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Edited by Pepita Hesselberth, Janna Houwen, Esther Peeren and Ruby de Vos

Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines offers a compelling reflection on what the notion of legibility entails in a machinic world in which any form of cultural expression – from literary texts, films, artworks and museum exhibits to archives, laws, computer programs and algorithms – necessarily partakes in ever-more complex processes of (mass) mediation. Divided over four clusters focusing on desire, justice, machine and heritage, the chapters in the volume explore what makes something legible or illegible to whom or, indeed, what; the kinds of reading, processing or navigating such il/legibility facilitates or forecloses; and the role critical (media) theory, literary studies and the Humanities in general can play in tackling these and related issues.

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Anke Bosma, Siebe Bluijs, Sean Cubitt, Colin Davis, Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld, David Gauthier, Giovanna Fossati, Isabel Capeloa Gil, Pepita Hesselberth, Yasco Horsman, Janna Houwen, Looi van Kessel, Esther Peeren, Seth Rogoff, Roxana Sarion, Frederik Tygstrup, Inge van de Ven, Ruby de Vos, Peter Verstraten, Tessa de Zeeuw

Speculation as a Mode of Production

Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital

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Marina Vishmidt

In Speculation as a Mode of Production: Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital, Marina Vishmidt offers a new perspective on one of the main categories of capitalist life in the historical present. Writing not under the shadow but in the spirit of Adorno’s negative dialectic, her work pursues speculation through its contested terrains of philosophy, finance, and art, to arrive at the most detailed analysis that we now possess of the role of speculation in the shaping of subjectivity by value relations. Featuring detailed critical discussions of recent tendencies in the artistic representation of labour, and a brilliant reconstruction of the philosophical concept of the speculative from its origins in German Romanticism, Speculation as a Mode of Production is an essential, widescreen theorisation of capital’s drive to self-expansion, and an urgent corrective to the narrow and one-sided periodisations to which it is most commonly subjected.

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Peter Verstraten and Giovanna Fossati

How do the choices made by film archivists and restorers impact the way films are presented? How do digital copies of films relate to the “original” film copies? What are the pros and cons of celluloid in this era of digitization, from the perspective of film restoration and preservation? Interviewed by Peter Verstraten, Giovanna Fossati discusses the legibility of analog films, with their relatively long life expectancy versus the legibility of digital formats with their rapid obsolescence rate. The authors also discuss the flexibility of digital technology in approximating the look of obsolete film techniques (e.g. color in early cinema), the importance of keeping the analog film tradition alive, and the need for a long-term preservation strategy for digital films.

Series:

Edited by Pepita Hesselberth, Janna Houwen, Esther Peeren and Ruby de Vos