“Philosophy in the Wild: Listening to Things in Baltimore,” Jane Bennett and Alex Livingston, in Scapegoat: Landscape/Architecture/PoliticalEconomy , January 2012
This was a very interesting piece. I recognize the sensation of ‘materialist wonder’ over things like wild trash in Baltimore. I also sometimes get this sense of awe when I’m walking or biking around Baltimore, especially the dirtier or more decayed parts. I agree with these authors that this sensation of wonder arises from a direct confrontation with the agency of history/materiality, even when it pertains to human creations.
At the same time, I think we have to be careful not to sensationalize poor urban conditions–to remember that there are humans living with these conditions. While reading this article, I sometimes got the sense that things like meth addicts in Hampden or the ‘highway to nowhere’ become fetishized through this philosophy of materialist wonder, if that makes any sense.