CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures

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id acadia16_344
authors Leach, Neil
year 2016
title Digital Tool Thinking: Object-Oriented Ontology versus New Materialism
source ACADIA // 2016: POSTHUMAN FRONTIERS: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines [Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) ISBN 978-0-692-77095-5] Ann Arbor 27-29 October, 2016, pp. 344-351
summary Within contemporary philosophy, two apparently similar movements have gained attention recently, New Materialism and Object Oriented Ontology. Although these movements have quite distinct genealogies, they overlap on one key issue: they are both realist movements that focus on the object. In contrast to much twentieth-century thinking centered on the subject, these two movements address the seemingly overlooked question of the object. In shifting attention away from the anthropocentrism of Humanism, both movements can be seen to subscribe to the broad principles of Posthumanism. Are these two movements, however, as similar as they first appear? And how might they be seen to differ in their approach to digital design? This paper is an attempt to evaluate and critique the recent strain of Object Oriented Ontology and question its validity. It does so by tracing the differences between OOO and New Materialism, specifically through the work of the neo-Heideggerian philosopher Graham Harman and the post-Deleuzian philosopher Manuel DeLanda, and by focusing on the question of the ‘tool’ in particular. The paper opens up towards the question of the digital tool, questioning the connection between Object Oriented Ontology and Object Oriented Programming, and introducing the theory of affordances as an alternative to the stylistic logic of ‘parametricism’ as a way of understanding the impact of digital tools on architectural production. The paper concludes that we need to recognize the crucial differences between the work of DeLanda and Harman, and that—if nothing else—within progressive digital design circles, we should be cautious of Harman’s brand of Object Oriented Ontology, not least because of its heavy reliance on the work of the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger.
keywords digital tools, obect-oriented ontology, new materialism, sensate systems
series ACADIA
type paper
full text file.pdf (615,440 bytes)
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