Laura Hyunjhee Kim’s Entering the Blobosphere: A Musing on Blobs is a book of speculative theory. The book explores the ambiguous and fluid qualities of the blob, shaping the primordial ooze of a quickly expanding field: blobology.
“A blob is a raw amorphous form / A blob is a potentiality / A blob is a faceless provocateur.” The text begins as a sort of linguistic mining. Pulling data from various media in order to thoroughly outline its subject matter. In the process of doing so, the blob reveals itself as a half-formed thing. Ever-changing and mutating. It is the product of interaction—shaped by the improvised tango between it and the reader. The amorphous object resting in an unmarked space between physical and linguistic. Where its shape can be documented and measured, but its function rests in its semiotic performance.
The blob’s purpose and definition remains elusive. It is the catalyst of potentialities, the rhizome of the blobologist, the uncontainable object. It is a contextual beast, denoted by its relationship to its surroundings and the language it inspires in those who encounter it. To an extent, the blob appears to be the manifestation of certain obsessions. It is the passion of the critic / artist / theorist projected onto an amorphous screen. Its shape undefined and fluid—subject to change. There is an invigorating hopefulness to be found in the blob. It welcomes the organic development and self-discovery of the user and asks them to examine what its shape is capable of containing.
As the reader progresses, certain infections begin to manifest within the book. Drawings crawl onto the page. Blobs in their various sizes and shapes. They take on the aesthetic qualities of the organism. Often appearing cellular in their design. Relatively empty pages are slowly filled with the amassing multiplicity. Other infections occur within the language itself. Kim’s frequent use of epitaphs is subverted by the manipulation of their sources. Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto becomes Cyborg Blobifesto. Vivian Sobchack’s Screening Space becomes Blobbing Space. The text becomes all-encompassing. It consumes the language of other essays and repurposes it. Like the text itself is a kind of blob—cellular in its behavior. This connection paints the blob as alive and active. A character with its own agency moving underneath the surface.
Entering the Blobosphere reads like cultural theory that has been infected by an unknown organism. The subject of this investigation manipulating its own description. Much talked about, but its presence spectral, looming behind the writer’s ear. In the same manner as bell hooks, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Serres, Laura Hyunjhee Kim approaches theory not as an explanation of other art forms, but as an art form of its own.
The text’s movement is arrhythmic yet soothing. It shifts between investigation, explanation, and musing. Each transition introduced by large typesets and mutated epitaphs. The movement of the text never feels unwarranted or dishonest. It behaves in the same manner as its subject. The cellular blob attempts to understand itself. Beginning with confident dictations, then moving into an exploratory phase, then defining the details of its ontology.
Kim’s work is exciting and dynamic, where the reader is invited to witness the jubilant conception and self-discovery of the blob and its accompanying blobologists.