On this page, JaeWook Lee publishes informal texts about art, philosophy, and science.

Becoming Volcano: The Lithuania and Cyprus Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, oO and Maria Hassabi, Intermission

<This article is published in the performance art journal INCIDENT 2014.>

Installation view, the Lithuania and Cyprus pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale

Installation view, the Lithuania and Cyprus pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale


We think, feel, and speak. Does an object also think, feel, speak, and voice its will? In the Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant said that the thing has its own cognition and intellection, known as “thing-in-itself.”[1] He proposed that there is an existence of immaterial entities in objects, which can only be apprehended by a special, non-sensory faculty that he called “intellectual intuition.” Recently, a group of philosophers who have labeled their works “Speculative Realism,” among them Graham Harman and Quentin Meillassoux, have suggested the existence of an object world through the non-anthropocentric lens. What this achieves is a revaluation of nonhuman entities such as objects but also a redefinition of ontology. Objects become “things” qua autonomous agencies: a thing “does something besides sit around as a target for human awareness of it.”[2] Speculative Realism redefines the most fundamental relationships between things, and rebalances human and nonhuman, proposing a system that does not exclusively depend on human signification.  

[1] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 1781, A256/B312, p.27

[2] Graham Harman, Technology, objects and things in Heidegger, Cambridge Journal of Economics 2010, p24


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