What Is Object-Oriented Ontology? A Quick-and-Dirty Guide to the Philosophical Movement Sweeping the Art World
November 18th, 2019
Ask yourself: what does your toaster want? How about your dog? Or the bacteria in your gut? What about the pixels on the screen you’re reading off now—how is their day going? In other words, do things, animals, and other non-human entities experience their existence in a way that lies outside our own species-centric definition of consciousness? It’s precisely this questions that the nascent philosophical movement known as Object-Oriented Ontology (arising from ὄντος, the Greek word for “being,” and known to the cool kids as OOO) is attempting to answer or at least seriously pose, and they’re setting certain segments of the art world on fire.
There is no one universal definition of visual art though there is a general consensus that art is the conscious creation of something beautiful or meaningful using skill and imagination. The definition and perceived value of works of art have changed throughout history and in different cultures. The Jean Basquiat painting that sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s auction in May 2017 would, no doubt, have had trouble finding an audience in Renaissance Italy, for example.