To insist on an engagement with reality over representation, is not to submit to histories that use objectivity as a means of domination. Even physics, arguably the most abstracted of sciences, seems to confirm a view of the world within which we ourselves are integrated. The observer paradox is one of the key concerns of quantum mechanics, where observations can only be rationalised if we include the observer within the system they are observing. In the Double Slit Experiment, matter is represented as either a wave or a particle depending upon the stage at which it is measured. The fundamental nature of matter can shift depending on the presence of an observer. This not only doubts the accuracy of scientific representations of the world,
(Do they describe anything except a very specific interaction between variables and a scientist?)
but denies that there is an ontological difference between representations and the world that they represent. The living material context is an essential component of the experiment. It requires a framework within which there is no externality,
measurements do not represent measurement-independent states of being. (Barad 2003, 813) The object of representation, is altered by the practices by which it is measured and modelled. In the words of Feminist Scholar and Quantum Physicist Karan Barad, we cannot insist that
that which is represented is held to be independent of all practices of representing. (Barad 2003, 804) The observer is a constituent part of the reality which is being looked at. The scientist cannot be external to their experiments: their eyes, their instruments, their presence in the room. You and your body, likewise, must be constituent parts of the world, acting within it and being acted upon. This is a reality which insists on the self as an object, a thesis which Steyerl takes up when she says
objectivity thus becomes a lens, one that recreates us as things mutually acting upon one another. (Steyerl 2010) This is a mutually constituting exchange, where materiality has a history through its acting and reacting to its own dynamic exchanges.