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  • 2018MiddletonPhD

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Mending the sensible: ontoexperiments for a politics of matter

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
  • Jonnet Middleton
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Publication date2018
Number of pages338
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Mending performs an experimental material ontology to test and reconfigure what mender and matter can become. Mending enacts a radical response-ability for and towards liveable more than human worlds. Yet mending seems impossible to do. I unravel this trouble with Jacques Rancière’s politics of perception, the ‘distribution of the sensible’. The ‘sensible’ becomes shorthand for the neoliberal ordering of reality which conceals the material trouble and ‘unexists’ alternative ways to inhabit a world. ‘Mending the sensible’ is a sensory unravelling of givenness to create the conditions for mending’s material possibility.
I turn to technoscience and feminist materialism — principally Barad’s posthuman performativity, Papadopoulos, Stephenson and Tsianos’ imperceptible politics, and Yusoff’s insensible matter — to apprehend mending as an outside politics of matter. Mending is material action which does not count in/for the ‘sensible’ order, and which constitutes noncapitalist worlds by reconfiguring capital’s excess.
I am an ontoworker living in/as experiment. Previous roles of artist, activist and researcher have become undone. Ontowork is the everyday sensory and material testing of ontological rearrangements of self and lifeworld. Ontoexperiments follow emergent protocols to bring material entanglements into relation through risky ontological manoeuvres and concrete everyday matterings, like consuming no more clothes ever, or escaping the sensible force field and its comforts by moving to Cuba.
The thesis is a diffracted onto-ethnographical account of cutting myself apart from sensible givens, and my experience of becoming otherwise in an alter-ontological construction site. It comprises five ontotales, one for each ontoexperiment, and an ontomanual which grounds an unknowing, indeterminate performance of un/ becoming in continuous experience and outside politics. The aim is for scholarship about mending’s possibility to perform itself in material worlds, to achieve material and sensory alignment between everyday experience and what we are for.