I FEEL that whispering from my left as I sit in the audience of a conference panel. “The word system feels so cold to me,” offers the person sitting next to me in rumination. Sibilant /es/ in my ear instead triggers a sudden involuntary counter-sensation of WARMTH for /es/system. Insistent memories of Batesons, of peopling cybernetics among stories and experiences with plants and animals, at the ocean’s edge, all pile on.

Dispersed, diffracted in time and being, people can FEEL as boundary objects, focusing and defocusing. I approach someone I have talked to many times before at this conference, with appreciations for her memories across a range of feminist interventions in science and technology, and she assures me with asperity that she has absolutely no idea who I am.

(But then, just how recognizable am I really? I admit that with type 2 diabetes my body in time and beings dilates: I spread out and in with pounds added and lost in “intensive managements,” as lipid-metabolism engages those complex /es/systems among gut microflora coming and going, hormonal and digestive communications, food environments today and perhaps in my grandparents’ generation, epigenetic methylation at different lag-times, and more.)



We use boundary objects, are caught up in them, and even are them. This talk GATHERS as boundary objects, pulling together, and /es/systeming. Don’t worry, I will say more about just what boundary objects are, but first, let’s feel them out a bit, pay attention to how they play and gather together.

“How do you entangle design, science, fact and fiction in order to create this practice called ‘design fiction’ that, hopefully, provides different, undisciplined ways of envisioning new kinds of environments, artifacts and practices?” asks fellow History of Consciousness scholar, artist and technologist Julian Bleecker about ten years ago now.  He goes on to say, “Design Fiction is making things that tell stories.” (Bleecker 2005+) Making, things, stories. Close to a decade later, these are thoroughly entangled with vibrating particularisms for even more practices and worlds than Bleecker likely intended, and with, maybe, different intentions, ones not easy to sort. Emergently /es/systemed.



My own very modest versions of such entanglements, such makings, things, stories, sometimes begin with the websites I create for talks nowadays. The web is now my sandbox for play, trial and error, permutation and mistakes. Thoroughly altered myself by technological infrastructures, processes, and cognitive reassembly, when I share my work, I tend to do so as a kind of transmedia story, and I care about this, even as I also notice that transmedia’s origins are commercial and suspect, and as I notice that social critique and social panic are only too often entangled among our webbing worlds. These are among the very conditions of making knowledge today for sure. (King 2011) Both you and I, knowingly or without reflection, gather and pin together such stories across media, platforms, sensory channels, and forms of sharing.

You can find my talk online at the website pictured here, which also works on a smart phone. There you can follow along with the slides if you want, and find handouts, bibliography and other resources for later use. Tabs on this website lead you to other talksites, an online publication, a pinterest board of these, everything a bit too cute perhaps, none of it innocent or exemplary.


And working as a transdisciplinary scholar is also tricky. One can take neither authors nor audiences, nor especially citation pools for granted. And no proper question is actually answered by saying you should have read what I have read. In that spirit I share what I am actively learning myself. I assume here that we all have differential and on-going knowledges, that these each take up its own range of details, and that we hope to companion well. Not assuming we all already know each other, I often characterize personal names briefly, just sharing my feel for connection.

One of the talksite tabs offers one sort of bibliography for materials mentioned in the talk and used on handouts.

As I prepare to come here to talk, share, gather with you, I seek out some clues for your and my contexts that will shape how we will take what each other says, but there is never enough information or maybe time to know that really. I’m doing a lot of guessing to be somewhat attuned to these, but also have to be willing to just not know, to feel a bit vulnerable.

And I also know that audiences of all kinds today are in the middle of actively diverging: in practices as well as being unpredictable in their circulations and ranges. Indeed, “author-ness” and its responsibilities to authorship and authority are dispersed, distributed, mixing up many collectives, many knowledge worlds, playing among and as boundary objects whether they know it or not. What can be taken for granted? What would best be explained? Which contexts need to be fleshed out? How many worlds do we all gather here simultaneously? What do we assume are the most urgent issues and things to care about and with? Who and what facilitates movement among worlds? (Anzaldúa 2002)

These are some of the complex /es/systems I care about.



Fifteen years ago and more,  US Chicana feminist theorist, another History of Consciousness scholar, Chela Sandoval, had experiences in the sectarian struggles among US feminisms, women of color politics, and international anti-imperialisms that inspired her to synthesize what she called a methodology of the oppressed. (Sandoval 2000, 2002) She thickened her workings with linguistic worm-holes opening out to differential knowledge worlds, using such terms as “radical semiotics” (that a gateway to post-structuralist enfoldings with decolonization), “la facultad” (a term from and for theorist and poet of borderlands, Gloria Anzaldúa, indicating those sensory triggers that cut through realities), and “signifyin’” (an edgy, gaming practice of outdoing others in verbal pushback, theorized by African-American intellectual entrepreneur Henry Louis Gates Jr.). (Anzaldúa 1987:38-9, Gates 1988)

In the US, a country that all too often aspires to a rigid monolingualism that it can ever really instantiate Sandoval’s use of each term is simultaneously • a violation of that standardization that some actually believe is more equal, and also • a companion in gatherings that are not simple or easy, that do not exactly cohere or consort well, that cannot ever be proper representations of … what? Only and especially worm-holes to worlds, these differential details really do matter urgently. These terms, worlds, companions must also somehow “learn,” that is to say emergently sensitize and attune among new cognitive and political circumstances, in and as their very moments of unknowing, when ethical and moral sortings are properly in flux, in that state Anzaldúa and others call nepantla. (Sandoval 2002; Anzaldúa 1987; Law 2013; Keating 2013; Latour 1993, 2004)



A different person’s negative sensitivities to “systems” finds its energy, unwhispered, in opposition to enclosures, hierarchical and bounded. That referent this friend works hard with others to falsify since we keep discovering just how literal is our many being-ness in multiply embedded sorts of biomic SYMPOIESIS. (Dempster 2000, 2002; Haraway, 2011, 2011, 2013; Gilbert 2012; McFall-Ngai 2013; Myers 2014; Puig de la Bellacasa forthcoming)

This friend and I share concerns for many being-ness, however differentially we work this feeling-in-the-mouth /es/system, and even though, or even BECAUSE, that word-as-world is thoroughly inhabited for each of us with and by alternate and overlapping peoples, memories, attunements, citation pools, histories, communities of practice, knowledges, ocean and freshwater “edges.”

Her context-sensitive pushback is with and against the feel-in-the-mouth of “autopoiesis.” SYM & AUTO, with and self. This sort of pushback is how I understand Chela Sandoval to animate “oppositional consciousness.” Making and making WITH all these differentials of detail, grain of analysis, groundings are leads into great stories. In fact Donna Haraway and I (for this is she, professor of History of Consciousness) first bonded over comparing our experiences with formative teachers, hers with limnologist and theoretical ecologist Evelyn Hutchinson and mine with polymathic cyberneticist Gregory Bateson. Hutchinson and Bateson were friends and together part of the Macy Conferences, in which, one might claim, complex /es/systems were newly made among transdisciplinary stories, and certainly these were never innocent.

And when I say “we” keep discovering many being-ness who is this we? What many beings gather together, and when does it matter? Bateson famously said that in “the pronoun we, I of course included the starfish and the redwood forest, the segmenting egg, and the Senate of the United States.” (Bateson, 1979:4)

When just last week the US Republican House of Representatives voted against funding to punish the military for analyzing and planning for climate change, how “we” matters took a particular turn, one inward and outward. One that, with turns to the right also throughout Europe, and elsewhere, cries out for oppositional consciousness as Sandoval lives with that term, tinkering with or befriending its variations, uses, relays and travels over its onto-ethico-epistemologies, spacetimematterings…. (Barad 2010 Quantum; 2012 Touching; 2012 Nothingness; 2012 Interview)



“The coral reefs are dying!” urges Rex Weyler, cofounder of Greenpeace at “An Ecology of Ideas,” a joint conference of the American Society for Cybernetics and the Bateson Idea Group at Asilomar, California, July 2012. A breathtaking projection of marine life around a coral reef takes up the wall behind him. “I’ve been saying this for twenty years; what will it take for people to do something? How do we talk about this so people will listen?"

In terms of affective arousal, conscious and non-conscious, just how well equipped are humans, let us say neurologically, to differentiate among their own personal deaths anticipated, other sorts of deaths experienced directly and empathetically, deaths of species including our own, and irreversible planetary damage? (Bateson 1979:98) What conditions our/my responses, abilities to respond, and our responsibility? I know personally local activists utterly disheartened after full time years-long efforts at education, household restructurings at some sacrifice, policy, legal, and legislative action, or attempts at such, in the face of what they and many scientists believe are irreversible tipping points of /es/systemic interactions on our planet. What does all their and our work to live the questions mean in the face of “The Koch Club,” that is to say, the conscientious power by fossil fuel magnates Charles and David Koch to fund members of Congress in the US to pledge to vote against climate change legislation, holding it hostage for tax cuts, austerity, defunding government? Responses. Abilities. Infrastructures. Distributed embodiments. /es/systeming?

Register such intensities and traumas: when do they become ends in themselves? All too crowded with affiliations, loyalties, essential truths? Eschatology, the study of end-times, companions a paradoxically long history in human attention. And humans are often precariously enduring on the planet, and have threatened its existence before. (I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis myself, and we might well have ended then. This fear motivated much of Bateson’s work for example. See Childs 2012; Bateson 1979:98, 174) Belief and disbelief, really perhaps memberships and belongings, stagger between climate change publics, amid money behind global restructurings, and even, say, together with feminist juggling acts and territories, amid objects, new materialisms, and communities of practice. In his desire for “simplicity not complexity” Weyler talks about “aligning the way we think with the way nature behaves” and attributes this solution to Gregory Bateson at one pitch of understanding. All this matters for flourishing. But how? Can simplicity and complexity befriend each other?



When I told friends afterward that California Governor Jerry Brown showed up at the Asilomar conference to tell stories about conversations with Bateson during Brown’s first term in office in the mid-seventies, their disgust was vocal. Governor “Moonbeam” then is now in my own circles usually thought of a failed progressive, facilitating redevelopment of Oakland after the nineties, implementing laws he disagreed with under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Attorney General in his administration, and known for both budget cuts and tax hikes during a current third term as Governor. Austerity and restructuring of the University of California’s system on his watch delegitimize Brown today for progressives for whom he was even an exciting Presidential option in the seventies, when “an era of limits” meant both environmental controls and also reining in of the oil industry, of free trade agreements, and of big money in elections.

Yet his and others’ dispersed, diffracted presences are oddly precise if seemingly paradoxical indicators of ambitions for a conference very much intended by organizers to participate in building collectives that care widely as well as precisely about what flourishing on earth now means. Brown’s reminisces were part of the opening of the conference with the film “An Ecology of Mind, a daughter's portrait of Gregory Bateson.” Nora Bateson introduced him, the conference and her film, leading discussion afterwards as she usually does nowadays when she travels internationally to germinate communities for action and deliberation, often initiated by but not limited to her father’s work. Diffracted then is “Bateson” too: over seventy-six years researcher and paradigm setter, writer and guru, inspiration to some and problem for others, new age icon, family member, colleague, badly recorded traces on film: at Asilomar “Bateson,” with and extended by Batesons in the plural, worked hard and across time for understandings, even coordinations of complex /es/systems both intelligible and rigorous. Asilomar was crowded, indeed haunted (as physicist Karen Barad uses the term in a 2010 essay for Derrida Today) by selves dispersed through time and being, touching and being touched. Appropriately arrayed then as a version of Barad & Donna Haraway’s diffractive methodology. (Barad 2009; Haraway 1997) (Today and in 1975, Barad and Bateson respectively gather for participation in and with 
the/a History of Consciousness.)

What sort of gathering can happen with and among “being” across so many worlds, and yet again, so few too? What sort of conversation is this and can it be a good in itself? What is everything and everyone doing as they non-consciously assume worlds, worlds haunting every moment and every act of affiliating and disaffiliating? I enthusiastically ran up to someone after their talk at Asilomar to suggest that we were doing something similar, only to receive through a strong involuntary nonverbal jolt just how powerfully insulting the very idea felt. And I found myself having already fastidiously pulled apart from someone in public performance, shamed by this reaction already done if neither wished for nor intended, uncertain what was called for in amends. Just how much of this is about response/ability? loyalty? about critique as political or intellectual engagement or dissociation? Is it even okay to notice? (And I remember Gregory Bateson slyly joking about this exact sort of thing.) Complex /es/systems do not respond well to quick fixes, outrages, or group loyalties and yet are also made with all of these too.


“Transcontextual tangles” is a phrase attributed to Gregory Bateson and taken up by US sociologist Susan Leigh Star and her co-authors to formulate and discuss “boundary objects.” (Bowker & Star 1999; Star & Ruhleder 1996; Star 2010) Boundary objects are workaround things, concepts, processes, even routines that permit coordination, sometimes collaboration, without consensus (non-conscious and conscious). Arising from transcontextual tangles (often these are felt as paradoxical double binds ranging from the benign to the abusive), they work tanglings amid states of resolution. Boundary objects have a recursive lifespan during which their generality and their precision are relative, relational, and dynamic simultaneously. They are local, supralocaling, and global in material topologies in which spacetimenatureculture may be mixed (hybridized certainly, I wonder when even quite technically “entangled”) as they can be paradoxically both figurative and literal, abstract and concrete, developmental yet transtemporal. Recursions, sometime unfolding, sometimes I speculate enfoldings, “made through one another,” transdisciplinary demonstrations of themselves: boundary objects matter and boundary objects help us question with, rather than assume, ourselves amid apparatus in boundary making practices. Paradox has important labors here.



I hang out with nepantleras, “those who facilitate passage between worlds,” both people, and actually lots of objects. Identified by Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldúa, those who work with nepantla then are associated “with states of mind that question old ideas and beliefs, acquire new perspectives, change worldviews, and shift from one world to another.” (Anzaldúa 2002:1)

Nepantleras – including the so-called wizards or gurus of technology organizations – because they live in “enough worlds at the same time,” in the words of technoscience theorist Lucy Suchman, are folks with a feel for such work-arounds in ranges. (Suchman & Scharmer 1999) They practice systems coordination and facilitate the work-arounds of collaboration, often through agential cuts and connections with and across boundary objects. Boundary objects don’t create boundaries, they work to keep boundaries from getting in the way of collaboration. They can ignore or even miss that there are boundaries about, or they can honor boundaries, that is to say, differences that should be honored, without being stuck there. They may help us in transcontextual circumstances: moving from one context to another, one world to another, one set of knowledges to another. But these are never innocent makings or movements.

Star tells a story about tangles and miscommunication among makings, things, stories, at the heart of her initial understanding of boundary objects: her story begins among users and developers and objects attempting to create and work out a technical interface. “As I delved deeper into the relations between developers and users, it became clear that a kind of communicative tangle was occurring. I used the work of Gregory Bateson, who had studied these sorts of communicative mishaps under the heading of ‘double binds.’ As with Bateson’s work on schizophrenics, and what he called ‘the transcontextual syndrome,’ the messages that were coming at level one from the systems developers were not being heard on that level by the users and vice versa. What was obvious to one was a mystery to another. What was trivial to one was a barrier to another. Yet, clarifying this was never easy…. I began to see this as a problem of infrastructure – and its relative nature.” (Star 2010:610; Bateson 1972:276)

Boundary objects, all these participate with nepantleras, not necessarily just to facilitate moving among worlds, but sometimes even to augment making their realities: to learn and demonstrate how to be affected or moved, how to open up and create unexpected elements of one’s own embodiments in lively and re-sensitizing worlds. (Despret 2004; Latour 2004)


Among my transcontextual habitats are these sites where people, objects, animals, ecological processes, academic restructurings, and scales of injustice unfold, enfold, indeed are made through one another, as I find myself to be a coordination artifact among complex /es/systems. The Asilomar conference at which Weyler spoke was also the place where my friend cognitive linguist Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson demonstrated just how it is that fluctuation, entrainment, and blocked synchrony pressure a range of “biological coordinations” among complex /es/systems. He did this by using stop-action multimedia of the British rock group Queen at Live Aid Wembley (UK) 1985. Seeing and hearing lead singer Freddie Mercury initiate interactions with 72,000 people pointed up vividly just how this visual and acoustic guided coordination went through phases, moving from Mercury’s hands into new non-linear dynamics, /es/systems both combined and multiple simultaneously. THIS it turned out was MY “ah-ha” moment at the conference, not Wyler’s hardworking and urgent stories of beauty, death, and end-times. This was where MY feeling with, for, and as /es/system enlisted me into the collective for which climate change kept returning among papers, talks, and projects as a gathering point, even though that was not the object of this particular talk.


Stigmergy is the word I am using nowadays for that feeling of being in among and as the self-organizing bits that are /es/system-ing. Usually defined very mechanically as “indirect coordination,” it is a form of self-organization associated with insects, originally termites. Flash mobs and the political action of, say, the Occupy Movement are also named stigmergic. Boundary objects as a kind of collective consensus have stigmergic aspects.  But notice that I have shifted all this from mechanism to affect, from a description from the outside to feeling it all happening with. It was the affect of stigmergy triggered out of Vatikiotis-Bateson’s talk, not the extreme sports of beauty and death in Weyler’s, that worked to gather me among collectives addressing damage and flourishing, sympoiesis: keeping the world happening WITH.


Touch touching itself was my conference experience with “autopoiesis,” a term I and others have sometimes distastefully eschewed. Too “auto.” Too “mirroring” even though poiesis maybe smells more pungent, like a ripe compost. We get the term poetry from poiesis, a making or becoming, or even better maybe, an activity that keeps worlds happening. Nora Bateson’s film and work might be said to be poetic in these senses, eliciting companionships. Autopoiesis in second-order cybernetics is often nutshelled as “closed systems” or as “self-organization.” But it can also stand together with those paradoxes in which “operational closure” of a system is the very condition for both its multiple openings into environments and for its on-going development of new structures “within.” (Clarke 2009)

I was really curious to be in the same space with the person most identified with the term, eighty-six year old Humberto Maturana, someone I remembered Bateson speaking of warmly, and others, frankly, reverently. And then I experienced why. Translated, paced, elaborated together among Maturana, his partner Ximena Dávila, and their translator, Sebastián Gaggero, what can only be called “postulates” of autopoiesis were gathered with descriptions of their current practices in Chile, with what Dávila calls “liberating conversations.” Emergent from family counseling “in the face of cultural pain” these conversational practices are used now also for humanizing organization in Chilean corporations. I felt palpably in those moments many hauntings, among them political histories, intuited or imagined as well as recalled from my own knowledges then, and since added to. (I am one of those people who, for various reasons, apparently viscerally feels family and parent memories as my own, a phenomenon, perhaps a skill, that intertwines historical and personal biography, sometimes trauma, now studied neurologically as a feature of memory encoding. Another, perhaps quite technically so, “entanglement” of making, things, stories. King forthcoming.)

I found later verbal traces of these historical sensibilities in a 1996 memoir of this boundary object “autopoiesis” by then fifty-year old Francisco Varela, Maturana’s one time student, and collaborator since the 1960s. (Varela died only five years after this memoir’s publication.) Not just a word. A “notion,” a “conversation,” “in its strict sense, a theory of cellular organization,” a “phenomenon” able to affect knowledge, and talking about it “making a fold in history.” Varela recounts Maturana’s “intuitions,” their mutual dissatisfaction with information as if it were not biological, their attempts to come up with formulations that were “nonrepresentational,” "reformulating an orientation into an 'experimental epistemology,' a wonderful term introduced by [neurophysiologist Warren] McCulloch [in the 1940s]." And Varela’s retrospective placement of this boundary object as aligned “with something which only today [1996] appears more clearly configured in various fields of the human cultural endeavor and which I identify with the term ontological turn.” (Varela 2009 [1996]:62-3, 67, 74)


Varela’s memoir animated these word-worlds differently, differentially: violating some of my assumptions and expectations, activating memories, my own and those of others I had heard tell about them. Moved to wonder about the temporal range of some of these, at least in English, I turned to Google’s Ngram, a visualization of data digitized from scanning literally millions of books. (Michel 2011) English boundary objects “new materialism,” “ontological turn,” and itself, “boundary object” /es/systemed newly.

Close reading, an exegetical practice, one I have long partnered with for poetry, literature and philosophy, even religiously cared for one might say, has become harder as my eyes have aged and altered. I now have double-double vision with tissues over both maculas making it difficult for perceptual information to strike that sensitive spot without breaking up differently in each eye. And although my brain, over the course of each day, takes up new bits of work here, I nevertheless read now with difficulty, taking much more time, and with comprehension somewhat impaired. So I have taken to listening to books more often, the very sorts of books changing too as only certain books are easily available in audio format, although that too shifts literally day to day! I find myself practicing distant reading, such as here in Google’s traces across many books, a rescaling, perspective-shifting, lumping and splitting re/cut. Distant readings now upset nonconscious assumptions of representational accuracies: breaking up, newly topological, re-materializing.


And perhaps not as strangely as it feels, the work I’ve done for over thirty years companioning a term “writing technologies” has now taken an ontological turn too. Another topology has emergently included me in a new range of gatherings, one that re/cuts edges and turns out to need more worlds as it rescales perspectives and affective collections. In a design fiction, I now find a persuasion around living among complex /es/systems, in attunements just at the edge of apprehension. And all this has stirred up my memories of Bateson’s work, indeed affirmatively redesigning its “writings” among dispersed, diffracted, and emergent methods of attention.

Thus today I make that thing “writing” differently, its redesign another story of agential cuts, sensory technologies, worlds and words and ecologies:

• (very) roughly 5000 years ago in (at least) two segmenting ecologies on our planet humans messed around with some cognitive companions, each coordinating multiple agencies characteristically. • In Mesopotamia tiny clay token sheep were enclosed in clay envelopes with markings indicating what was inside. • In the Andes strings were wrapped around sticks and attached to a main cord. In the first case the favored sensory technology for making was molding and inscribing clay. Worlds set into motion from this sort of making eventually sustain what some consider “true writing”: that is to say, writing that companions preferentially with language. In the second case makings involved spinning plant and animal fiber and feeling, tying, and untying knots. Worlds set into motion there eventually sustain a different sort of writing, one said to be “without words,” instead preferentially coordinating actions and practices directly as their very ecologies. (Boone 1994; Schmandt-Besserat 2009; Salomon 2001, 2004; Urton 2003; Urton & Quilter 2002; Urton & Brezine 2003-)

The kind of “aboutness” redesigned here is not representational, not a way of keeping abstractions layered by logical type, but rather a kind of recursive relational agency, both “of” and “about” reciprocities in worldly processes.

Khipu, these Andean string recording devices that inspire this redesign fiction of writing, is well worth our speculative engagement today. Anthropologist Frank Salomon understands khipu in pairs worked as both • simulation devices knotted and unknotted in projection, planning, enactment and re-enactment; and also as • records of how things have happened, with whom, when, with what informational needs, and sometimes as agencies travelling worlds. (Solomon 276)

And these attune to Sandoval’s invocations of oppositional and differential consciousness. So many knowledge worlds to be worm-holed here. You can travel to some of them with me in other of my talksites on the web sharing work in progress on the khipu and (media)things. But for the moment here, let these speculations gather with stigmergy, recursive paradox, and a sympoiesis of boundary objects.


Boundary objects touch and store and perform differential details and agential cut/tings, details of understandings among mattering math and its “contexts within.” (Kirby, V. 2011) Leigh Star’s title for a last paper is both serious and funny, “This is Not a Boundary Object,” because the term itself as well as its many effects in coordination, works with paradox, keeps on generating, travels through communities of practice, is at times itself the subject of policing or the object policed as well as names that which can be policing and policed, works among the tacit, unconscious, entrained. Exactly not right here would be “if it means everything, it really means nothing,” the sort of response that signals when scale, paradox, confusion overwhelm cognitive schema and the response is a punitive parsimony of explanation, moral panic in media ecologies, or, nowadays, rationalizations of carbon faiths.


Punitive parsimonies of explanation have material effects today: climate change denial, over-simplications of complex /es/systems, pressures for social critique to travel as social panic, and when scale, paradox, confusion overwhelm cognitive schema; we can find ourselves retreating to political loyalties and belonging in search of trust.

And these agential cuts of in/determinacy are companions to Sandoval’s oppositional consciousness’ context sensitive workings with the urgent moment, our now of trial and error pushback, as well as her differential consciousness that worm-holes worlds, strategies, sectarianisms, and our stigmergic participations.

Differential consciousness consorts with boundary objects, as many sorting apparatus, reframings at varying grains of detail, each savoring textures of disciplinary and other precisions amid noncoherent and materializing logics.

I love how Karen Barad welcomes us to what she calls the full richness of the quantum theory as both a being and a doing. Agential cuts are connections. We gather as and with and alter apparatus and their cut/ings, altogether constitutive, agential. And we need all the experimental metaphysics and new materialisms we can get, and more, to go with and beyond human intention and systems of control as we gather now to minimize damage and maximize flourishing.


With Barad we care for in/determinacy. In other words, for the differential details various of us have spent lives working for, among “us.” Us means not only Bateson’s living patterns, from the starfish’s invertebrate radial symmetry to redwood cloning timelines to recursive epigenesis, mechanism and structure in a segmenting egg to those human affiliations of power and state and love that we could wish for in the Senate of the United States. “Us” gathers sympoietically too all these boundary objects storing and performing our details and affects and memories.