Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be your own pet

It was interesting to observe that Heidegger was very much present in both Sloterdijk and Latour’s talk during their recent joint appearance at Harvard. For Sloterdijk, it was a matter of building on Heidegger positively, by “explicitating” Heidegger’s notion of being-in. As Latour quipped, for Sloterdijk “Dasein is design,” and explicitation means rendering the material aspects of being human visible. Thus Sloterdijk shows that being-in for humans means living in bubbles, in a world that looks like foam — marvellously refreshing metaphors for facilitating a new way of imagining sociality. A host of biological and evolutionary themes were also evoked, often resulting in startling observations, such as describing women’s bodies as “architectural units” and “apartments” for “interiorising the egg.” Sloterdijk drew parallels between evolutionary biological processes and architecture, claiming that “humans are pets,” i.e. “the effects of the space they create.” He did have a few very funny lines, aided by his deadpan delivery.
In which hiptellectuals Sloterdijk and Latour talk about girls, guided by the shade of philosophy's favourite Nazi.

So, how's that architectural unit working for you? Is is any wonder that Bruno and Peter are the current favoured thinkers of the architectural profession, given architecture's professed progressivism and its actual failure to give women good jobs?

Photograph of the Architecture Faculty at Minsk Polytechnic, from a series that can be found here

Wait, there's more; from a 3 June 2006 Der Spiegel interview with Sloterdijk, translated by Christopher Glazek and published in Harper's, Vol 313, No 1976, September 2006:
Women are gatherers by brith, and man needs them now more than ever, because from the gatherer nature leads the shortest path to the female consumer. Women at this point are much more compatible with capitalism than men. In the consumer we can still see the calm triumphal satisfaction of the gatherer who brings things home in her basket. Here the mysterious feminine universal - the purse - has its roots. A man without a spear - or without a ball - that's all right, but a woman without a purse, that's against nature.

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