Skip navigation

Performing nonhuman language: ‘humaneity’ in Ron Athey’s Gifts of the Spirit: automatic writing

Performing nonhuman language: ‘humaneity’ in Ron Athey’s Gifts of the Spirit: automatic writing

Lammin, Hannah ORCID: 0000-0002-9752-9335 (2021) Performing nonhuman language: ‘humaneity’ in Ron Athey’s Gifts of the Spirit: automatic writing. In: Shakespeare, Steven, Malone, Niamh and Anderson, Gary, (eds.) Art Disarming Philosophy: Non-philosophy and Aesthetics. Performance Philosophy . Rowman and Littelfield, London, UK, pp. 49-74. ISBN 9781538147467 ; 9781538147474

[img] PDF (Author's accepted manuscript (AAM))
33990_LAMMIN_Performing_nonhuman_language.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (239kB) | Request a copy


This chapter explores non-philosophy as a practice of language, by examining how linguistic enunciations are grounded differently in philosophical, scientific and aesthetic contexts, and then showing how non-philosophy performs such enunciations in a new way—suspending the philosophical presupposition that language, as logos, constitutes the Being of things, and instead enacting a nonhuman subject of speech that is indiffer-ent to ontological foundations. It takes as a key reference Laruelle’s essay ‘The Tran-scendental Computer: A Non-Philosophical Utopia’ (2005), which explores the relation of conscious thought to artificial intelligence—complicating the (philosophical) distinction between thought and computation, whilst also asserting that non-philosophy cannot be automated. In order to render the ideas in Laruelle’s discussion sensible, the chapter will take two instances of nonhuman linguistic creation as material: Alan Turing’s ‘abstract machine’ (1950), and Ron Athey’s performance work Gifts of the Spirit: Automatic Writing (2011). Both Turing and Athey offer a model for language that is grounded in its performance; however, I argue that Athey’s automatic writing machine ultimately comes closer to realising the stranger-subject of non-philosophical thinking. Thus, by reading Athey’s work alongside Laruelle, the chapter aims to explain the latter’s notions of ‘humaneity’ and the ‘performed-without-performation’, and to demonstrate how aesthetic practice can help us to underdetermine the philosophico-scientific domination of thought.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Laruelle, non-philosophy, Turing test, performance philosophy, Ron Athey, natural language processing, artificial intelligence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 15:02

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics