Free and open to the public
Reception to follow the talk
In this public talk, Karen Barad diffractively reads insights from quantum theory and Kyoko Hayashi’s first-hand accounts of Nagasaki bombing through one another, bringing to the fore a troubling of scalar distinctions between the world of subatomic particles and that of colonialism, war, and environmental destruction. Attempting to think through what possibilities remain open for an embodied re-membering of the past against the colonialist practices of erasure and the related desire to set time aright, Barad calls for a certain undoing of time, a work of mourning accountable to those most profoundly affect by ongoing ecological destruction and by racist, colonialist, and nationalist violence, human and otherwise. This task is related to rethinking the notion of the void. Against its Newtonian interpretation as the absence of matter and energy, as that which does not matter and thus works to justify colonial occupation, Barad argues that the QFT void is a spectral domain where life and death are originarily entangled, and inanimate matter itself gives itself to be thought in its mortal finitude. The void is rather the yearning and the imagining of what might have been, and thus also the infinitely rich ground of imagining possibilities for living and dying otherwise.