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Letting Go of Nature

Tomoko Kanamitsu | Common Love: Aesthetics of Becoming in Contemporary Art. Kaira Cabañas (ed). Exhibition catalogue. New York: Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, 2011, 28-49.

A translucent green slab emerges from a vacuum machine. This is no ordinary slice of cucumber. Its normally opaque flesh now resembles jade and tastes like distilled juniper berries with a slight hint of vermouth. It's an edible martini! Dave Arnold, the director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute in New York, utilizes science and technology to transform the ways one prepares, cooks, eats, and experiences food. Arnold's tools include instruments and substances that are rarely seen in a home kitchen, such as centrifuges, hydrocolloids, and liquid nitrogen. But, he often takes a DIY approach to his instruments, modifying them and conducting taste experiments—for example, the best way to sous-vide—in the "advancement of deliciousness."1

The edible martini enacts a process of becoming, where the cucumber literally becomes a cocktail through Arnold's interventions. This "becoming other" is one of the characteristics of love that the artists in Common Love explore.2 In the context of this essay, it points to ways in which the work of certain artists comments on humankind's relation to nature and how the division between nature and culture is increasingly blurred. In Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri speak to the status of what they call the "natural" and "artificial" commons in the contemporary age of globalization. The natural commons, they explain, includes "the bounty of nature available to humanity," such as air, water, animals, and forests.3 Artificial commons consists of the social production of labor such as "knowledges, languages, codes, information, affects and so forth."4 While Hardt and Negri draw a distinction between the natural and artificial commons, they nevertheless hold any idea of a pure or pristine nature at bay. Nature is not separate from humankind; rather it is the entwinement of the natural and the artificial that constitutes the commons. The project of the commons as a new space for politics is realized through cooperation, exchange, and care between humans and nonhumans, creating opportunities for transformation apart from structures of commodification and property.5

Arnold's creations are one example of the experimental production of the commons. He applies knowledge from the discipline of science to alter everyday conceptions of food and simultaneously works against the Empire of factory food production.6 Following the Second World War, technological advances made it possible to manufacture food that was increasingly removed from its organic origin. These processed foods are often mass-produced from corn and soy derivatives that are high in calories and contribute to rising obesity rates.7 Arnold's understanding of hydrocolloids (gums) allows him to cook with them as ingredients instead of as additives. He thus diverts their application by the Fast Food Empire, which privileges "economy and convenience... mak[ing] products that are cheaper, easier to ship, easier to freeze, and harder to spoil."8 His consideration of the productive capabilities of food and his use of culinary technologies create new food experiences that promote innovation, labor intensiveness, and even luxury.9 At the same time, his use of unconventional ingredients—such as, hydrocolloids, which add texture and shape to ingredients that normal cooking techniques would not be able to achieve—subverts the notion of an untouched nature.10 Likewise, Arnold challenges familiar conceptions of the cucumber and what it means to drink a cocktail. The cucumber has been transformed from when he first peeled it, the martini has a satisfying crunch.

In The Politics of Nature, Bruno Latour similarly argues in favor of "letting go of nature."11 Nature, he explains, is not an untainted material reality, but a political distinction. Evoking Plato's allegory of the cave, Latour demonstrates that science does not provide an objective description of reality.12 He develops the ideas first expressed in his earlier book We Have Never Been Modern, arguing that science is inextricably linked to politics, as evinced in discussions of the 1990s and early 2000s: e.g., the depletion of the ozone layer, President George W. Bush's stance on stem-cell research, and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.13 Indeed, the ideal of a pristine nature first arose during the period of industrialization in the nineteenth century and is intimately related to aesthetic notions of the sublime. Here, one might recall the landscape paintings of the European and American romantics, such as J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Cole.

In the United States, the "invention" of pristine nature tellingly coincided with the establishment of the National Park System in 1872. Gabriel Martinez's Cracks in the pavement are watered with Miracle-Gro (Rose Park) (2005) is an ongoing activity that speaks to the paradoxes inherent in the management and development of parks. Martinez waters grass growing in a crack in the pavement, but his use of the fertilizer Miracle-Gro constitutes an artificial intervention in the grass's growth. National parks in the United States are seemingly public areas of nature conservation and appreciation, when in fact they are sites of ownership, exclusion, and human intervention.14 The management of public parks includes practices such as prescribed burning, brush and tree cleaning, the regulation of wildlife populations, and removing and controlling non-native and invasive species.15 These interventions question the ideal of an "untouched" nature, or, as Latour cheekily states, "keep it 'natural enough' for the Nature-intoxicated tourists to remain happy."16 Martinez's work exposes the paradox inherent in the desire to protect nature preserves. His act is a modest gesture that conjoins the urban blight of the cracked sidewalk and the "natural" growth of the grass, showing that the recovery of a purely natural commons is impossible. His use of Miracle-Gro underscores that there is no "outside" to the entanglement of the natural and the artificial.

Increasingly, natural resources such as water, certain organisms (for instance seeds for crops), and knowledge and information gained from data mining are becoming privatized.17 In Empire, Hardt and Negri mention one example of ecological privatization in the government's control over water and natural gas in Bolivia during the early 2000s.18 On a broader scale, they address how capital works on an expansive model and how this proves to be a double bind for ecology. Citing the Marxist theorist and activist Rosa Luxemburg, Hardt and Negri describe how capitalism needs to exploit nature in order to advance, but that the exploitation of nature simultaneously threatens the advancement of capitalism itself.19 By way of illustration, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, whaling provided much of the oil needed for lamp and candles. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, years of hunting had decimated the whale population, and an energy crisis due to the rising price of the blubber-derived fuel ensued. The crisis was alleviated by the discovery of a plentiful nonrenewable resource: petroleum. Now, as the modern petroleum industry faces a similar predicament, the rise and fall of these two industries demonstrates how the eventual depletion of natural resources threatens the source of capital accumulation and thus its ability to expand.20

Two artists in Common Love, Will Kwan and Marc Handelman, utilize the visual vocabulary of nature to address the impact of colonialism and capitalist-militaristic expansion. Will Kwan's Shanghai Concession Camo (la longue durée) (2007) is a video animation of photographs of tree bark that slowly morphs across four vertically mounted HD television monitors. The photographs are of London planes, trees that were introduced by the French to the Concession area of Shanghai in 1902. According to Kwan, this neighborhood has largely escaped the city's rapid urbanization, and the European-style architecture is preserved among the streets' London planes. In Shanghai Concession Camo, Kwan tightly crops the tree trunks, which have a scaly, mottled surface. The resulting images suggest the allover composition of an abstract painting, while the animation produces patterns reminiscent of camouflage and geospatial satellite imagery.21 The monitors, which are sited on a military-green wall, become technologically mediated trees that symbolize Shanghai's colonial past.22 Kwan's self-professed interest in the "universal iconography of globalism" is further revealed through his recourse to the visual language of art history (allover composition) and the military (camouflage).23

If Kwan's use of images of geographically and historically specific trees speaks to the history of colonialism, Marc Handelman's paintings hone in on the co-optation of nature through their conjunction of nineteenth-century romanticism with contemporary military advertisements. Tomorrow's Forecast: Strikingly Clear (2008) shows a blazing white sun Yet the image of a sunset sky seems partially obscured by the traces of another painting. It is as if two paintings had been stuck together and one canvas peeled off the other, leaving torn remnants teetering above the surface. The title of the painting refers to the provenance of the image: a magazine advertisement for the defense technology company Northrop Grumman.24 Handelman describes the original advertisement as similar to John Constable's cloud studies and reminiscent of "countless nineteenth-century paintings of the Natural Sublime: the thunder-clap from the mountain, a turbulent sea, the terrifying awe of an abyss-like valley, and the approaching storm."25 A second work in the exhibition, Force Multiplier (2008), also depicts a sunset from one of the many military and defense corporation advertisement that Handelman has collected, while its title appropriates a military term referring to a factor (for example, GPS technology or even weather) that increases ("multiplies") the effectiveness of combat.

Handelman's found images of sunsets recall nineteenth-century romanticism and naturalism, exemplified by Hudson River School painters such as Frederic E. Church.26 In Twilight in the Wilderness (1860), Church depicts the landscape with detailed precision, as the red-orange flame of sunset conjures a sublime nature to be mastered by humanity.27 Landscape paintings like this preserved a view of nature that was idealistic and separate from the harsh realities of industrialization and city life. Moreover they furthered the political agenda of Manifest Destiny.28 In both paintings in Common Love, Handelman disrupts his appropriated landscapes by superimposing the sunsets on top of a fragmented, abstracted logo of a defense corporation. His transfer process complicates what would otherwise be an oversized, kitschy appropriation of a majestic sky by juxtaposing the "naturalness" of the landscape with the hard-edged iconicity of an unknown corporate power's logo.29

The following artists in the exhibition move beyond the ideological deployment of nature, whether colonial or martial, to engage more specifically the role of technology in the appropriation of nature. Yasue Maetake, Tim Hyde, and Ronnie Bass speak in diverse ways to what Hardt and Negri call the "new human condition."30 Hardt and Negri cite Donna Harraway's influential essay on cyborgs, in which she explains that "nature and culture are reworked; the one can no longer be the resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other."31 Harraway affirms a radically feminist proposal that complicates and renders mutable the categories of human, nature, and machine.32 As our bodies become more technological, the distinction between nature and human transforms. Human "becomes" machine, and machine "becomes" human, consequently informing Hardt and Negri's definition of love as an acceptance of alterity and "becoming different."33

Yasue Maetake's sculptures Polaris (2007) and Rake (2011) combine both natural and artificial materials in their construction. In Polaris, synthetic materials such as steel and plaster are used alongside wood, thereby showing Maetake's interest in the intractability of materials. Polaris, also the name of the North Star, resembles a satellite with its circular dish pointing toward the sky. Photographs hanging from the work's delicate branches recall both images from surveillance satellites and the ornamental papers of the tanzaku, hand-written wishes and poems on strips of paper attached to bamboo branches for the Tanabata holiday.34 In contrast to the technological pretense of Polaris, Rake resembles an organic mushroom. Here, Maetake uses materials such as bone, fish scales, glass, epoxy, resin, and stainless steel. Although bone may seem to be a substance "fixed in nature," it too has been subject to cultural change.35 The evolution of bone allowed for movement and a new form of creative agency in animals and humans.36 By configuring seemingly inert materials such as bone into "vibrant assemblages" Maetake points to the interdependence of the human and nonhuman worlds.37

The interlacing of nature and technology comes to the fore in Tim Hyde's video installation. In March 2006, Hyde made Video Panorama of New York City During Which the Camera Fails to Distinguish the City From a Snowstorm (2006-11). Shooting for the duration of a seven-hour snowstorm from the vantage point of a Brooklyn rooftop, Hyde produced a 180-degree panorama of the New York skyline. The installation is split across seven screens, each representing one hour of the storm. Instead of a real time recording, however, Hyde edited the footage to loop only the sections where the camera's autofocus failed to differentiate between the city skyline and the falling snow. The resulting images pulse in and out of focus as the zoom lens negotiates between sky and snow—New York at times disappears through the camera's lens. Hyde's piece shows how a natural occurrence can render the capturing of meteorological phenomena impossible. Here technological advance (autofocus) undercuts the camera's documentary objective.

If Maetake and Hyde both counter the "narcissism of humans in charge of the [natural] world," 38 Ronnie Bass creates a story to evoke the human desire to control nature. Our Land (2006) is an installation that centers on a nine-minute video. The fictional narrative follows a computer store manager named Chad who is played by the artist. In part one, Chad invites two friends to his house to work on a wood-carving project. A title card in part two reveals that Chad received a "detailed vision of a microchip factory in the desert." The next scene shows a shack in the desert where one of his employees uses a remote to control a mechanical arm that will build the microchip. Finally, in part three, Chad, standing inside a tent before a projection screen that displays the rotating final product, unveils his new microchip. The tent resembles both a fundamentalist church (with Chad as pastor) and a low-tech version of the Worldwide Developer Conference (with Chad as Steve Jobs). The soundtrack, composed by Bass, includes his deadpan vocals, with music that is as hypnotic as it is catchy.

The history of the American desert includes diverse figures like Edward Weston and numerous cultists as well as being the site of nuclear testing. Bass remixes the recent history of the rise of high-tech businesses with the history of Manifest Destiny associated with the American West. The title of the installation easily recalls Woody Guthrie's song "This Land Is Your Land," whose populist lyrics suggest that the land belongs to "the people." Bass's video is completed by an installation that comprises a sculpture of a bear (the finished product from part one of the video) and a houseplant, creating a setting much like either the lobby of a small business or a Protestant church. As in his other works, such as The Sky Needs You Too (2008), Bass, like Handelman, evokes the association of the American landscape with the rhetoric of romanticism and even mysticism. Our Land points to the ways in which technology can be seen as a panacea for humankind's domination over nature at the same time that it remains an open source for the production of the commons.

Really we have to learn to love some of
the monsters and to combat the others.
—Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude 39

Hardt and Negri explore the figure of the monster as a metaphor for the new biopolitical body of the multitude created by globalization. The monster, among the most famous being the one depicted in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), was a warning against the expansion of new technologies and their impact on modern man's quest for knowledge during the industrial revolution. Interestingly, Latour also conjures the figure of the monster when he writes:

Mary Shelley, in a brilliant feat of myth making, had seen at
the onset of the 19th century great technical revolutions, that
the gigantic sins that were to be committed would be hiding
a much greater sin that it has been upon our generation to
finally atone for: not technology itself, but the absence of love
for the technology we have created, as if we had decided that
we were unable to follow through with the education of our
own children.40

And so it is with the figure of the monster, the monsters in all of us, that we return to the philosophy of love and becoming other. Arnold's cucumber that has been transformed into a solid cocktail, Martinez's grass fertilized with Miracle-Gro, or Maetake's sculptures that are hybridized assemblages of natural and artificial materials-all these works are like monsters that combine the social production of labor with the elements of the natural world.41 These monsters, however, like Harraway's cyborgs, are both a warning and a hope for the new productive capabilities that technology affords. Along with Kwan, Handelman, Hyde, and Bass, these artists in Common Love complicate our assumptions of a pristine and untouched nature in order to acknowledge a conception of nature that is based on human- and nonhumankind. By addressing the entwinement of the natural and the artificial, these artists define acts of love in its impossibilities and corruptions, showing the ways technology, and the development of global networks and immaterial labor, can give rise to new powers of control. At the same time, they redefine love as an act of collaboration, community, and interaction, with the potential for humans and nonhumans to productively contribute to the common world.


1 Dave Arnold, "Molecular Gastronomy Is Just a Long Four Letter Word," Cooking Issues, 1 June 2009. http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/06/01/moleculargastronomy-is-just-a-long-four-letter-word/. Dave Arnold can be seen making an edible martini online; see the video featured in "The Edible Martini," New York Times Magazine, 9 December 2007. http://video.nytimes.com/video/2007/12/04/magazine/1194817116911/the-edible-martini.html (accessed 22 November 2010). It is also possible to make an edible martini at home. See "Vacuum-infusion for the home cook," Cooking Issues, 2 June 2009. http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/06/02/vacuum-infusion-for-the-home-cook/.
2 Food has been frequently featured in contemporary art contexts. Recently, the world-renowned chef and culinary innovator Ferran Adrià was represented in Documenta 12
in 2007. Adrià's restaurant, El Bulli, sited on the Costa Brava and thus far from Kassel, presented an offsite contribution by keeping a table for two open to Documenta visitors.
3 Hardt and Negri, Commonwealth, 139.
4 More concretely, the artificial commons includes open-source software and scientific research. Ibid., x.
5 Hardt and Negri use the term "ecology of the common" to describe this association between humans and nonhumans. Ibid., 171.
6 "Empire" refers to a new global sovereign power that includes a "series of national and supranational organisms." See Hardt and Negri, Empire, xii.
7 Michael Pollan argues that while some methods of preservation such as pickling helped promote the longevity of foods, the rise of processed foods is based on convenience and marketing. Pollan also traces the rising obesity rate among Americans to the abundance of available food and to the widespread use of cheap corn derivatives such as high fructose corn syrup. Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), 90-92, 100-108.
8 Dave Arnold, "Hydrocolloids Primer," Cooking Issues, 14 July 2009. http://www.cookingissues.com/primers /hydrocolloids-primer/ (accessed 22 November 2010).
9 While Arnold's use of technology within cooking is productive of the commons, this type of food preparation is often consumed in high-end restaurants and requires expensive equipment; the paradox is perhaps inescapable. This said, home chefs are beginning to experiment with new technologies of food preparation, as described in the blog Alinea at Home, which recreates recipes from the restaurant Alinea. See http://alineaathome.typepad.com/.
10 Hydrocolloids allow chefs to "create almost any shape and achieve almost any texture using food, all without compromising flavor." They can be chemically processed, but are also derived from animals, seaweed, seeds, and tree sap, such as gelatin, agar agar, gum arabic, pectin, and xanthan gum. Arnold, "Hydrocolloids Primer."
11 My use of the phrase "letting go of nature" draws its inspiration from "Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature," in Bruno Latour, The Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 9-52; originally published as Politiques de la nature: Comment faire entrer les sciences en démocratie, 1999.
12 Latour defines, "Science as the politicization of the sciences through epistemology in order to render ordinary political life impotent through the threat of an incontestable nature [author's emphasis]." Latour differentiates between Science and the Sciences, which he defines as a one of the five essential fields of the collective, or an association of humans and non humans. Latour, The Politics of Nature, 10, 92-93.
13 See Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 1- 3; originally published as Nous n'avons jamais été modernes: essai d'anthropologie symétrique, 1991; idem, "It's Development, Stupid! or How to Modernize Modernization" (2007), 6. www.bruno-latour.fr/articles/index.html (accessed 22 November 2010).
14 Philippe Descola describes how indigenous populations used the grounds of Yellowstone National Park for hunting and seasonal rituals. The grounds were emptied of the Native American population when turned into a national park in 1872, showing how a Western view of pristine nature was also a colonial force that removed indigenous populations from their land. Philippe Descola, "Who Owns Nature?" la vie des idées website, 21 January 2008, 1; originally published as "A qui appartient la nature?"
2008. www.laviedesidees.fr/Who-owns-nature.html (accessed 22 November 2010).
15 For an explanation of various natural resource management techniques used at Grand Canyon National Park, see http://home.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/environmentalfactors.htm.
16 Latour, "It's Development, Stupid," 6.
17 For a discussion on Monsanto's GMO seeds, see Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire (New York: Random House, 2002), 206-10. For a discussion of art's relation to data mining, see Joe Scanlan, "The Uses of Disorder: The Art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres," Artforum 48, no. 6 (February 2010), 165.
18 In the city of Cochabamba, the government sold water to foreign investors on the advice of the World Bank in order to refinance the public water service. The local rates for water rose 35 percent and protests immediately followed. In Commonwealth, Hardt and Negri describe this situation as an example of altermodernity, wherein a racial, economic, social, and cultural problem is addressed by a multiplicity of singularities. Hardt and Negri, Commonwealth, 108-12.
19 More specifically, they reference Rosa Luxemburg's work on Marxist ecological thought. See Hardt and Negri, Empire, 458, note 18.
20 Randy Kennedy describes the legacy of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851) as a cautionary tale on human attempts to control nature in the context of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also known as the BP oil spill, off the coast of Louisiana in 2010. Randy Kennedy, "The Ahab Parallax, " New York Times, 11 June 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/weekinreview/13kennedy.html (accessed 22 November 2010). Recent American economic theory has been promoting green technologies, or the development of renewable energy resources such as wind and hydropower, as the new frontier for capitalistic expansion. See Thomas Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008).
21 Kwan's reference to Abstract Expressionist painting recalls the CIA's role in using the movement as a propaganda tool during World War II to promote the image of the United States as "free" and "individual." See Eva Cockcroft, "Abstract Expressionism: Weapon of the Cold War," Artforum 22, no. 10 (June 1974), 39-41. For a comprehensive study of the American political and cultural reaction to Abstract Expressionism during the Cold War years, see Serge Guilbaut, How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom, and the Cold War, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); written in French, first published in English.
22 In including la longue durée in his parenthetical title, Kwan references a French school of history that gives priority to long-term historical structures over events. In this way, Kwan could be pointing to the continued colonialism of China by the West, whether historically through land (the Opium wars in the late nineteenth century) or recently through capital (the 1979 Open Door Policy), thus posing colonialism itself as a long-term structure. The concept of longue durée was first introduced by Fernand Braudel of the Annales School in 1958. See Fernand Braudel "History and the Social Sciences: The Longue Durée," On History, trans. Sarah Matthews (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 32; originally published as Ecrits sur l'histoire, 1969.
23 Will Kwan, as cited in Alissa Firth-Eagland and Johan Lundh, "Research in Motion: An Interview with Will Kwan," Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 9, no. 2 (2010), 33.
24 Marc Handelman, "IMG MGMT: TOMORROW'S FORECAST: STRIKINGLY CLEAR," Art Fag City website, 28 August 2009. http://www.artfagcity.com/2009/08/28/img-mgmt-tomorrows-forecast-strikingly-clear (accessed 8 August 2010).
25 Ibid.
26 Handelman referenced Church directly in another work, Our Banner in the Sky (2005). Utilizing the original Church work of the same name from 1861, he crops the painting to a small section of the flag and sky. He then reverses the colors and greatly increases the scale of the painting by over emphasizing the sublime power of color, pattern, and sky. Handelman critiques symbols of nationalism and power that are tied to the depiction of the American landscape, as well as those of Abstract Expressionism.
27 Adorno and Horkheimer trace the consequences of the Enlightenment to man's mastery of domination over nature. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002); originally published as Dialektik der Aufklärung, 1947.
28 Manifest Destiny—the implicit assumption that the United States would expand to the Pacific Ocean—is a nineteenth-century reenactment of the enclosure movement. While many Hudson River School paintings would later be used to promote tourism of natural sites, their idealized depiction of nature contributed to the notion that the American landscape was intimately tied to American identity.
29 Handelman exposed how love based on a "process of unification" is corrupt, given that it emphasizes national or corporate identity over that of multiple singularities or the commons. Hardt and Negri, Commonwealth, 183.
30 Hardt and Negri, Empire, 291.
31 Donna Harraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," chap. 8 in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991), 151. For a discussion of Harraway's work, see Hardt and Negri, Empire, 91.
32 1bid., 91.
33 Hardt and Negri cite the "pseudocopulation" of wasps and orchids as an example of becoming that destabilizes notions of productivity within nature. "The orchid is a becoming-wasp (becoming the wasp's sexual organ) and the wasp is a becoming-orchid(becoming part of the orchid's system of reproduction). What is central is the encounter and interaction between these two becomings, which together form a new assemblage, a wasp-orchid machine." Hardt and Negri, Commonwealth, 186-187.
34 Tanabata, or the star festival in Japan, celebrates the myth of the creation of the Milky Way. On one day each year, two stars—Vega and Altair, who are separated by the Milky Way—come together and meet on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar.
35 Hardt and Negri cite Anne Fausto-Sterling's work, which describes how the growth of human bone changes shape according to culturally specific gender practices. Hardt and Negri, Commonwealth, 170.
36 Jane Bennett recounts Manuel de Landa's history of the creation of a sudden mineralization of bone more than 5,000 million years ago. Before this time, organisms were solely composed of soft tissue. Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010), 23-24.
37 Bennett, borrowing the term assemblage from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, defines the assemblage as a new way to define non-humans as "living throbbing confederations," including such things as blackouts, hurricanes, and the war on terror. Bennett, Vibrant Matter, 11. Also see, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus.
38 Ibid., xvi.
39 Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 196.
40 Emphasis mine. Latour, "It's Development, Stupid", 11.
41 Hardt and Negri state that the production of subjectivities is dependent on the hybridization of humans and machines. Their argument moves beyond the modernist conceptions of the factory worker toward a discussion of how "new virtualities… have the capacity to take control of the processes of machinic metamorphosis." Hardt and Negri, Empire, 367.

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