A recent issue of the journal Design and Culture included Lucy Kimbell's interview of object-oriented ontology philosopher Graham Harman. The invitation was premised on Harman's ability to counter the contemporary focus on user-centered design with an object orientation. Harman's appearance in the world of design discourse presents a paradox. To ask what object-oriented ontology that explicitly rejects anthropocentrism can offer user-centered and decidedly anthropocentric design practice seems to miss the point of an object orientation. An answer to the paradox may reside in Ian Bogost's account of the metaphorism of object-oriented ontology. This essay explores Bogost's Alien Phenomenology, or What It's like to Be a Thing, which uses Harman's metaphor of black noise as “the background noise of peripheral objects,” and considers the design implications of Bogost's call to amplify black noise and linger in the speculative fiction of things, such as roasted green chile peppers, udon noodles, and pound cake.

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