Member Profile

Aftab Mirzaei

Contributor, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

About Aftab

I am an interdisciplinary researcher and PhD student in the Science and Technology Studies program at York University, in Toronto. My research questions the anthropocene contemporary as a gaseous state and an ambience within which different matters—political, affective and substantial—condense. More specifically, I am interested in the feeling and experience of smart atmospheres, and new rhetorical situations which take shape amongst bodies, and smart objects, and environments. I hold an MA from York’s STS program, which I completed with a thesis on “How Data Matters and Comes to Have Matter.” Prior to this, I was a project manager and researcher in a technology lab which facilitated access to blocked social media channels for Iranian citizens.



Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

View all of Aftab's posts on Platypus: The CASTAC Blog.

Pockets: Reflections on the Anthropocene Campus Melbourne

Preface: this is the first in a series of posts by scholars who attended the Anthropocene Campus Melbourne, an event hosted in September by Deakin University as part of the larger Anthropocene Curriculum project. Over the four days of the Campus, 110 participants from 49 universities (plus several art institutions and museums) attended keynotes, art exhibits, fieldtrips, and workshops based around the theme of ‘the elemental’. In hindsight, the Anthropocene Campus Melbourne can be understood as a four-day attempt at bringing the Anthropocene, that curious container of hyperobjects, to our senses through the elemental. Lying far beyond our abilities of representation and resolution, hyperobjects are omnipresent objects or processes that permeate our lives, gripping us with and into their “always-already” (Morton 2013). Though abstract and planetary in scale, hyperobjects sometimes ooze into our fields of perception and lend parts of themselves to the senses. In what follows, I want to attune to the Anthropocenic oozing of the Campus, thinking through Kathleen Stewart’s evocative idea of ‘atmospheric attunements’ (2011) to examine three “pockets” within the event. Pockets, Stewart suggests, are space-time-places where potency, potentiality, and possibility flicker, while the impending reactions of matter and event charge the air. Pockets are made of intensities but also whispers and feelings, to be sensed in a “state of attention that is also an impassivity” (Stewart 2011, 446). Pockets are what happens at the interstices of embodiment and theory, a “space opening out of the charged rhythms of an ordinary” (Ibid, 447). By practising the (more...)