Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2014. 140 pages, illus. ISBN-13: 978-0-615-95666-4. DOI: 10.21983/P3.0077.1.00. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $33.00 in print: paperbound/8.27 X 9.84 in.


Distinct from the norm. Distinct even from the academic norm. Twice removed the para-academic is doubly unwanted. The ones you have trained are set loose and they know your secrets. They are pests and they want to be armed.

Weaponising Speculation

This book contains the proceedings from Weaponising Speculation, a two-day conference and exhibition that took place in Dublin in March 2013. Weaponising Speculation was organised by D.U.S.T. (Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought) and aimed to be an exploration of the various expressions of DIY theory operative in the elsewheres, the shafts and tunnels of the para-academy. The topics covered all come under the welcoming embrace of speculation, spanning a broad range: from art, philosophy, nature, fiction, and computation to spiders, culinary cosmology, and Oscar the Grouch. The book itself aims to be more than just a collection of essays and catalogue of artworks, but also a documentation of the event as a whole. An object that both those present at the event and those who missed it would want to own — bringing something new to both sets of readers.

The range of topics covered in this collection, along with the added elements of design and photography, result in a book that appeals beyond the (para)academic circle within which the Speculative Realist community currently resides. One of the original aims of the Weaponising Speculation conference, and by extension, the book, is to expand what might be considered the expected reach of the subject, bringing Speculation to a new audience — artists, designers, fans of fiction, photographers, biologists, film theorists, comedians, culinary artists, illustrators, computer programmers, and individuals from any number of fields.

Before the storms the para-academic needs to equip herself. Not only with tools, but weapons. In this way this collection is not only a book to read, an object to own, or a tool for learning, but a weapon with which to break open academic discourse, to invade and conquer as yet unknown territory, and to aid thinkers in the siege to reclaim the real.


Continental Realism and Computation: Turing’s Propaganda — Robert Jackson

A Seductive Union: Speculative Realism and Contemporary Art — Rebecca O’ Dwyer

Objects, Actors and Sites of Contingency — Alice Rekab

Taken from/Put in Oscar’s Bin — Sam Keogh

How to Make Space-Time and Influence People — Isabel Nolan

‘[os mentis] mouth to mouth’ with Nicola Masciandaro — MOUTH

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: Speculation — Ridvan Askin

All That is Liquid Melts into Solid — John Ryan

Mutant: Infiltration of the Hallucinated Mountain — Rob Murphy

The Fossils of Sensation — Alan Boardman

restless tongues expending into rest — Teresa Gillespie

House of Sheaves: The Asymptotic Horror of Nested Nature — Ben Woodard

Spider Universe: Weaponising Phobia in Bataille, Nietzsche, Spinoza — Scott Wilson

+ ARTWORKS by John Ryan, Rob Murphy, Alice Rekab, Andy Weir, Teresa Gillespie, Alan Boardman, and Ciara McMahon

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