Making things public : atmospheres of democracy / edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel.

by Latour, BrunoLooking glass; Weibel, PeterLooking glass.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. ; MIT, 2005.Description: 1071 pages : illustrations (chiefly colour) ; 25 cm.ISBN: 0262122790; 9780262122795.Subject(s): Political science -- PhilosophyLooking glass | Representation (Philosophy)Looking glassNote: Published in conjunction with the exhibition held at the ZKM, Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, 20 March-3 October 2005.Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Long loan Camberwell College of Arts
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Printed books 321.8 LAT (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 06/12/2021 34593454
Long loan Central Saint Martins
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Printed books 320.01 LAT (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 22268049
Long loan Chelsea College of Arts
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Printed books 320.01 MAK (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 06/09/2021 54017104
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Another monumental ZKM publication, redefining politics as a concern for things around which the fluid and expansive constituency of the public gathers; with contributions by more than 100 writers and artists. In this groundbreaking editorial and curatorial project, more than 100 writers, artists, and philosophers rethink what politics is about. In a time of political turmoil and anticlimax, this book redefines politics as operating in the realm of things. Politics is not just an arena, a profession, or a system, but a concern for things brought to the attention of the fluid and expansive constituency of the public. But how are things made public? What, we might ask, is a republic, a res publica, a public thing, if we do not know how to make things public? There are many other kinds of assemblies, which are not political in the usual sense, that gather a public around things ...

Published in conjunction with the exhibition held at the ZKM, Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, 20 March-3 October 2005.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction
  • From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public (p. 14)
  • Excerpt: Jonathan Swift on the Difficulty of Talking with Objects (p. 44)
  • 1 Assembling or Disassembling?
  • A Palaver at Tutuila Samoa, 1883. Two Photographs by Captain William A.D. Acland (p. 48)
  • No Politics Please (p. 54)
  • On Small Devices of Thought. Concepts, Etymology and the Problem of Translation (p. 58)
  • WAI 262. A Maori "Cultural Property" Claim (p. 64)
  • "This Is Not a Facade" (p. 70)
  • An Election in Papua New Guinea (p. 86)
  • Diplomats without Portfolios. The Question of Contact with Extraterrestrial Civilizations (p. 90)
  • 2 Which Cosmos for Which Cosmopolitics?
  • Divisionem sententiae postulare. Self-laceration (p. 100)
  • Good and Bad Government: Siena and Venice (p. 108)
  • Sky, Heaven and the Seat of Power (p. 120)
  • The Pantheon of Brains (p. 126)
  • Transforming Things. Art and Politics on the Northwest Coast (p. 132)
  • "Our Government as Nation". Sir Benjamin Stone's Parliamentary Pictures (p. 142)
  • Excerpt: John Dewey on the Pragmatist Good Government (p. 156)
  • 3 The Problem of Composition
  • Composing the Body Politic. Composite Images and Political Representation, 1651-2004 (p. 162)
  • Seeing Double. How to Make Up a Phantom Body Politic (p. 196)
  • JJ (p. 203)
  • Reflections on a Table (p. 204)
  • Excerpt: William Shakespeare on the Parable of the Members and the Belly (p. 206)
  • Issues Spark a Public into Being. A Key But Often Forgotten Point of the Lippmann-Dewey Debate (p. 208)
  • Mission Impossible. Giving Flesh to the Phantom Public (p. 218)
  • InterSections/ZKM. A Project (p. 224)
  • Freedom for Music! Intuition and the Rule (p. 228)
  • Classes, Masses, Crowds. Representing the Collective Body and the Myth of Direct Knowledge (p. 234)
  • Excerpt: Thomas Hobbes on Leviathan (p. 246)
  • 4 From Objects to Things
  • Of Althings! (p. 250)
  • Thing Site, Tie, Ting Place. Venues for the Administration of Law (p. 260)
  • Heidegger on Objects and Things (p. 268)
  • Excerpt: Martin Heidegger on the Etymology of "Thing" (p. 272)
  • Heidegger and the Atomic Bomb (p. 274)
  • 100 Suns. Military Photography Collected by Michael Light (p. 276)
  • Things as Res publicae. Making Things Public (p. 280)
  • Things Chinese: On wu (p. 290)
  • Dewey's Transactions. From Sense to Common Sense (p. 292)
  • 5 From Laboratory to Public Proofs
  • Public Experiments (p. 298)
  • Disabled Persons of All Countries, Unite! (p. 308)
  • Public Evaluation and New Rules for "Human Parks" (p. 314)
  • Circulations. A Virtual Laboratory and Its Elements (p. 320)
  • Things under Water. E.J. Marey's Aquarium Laboratory and Cinema's Assembly (p. 326)
  • Wall of Science (p. 332)
  • Making Electrons Public (p. 334)
  • "Actions of Interest" in Surgical Simulators (p. 338)
  • Making Collaboration Networks Visible (p. 342)
  • Making Science and Technology Results Public. A Sociology of Demos (p. 346)
  • 6 "The Great Pan Is Dead!"
  • Viva la Republica Cosmica! or The Children of Humboldt and Coca-Cola (p. 352)
  • Excerpt: Karl Polanyi on Dogs Eat Dogs or the Fable of Sociobiology (p. 358)
  • "Sheep Do Have Opinions" (p. 360)
  • Wolves in the Valley. On Making a Controversy Public (p. 370)
  • About Pigs (p. 380)
  • Chicken for Shock and Awe: War on Words (p. 384)
  • What Is It Like to Be Face to Face with a Great Ape? (p. 388)
  • The Obelisks of Stockholm (p. 396)
  • Coastal Environment Made Public. Notes from the Field (p. 398)
  • 7 Reshuffling Religious Assemblies
  • Reforming the Assembly (p. 404)
  • Arguing with Heretics? Colloquiums, Disputations and Councils in the Sixteenth Century (p. 434)
  • Dominican Constitutions (p. 444)
  • Interfaith Celebrations, a New Rite? (p. 448)
  • An Assembly of Humans, Shells and Gods (p. 454)
  • 8 The Parliaments of Nature
  • Galileo's Traveling Circus of Science (p. 460)
  • Rhine Streaming (p. 474)
  • River Sentinels. Finding a Mouth for the Lot River (p. 478)
  • Water Parliaments: Some Examples (p. 482)
  • River Landscaping in Second Modernity (p. 486)
  • The Lottery of the Sea. A Film in Progress (p. 492)
  • The Path of Milk (p. 494)
  • Milky Way (p. 497)
  • Excerpt: Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar (p. 500)
  • 9 Which Assembly for Those Assemblages?
  • The Detroit Industry Murals. Diego Rivera (1886-1957) (p. 504)
  • The Politics of Water. A Dutch Thing to Keep the Water Out or Not (p. 512)
  • A Building Is a "Multiverse" (p. 530)
  • The Architectural Thing. The Making of "Making Things Public" (p. 536)
  • The Glory of Tournai (p. 540)
  • Who Is Minding the Bridges? (A Personal Inquiry) (p. 548)
  • 10 Follow the Paper-Trails
  • The Common Place of Law. Transforming Matters of Concern into the Objects of Everyday Life (p. 556)
  • Public International Indigenes (p. 566)
  • The People of Karlsruhe. Jochen Gerz's Constitutional Rights Square (p. 574)
  • The Notebook: A Paper-Technology (p. 582)
  • Removing Knowledge (p. 590)
  • Blocking Things Public (p. 600)
  • The Image, between Res privata and Res communis (p. 602)
  • 11 What's Political in Political Economy?
  • An Artificial Being (p. 614)
  • The Stock Ticker (p. 622)
  • Listening to the Spread Plot (p. 628)
  • This Announcement Appears as a Matter of Record Only! Notes on The New Germany Found Inc / Universalia Non Realia Sed Nomina (p. 634)
  • Releasing Market Statistics (p. 638)
  • Capitalism Cartograms and World Government (p. 642)
  • Publicizing Goldilocks' Choice at the Supermarket. The Political Work of Shopping Packs, Carts and Talk (p. 646)
  • The Creators of the Shopping Worlds (p. 660)
  • Cuddly / We Are the Children (p. 661)
  • The Parliament of Fashion (p. 662)
  • Questions of Taste (p. 670)
  • 12 The Political Aesthetic of Reason
  • Hard Facts (p. 680)
  • Paint/Print/Public (p. 686)
  • The Evidence of Phryne, or Phryne Stripped Bare by Rhetoric Even (p. 694)
  • Humanization of Knowledge Through the Eye (p. 698)
  • Democratic Socialism, Cybernetic Socialism. Making the Chilean Economy Public (p. 708)
  • Science in the Age of Sensibility (p. 722)
  • Political Aesthetics. Image and Form in Contemporary Dutch Spatial Politics (p. 726)
  • Public Experiments. On Several Productions of Bertolt Brecht's "The Life of Galileo" (p. 734)
  • 13 Parliamentary Technologies
  • Re: Public (p. 746)
  • The Circle of Discussion and the Semicircle of Criticism (p. 754)
  • Excerpt: Abbe Sieyes on the Infinite Parliament (p. 770)
  • Stranded Bodies of Democracy. Cases from the Indian Himalayas (p. 772)
  • How to Make a Still Picture Speak and Walk. The Fabulous Destiny of a Gandhi Follower (p. 778)
  • Parliamentary Public (p. 786)
  • Designing the Agon. Questions on Architecture, Space, Democracy and "the Political" (p. 798)
  • Some Reflections on an Agonistic Approach to the Public (p. 804)
  • Centers Don't Have to Be Points. Politics beyond State Boundaries (p. 810)
  • Voting Machinery, Counting and Public Proofs in the 2000 US Presidential Election (p. 814)
  • Dark Source. Public Trust and the Secret at the Heart of the New Voting Machines (p. 828)
  • Spin. A Documentary on Political Media (p. 834)
  • Turning Public Discourse into an Authentic Artifact: Shorthand Transcription in the French National Assembly (p. 836)
  • The Power of Representation: Parliaments of North Africa and the Middle East (p. 844)
  • Legible Mob (p. 846)
  • 14 A Search for Eloquence
  • Excerpt: Jean de La Fontaine on the Power of Fables (p. 856)
  • Managing Evidence (p. 858)
  • Excerpt: Jonathan Swift on the Tricky Art of Conversation (p. 866)
  • Pindices (p. 872)
  • Communiculture (p. 874)
  • BEcomING COLLECTIVE. The Constitution of Audience as an Interactional Process (p. 876)
  • Excerpt: Bertolt Brecht on How Dictators Learn Their Rhetoric from Shakespeare (p. 884)
  • The Chorus in Opera. Concocting Common Sense (p. 886)
  • Getting Together in Cinema (p. 894)
  • Narrative Device IV (p. 898)
  • Borderdevice(s) (p. 900)
  • What Is a Body / a Person? Topography of the Possible (p. 906)
  • Fair Assembly (p. 910)
  • Blogs. The New Public Forum - Private Matters, Political Issues, Corporate Interests (p. 916)
  • Recipe for Tracing the Fate of Issues and Their Publics on the Web (p. 922)
  • The Chronofile-Society (p. 936)
  • 15 New Political Passions?
  • Atmospheric Politics (p. 944)
  • Instant Democracy: The Pneumatic Parliament (p. 952)
  • I Am a Revolutionary, 2001 / Everything You've Heard Is Wrong (p. 958)
  • Lungs: Slave Labour (p. 960)
  • Allegories of the Political (p. 962)
  • MapHub: HEARD and MapMover (p. 964)
  • Agonistics: A Language Game (p. 966)
  • The Fate of Art in the Age of Terror (p. 970)
  • The Trials of the World - a Fiction (p. 978)
  • Still Life (p. 982)
  • The Tragedy of Minamata. Sit-in and Face-to-Face Discussion (p. 988)
  • The Cosmopolitical Proposal (p. 994)
  • Excerpt: Herman Melville on Bartleby and the Limit of All Politics (p. 1004)
  • Conclusion
  • Art and Democracy (p. 1008)
  • Inserts
  • Elisabeth Bronfen: The Birth of the Glamourous Star as an Optical Illusion. Busby Berkeley's Dames (p. 1010)
  • CYKLOOP: The World's First Mobile Virtual-Reality Center (p. 1016)
  • Sebastian Fischer, Lasse Scherffig, Hans H. Diebner: EyeVisionBot (p. 1017)
  • Yoann Le Claire: Fabien Lerat, Theatre (p. 1022)
  • Jenny Marketou: Flying Spy Potatoes: Mission 21st Street, NYC (p. 1032)
  • Appendix
  • Works in the Exhibition (p. 1042)
  • Biographies of the Authors (p. 1051)
  • Index (p. 1058)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


This thick tome is intended for a bookshelf: it is too heavy for a coffee table. The title and subtitle make clear the book's intention. Most of the essays--mostly postmodernist, mostly by Europeans--are exceedingly short (several pages at most). But the book itself, at more than a thousand pages, is quite long. It is packed with striking and arresting images, though their relevance is often sideways. Some of the essays, such as that by Noortje Marres on the Walter Lippman-John Dewey debate, are excellent. Dewey, in fact, figures more prominently than one might expect, probably in part because he was the preeminent exponent of democracy in America in the 20th century. In fact, the book--insofar as it has a unifying theme--celebrates "making things public," but sees that the American pragmatic approach is often facile, hiding more than it reveals (hence the subtitle). Here Latour's lengthy introductory essay emphasizing insights from Heidegger is well worth reading. There are indeed many short essays worth reading, but this work is one to be dipped into from time to time--not read straight through or with the thought that the unifying themes are systematic. Summing Up: Recommended. Large public libraries; general readers. H. Oberdiek Swarthmore College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Bruno LaTour was born in the French province of Burgundy, where his family has been making wine for many generations. He was educated in Dijon, where he studied philosophy and Biblical exegesis. He then went to Africa, to complete his military service, working for a French organization similar to the American Peace Corps. While in Africa he became interested in the social sciences, particularly anthropology.

LaTour believes that through his interests in philosophy, theology, and anthropology, he is actually pursuing a single goal, to understand the different ways that truth is built. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LaTour has written about the philosophy and sociology of science in an original, insightful, and sometimes quirky way. Works that have been translated to English include The Pasteurization of France; Laboratory Life; Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society; We Have Never Been Modern; and Aramis, or the Love of Technology.

LaTour is a professor at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation, a division of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, in Paris.

(Bowker Author Biography)