The Adventures of the Thing: Mario Perniola’s Sex Appeal of the Inorganic

Enea Bianchi


This paper explores the concept of “inorganic sexuality” in the work of Italian writer and philosopher Mario Perniola. The main objective is to develop the controversial and original aspects of Perniola’s thought within his aesthetic theory of feeling. Perniola elaborates the so-called “thing that feels”, namely a feeling in which the neutral and impersonal dimensions of the things flow into organic life and vice versa. This perspective, as will be clarified, by dissolving the vitalist and spiritualist drives of the subject, enlarges the horizon of aesthetic feeling by welcoming what is commonly left outside of it: the inorganic and material world, in its surprising aspects, but also in its uncanny and disturbing ones. Therefore, the main goal of this paper is to show the significance and the value of neutral sexuality, which opens up a space of experiences beyond the traditional metaphysical oppositions such as masculine/feminine, organic/inorganic, alive/dead, real/virtual, gender/sex.


Article received: April 28, 2020; Article accepted: June 23, 2020; Published online: September 15, 2020. Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Bianchi, Enea. "The Adventures of the Thing: Mario Perniola’s Sex Appeal of the Inorganic." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 22 (2020): 23-34. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i22.380


Mario Perniola; aesthetics; feeling; inorganic sexuality; excitement; thingness.

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