I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

quick reminder

A quick reminder to Melbourne readers: Jeffrey Cohen, from In the Middle, will be giving a free public lecture tonight, called "Feeling Stone," in the Elisabeth Murdoch lecture theatre A, (the one behind the white plaster figures escaping from the wall of the Potter Gallery at the university of Melbourne in Swanston St), at 6.00 tonight.

It's utterly free, and will be utterly fabulous. Jeffrey has foregone a day at the zoo in the sunshine to work on the fine-tuning. Come and hear him speak and introduce yourself as a fellow-blooger in the reception afterwards.

Our vocabulary for stone is impoverished. We describe rock as dumb, mute, unfeeling, unyielding, recalcitrant. Stone can sometimes be invoked as a witness, but most often its testimony is silent,an unfeeling trigger to affect, a passive reminder of tragic human histories. This talk excavates a lithic counter-tradition: stone not simply as a spur to human emotion, but as a lively substance possessed of agency, motility, artistry, and possibly even a soul. Surveying work by medieval and
contemporary thinkers, from Albertus Magnus and Geoffrey of Monmouth to Gilles Deleuze, Elizabeth Grosz and Roger Caillois, I argue that stone invites us to a nonanthropocentric approach of ecologies, landscapes, texts and art.

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