Lecture: Thomas Roberts – A New Materialism? Adventures in Speculative Thought

In recent years, new materialist theory has re-invigorated debates around materiality within the social sciences, placing particular emphasis upon the efficacy of material ecologies, from architectures and infrastructures to objects and interfaces. Thomas Roberts is a researcher interested in these theoretical debates, in particular the role of architecture in experimenting with the production of new ecologies and novel experiences of materiality, with a particular focus upon smart materials. Tom is also interested in considering the role of speculative philosophy in experimenting with these alternative material futures.

The seminar will be split into three main sections, beginning with a provocation and an overview of the new materialist critique. The second section is based around a speculative encounter with an IKEA superstore, conceptualised as an assemblage of nonhuman agencies. The third section introduces more recent work around the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, and considers the challenge of disrupting pervasive assumptions of mechanistic materialism.

Tom is a PhD student based in the Department of Geographical Sciences, at the University of Bristol, UK. His research is based around the ‘new materialist’ turn within social and political theory, with an emphasis on emerging technological processes. He is currently focusing on ‘post-mechanical’ imaginings, and the speculative projects required to render these futures think-able.


When: 22.01.13 // 17:00 – 18:00
Where: Chair for CAAD, HPZ Floor F