All posts by henschke

art vs science / theory vs experiment - everything dissolves in the lab



“An sich Eingestellt”: Enframed in itself.

This term is derived from the Kantian quote “An sich zerstreut” (see post below). However, the essential change is the term “Gestell”, meaning a Framework or Enframing. German Philosopher Martin Heidegger used this term to define the essential aspect of contemporary science and technology. Technology enframes nature in order to draw out or “challenge forth” phenomena in a way that such phenomena is not simply being, it is always used for something else, forced into the framework – for example when a river is turned into a dam or when pitchblende ore is turned into enriched uranium. Embedded within the framework, in a state of “standing reserve”, nature and indeed us are basically raw materials used to serve technology-driven society, or perhaps society is used to power and run the technology – the framework encompasses all of us. As Tasmanian philosopher Jeff Malpas told me, a key aspect of Heidegger’s Gestell is “its character as essentially spatialising, numericizing, and quantising – and its  inability to recognise or acknowledge its own boundedness.”

What is interesting and disturbing about Metal Organic Frameworks in light of this is that the “framework” now extends to the molecular – MOFs are engineered to both conceptually and literally enframe matter. And when something enframes itself, both externally and from within, it consumes itself, like the Ouroboros (see “Benzene dream” post below).

Heidegger’s essay “The Question Concerning Technology” can be found here.

the heart of the matter


How does one get to the heart of the MOF? How can one converse with the MOFverse? How can one a produce unique MOF phenomena, or kind of perceivable signature of these unique materials? That’s the burning question!

To situate this within a wider material context, here’s a great piece of writing by “street materialist” Manuel Delanda.


An Sich Zerstreut


“An sich zerstreut” (trans: “scattered in itself”) is a quote from Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 1781 (B133). This seems to resonate with some essential quality of the strange new materials being created in the lab. (I have been reading Kant on the train to the CSIRO, as a kind of philosophical OH&S induction – I think it works!)