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Hyperobjects are objects which have a vitality to them but you can't touch them, like race or class, or climate change. Their effects may be experienced even if they cannot be necessarily touched.

In Alien Phenomenology Bogost writes that, "ethics itself is revealed to be a hyperobject: a massive, tangled chain of objects lampooning one another through weird relation, mistaking their own essences for that of the alien object they encounter, exploding the very idea of ethics to infinity." [1]

"Timothy Morton, professor of literature and the environment at the University of California, Davis, became involved with object-oriented ontology after his ecological writings were favorably compared with the movement's ideas. In The Ecological Thought, Morton introduced the concept of hyperobjects to describe objects that are so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend spatiotemporal specificity, such as global warming, styrofoam, and radioactive plutonium.[2] He has subsequently enumerated five characteristics of hyperobjects:

Viscous: Hyperobjects adhere to any other object they touch, no matter how hard an object tries to resist. In this way, hyperobjects overrule ironic distance, meaning that the more an object tries to resist a hyperobject, the more glued to the hyperobject it becomes.[3]

Molten: Hyperobjects are so massive that they refute the idea that spacetime is fixed, concrete, and consistent.[4]

Nonlocal: Hyperobjects are massively distributed in time and space to the extent that their totality cannot be realized in any particular local manifestation. For example, global warming is a hyperobject that impacts meteorological conditions, such as tornado formation. According to Morton, though, objects don't feel global warming, but instead experience tornadoes as they cause damage in specific places. Thus, nonlocality describes the manner in which a hyperobject becomes more substantial than the local manifestations they produce.[5]

Phased: Hyperobjects occupy a higher dimensional space than other entities can normally perceive. Thus, hyperobjects appear to come and go in three-dimensional space, but would appear differently to an observer with a higher multidimensional view.[6]

Interobjective: Hyperobjects are formed by relations between more than one object. Consequently, objects are only able to perceive to the imprint, or "footprint," of a hyperobject upon other objects, revealed as information. For example, global warming is formed by interactions between the Sun, fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide, among other objects. Yet, global warming is made apparent through emissions levels, temperature changes, and ocean levels, making it seem as if global warming is a product of scientific models, rather than an object that predated its own measurement.[7] [8]

In addition, filmmaker Gabriel Shalom defines a Hyperobject as "Something that can be in more than one place at once".[9] and adds the Internet to the list of Hyperobjects.


  1. Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology. 78-79.
  2. Morton, Timothy (2010). The Ecological Thought. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.. pp. 130. ISBN 0-674-04920-9 in In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_ontology#Hyperobjects_.28Morton.29
  3. Morton, Timothy. "Hyperobjects are Viscous". Ecology Without Nature. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  4. Coffield, Kris. "Interview: Timothy Morton". Fractured Politics. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  5. Morton, Timothy. "Hyperobjects are Nonlocal". Ecology Without Nature.
  6. Coffield, Kris. "Interview: Timothy Morton". Fractured Politics. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  7. Ibid.
  8. In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_ontology#Hyperobjects_.28Morton.29
  9. Conversation with Gabriel Shalom. Berlin, Germany. Betahaus. 14. Nov 2012.