitates an open discussion on Neomaterialism, as part of his research on the expanded notions of Thingness. Re-introducing different notions of materialism into the already established conversation on the subjectivity of things, Neomaterialism expands on earlier research in this field to include considerations of labor, debt, credit, life-taxes, and social organization.

How come symbols behave like materials ("fake" and "real" brands)? Why have commodities become the historical subject (we furnish our world with IKEA or rather we dwell in its world)? Are humans reduced to simply absorbing surpluses (baby diapers are a form of child labor)? How labor has shifted from production to consumption and why is everything we do is work (even when we are not employed)?

With a subtitle inspired by the events of Occupy the Ports (December 12, 2011), the open discussion touches on animism and alienation, the overqualified generation, and the promise of the "dividual." It does so by following Joshua Simons recent texts on Neomaterialism, published with e-flux journal, and the 1898 essay "The Beginning of Ownership" by sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen, one of the founders of The New School.

Presented on occasion of the Vera List Center's 2011-2013 focus theme "Thingness."