📙 Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing
Author: Ian Bogost
Full Title: Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing
New Mexico offered me a childhood of weird objects.
This is the heart of the unit operation: it names a phenomenon of accounting for an object. It is a process, a logic, an algorithm if you want, by which a unit attempts to make sense of another.
Lists offer an antidote to the obsession with Deleuzean becoming, a preference for continuity and smoothness instead of sequentiality and fitfulness.
Lists remind us that no matter how fluidly a system may operate, its members nevertheless remain utterly isolated, mutual aliens.
The phenomenologist who performs carpentry creates a Machine that tries to replicate the unit operation of another’s experience. Like a space probe sent out to record, process, and report information, the alien phenomenologist’s carpentry seeks to capture and characterize an experience it can never fully understand, offering a rendering satisfactory enough to allow the artifact’s operator to gain some insight into an alien thing’s experience. Again I turn to computation for examples.