Timothy Morton: Haunted Houses

W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

March 14, 2016 at 7:00pm
Tim Southend Headshot

Buildings might well last longer, perhaps far longer, than a single human life. Anything that lasts longer than us displays strange qualities that are also intrinsic to what ecological awareness is doing to us. Ecological awareness is saturated with , a shimmering or flickering, a shadow play of presence and absence intertwined. What does this feel like from moment to moment? Stop the tape of the building's history at any point, and you will find it is haunted by a weird, spectral double. Modifications and fixes, varying accommodations of internal and external forces. A house is never absolutely present a such a way that you could point to exactly what it is, once and for all. The house is doubled by its “X-house” specter: X as in the X-Men. As a condition of possibility for existing at all. Every house is a haunted house. I'm going to show how our ecological age requires that we take this spectral shimmer into account in our ethical and political decisions, which include architecture.

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory in 2014. He is the author of Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, forthcoming), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism and Critical Theory (Chicago, forthcoming), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), seven other books and 120 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, design and food. He blogs regularly at http://www.ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com.