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~~~~· of Media Studies

Partner. Journal Nr.vs Guldelln" for Autho,.

Spring 2013_'Green'

Advertlsarlal relations and aesthetics of survival:
Advertising-> advertlslgn
Publ.. hed:
JUDe 3. 20:13 by Jonathan Beller
Ho HBiao-HiieD. With hla typical flair for the graphic: identlfic:ation of o!D'enemim, Hanby has this to say about
1thavn de ]a Cruz and public: space:

[a]ny adYertisement in public spac:e thatgi\11!6 you no choice whether you see it or not is
yours. It belongs ID you. It's yours ID take, IelllTIIIlge and re-use. Asking for permission is like
asking ID keep a rock someonej'OStthrew at your head.ffi

In an ironic twist it seems thatBanksyfeel.s the same way about c:ritic:alihemy, since it was noiEd
in March 2012 on Ge.wker1hathe actually lifted 1heselines from writer and graphic designer Sean
Tejaratchi's essay 'Death, Phones and Scissonl' in the 1999 zine Crophound #6.[2] Fa..moolrel,
Tweeted, and Tumbld, 1enll ifnottho11'18Dck expressed themselves by reporting Banby, who was
repostlng Tejaratchl. Who was repoatlng wham?

To the 'con'IEnt' of these mobilised signs: they mean 1D aaythatthe onsla'llgb.t of words and images
launched by ad.wrtiser& is an aggressive at! on us clemzens of the world; and that, in short.
acbertising is an assault weapon. .L.ib IIIIIII1 of us have been saying for a whlle now it is also a
new type of economic: elqioit, a psychCH!CODomic machine- a key component of the social fac:tmy
and, as such, an encroaclunBnt on the commons. The rock then is a metaphor. .Danby c:alls an
a~t 'a rook' hurled at 'your head' ID emphasise ita bellicose aspedl!; h<>WlMn", as
BanbYs film. &it Through the Gift Slwp shows, the capitalisation ofpercepdon depends upon a
tnuurfurmedl'!Htion between vision and social praclicm: advm::ising is not, stric:tlyspeaking, a
rock. The ail's job is notowr upon impact Perambulatlmi in public space, spects1Drs, US8'll of
images and screens, are the matb - bio-political entities qeted by computer-media1Ed
adw.rtising with 1he purpose ofbinding said bWJgaiD 1he social fllc:lmyvia present and future
aUP.ntion in order that their senll118llabor may be expropria1Ed for capital. In the prescient words
of Dallas Smythe who in hla landmatk essay "Ihe Wlndspot ofWestern MaD:ism' bequeathed ID
us an analysis of what he called 'the audiE~~Ce c:ommodicy', audiences do the work oflearning ID
consume.raJ. J.s it tmna out mr ad.vertisen, in principal all moments are ll!achabl.e ones; but thei:ra
is an exploitBtive pedagogy designed ID ~11! the work oflearning. IS: us consider this
pedagogy offinanc:e c:api1Bl befuretuming 1D some Wllll.IEI'-eX&mples at the end of this essay.

While Smythe WIOte one of the earliest considerations of what today we theorist types as well as
those more pedeatrian, if richer, fulks known as economists idmtify u 'postfordism', we are
a'W11re that advertising is not exactlywhatitUIIed to be dther and the stratl:gies of capture of
aliena1Edlabor haw grown inc:reallingly&Ophistic:ated. As we learn 1D worlr.ID :media11! enu Big
Data, and wi1h it the computerised trawling of the sedimentation of attention. This outmme,
which ill also a prequrl. should alert those who are not already clear on this matter- that
pcM~tibrdismis n.otiD bethoughtin theabsenc:eofvisual anddigitalmediaplatfurm&. Theaervilit;y
(Vimo), Ceminisation (Marrazzi), and semioticisation (Beru.rdi) of directly capitalised 'immaterial'

due in part to the falling rate of profit. For Marx expropriation via wage-labor was and remains dissymmetrical exchange: the worker gives more to his filer capitalist then sflle receives.J. dissymmetrical (exploitative) exchange occurs vis-a-vis the screen. the article that first introduced the notion of 'The Cinematic Mode of Production' along with these corollaries: 1. it also results in what Bernard Stiegler aptly calls 'the proletarianization of 1he nervous system' . We will start in the present and work our way back. 1he wage is leveraged down so that 1he worker receives subsistence and the rest of the worker's product accrues to the capitalist as profit.[7]. 3.~l Let me just say here fuatwhile it is undeniable that screen -users are sold to advertisers 1here is a nagging question about what1hey get in return. mobile device [specifiable]). CwTentlythis social-factoryis capitalist and. Over time. exact location of users and distance from a certain location. 1he type of device used: (desktop/laptop computer. varying intennediate cummcies supported by what Chih-hsieh Chen (following Foucault) calls 'regimes of truth'. Capital of 1he Twentieth Centucy'. As has been noted labor itself has changed its form. Screen labor combats fue falling rate of profit by simultaneously ertending 1he working day and increasing both the efficiency and flexibility of production. cinema brings the industrial revolution to 1he eye. The general equivalent is a convertible form ofsocial wealth. the attention theory of value must replace the labor theory of value. to look is to labor. On 1 March 2012 Google changed its privacy regulations to allow its so-plus stand-alone 'services' to share data under a single 'privacy policy'. or age group. the mobile phone operator used (specifiable).labor cannot be properly understood without the visual tum. as with the celebrity and fue brand It seems unproblematic to say fuat money is what Sohn-Retel called a real abstraction but so too with the brand Is it possible tllat wages are paid in real abstractions of the value form. According to media theorist Christian Fuchs [a]nalysis [of 1he cummt policy] shows 1hat Google makes use of privacy policies and tennB of service 1hat enable the large-scale economic surveillance of users for the purpose of capital accumulation. 2. which although convertible experience value . etc. it functions through the expropriation oflabor.There have been some attenlpts to work out what fuis looks like mathematically from a Marxist perspective in the context ofboth 1he Internet and oilier fonns of screen economies. as something like the most advanced incarnation of the digitality inlplicit in capital itself. the commodity that became 'money' that had among other uses the specialised function of indexing abstract universal labor- time as price. but I will leave 1hat for anofuer time. Indeed the emergence of this screen -mediated.l_6l Today the Internet as a means of production is both pre-condition and paradigm for the screen- mediated social factory. In a subsequent blog entry Fuchs 'agree[s] with Oscar Gandy that personalised ads are a fonn of panoptic sorting and of social discrimination' and argues 'for a worldwide legal provision that makes opt-in advertising mandatory and outlaws opt-out'. exploitative. 4. gender. the penetration of1he life-world by capitalised intmfaces (images) is its condition of possibility. deterritorialised factory that inaugurates a new mode of value-production and value transfer is the fundamental argument of my 1994 essay 'Cinema.[4] Fuchs' trenchant analysis concludes that 'Google's •new" privacy policy is not new at all and should consequently best be renamed to -privacy violation policy" or "user exploitation policy"'.. Advertising clients of Google that use Google AdWords are able to target ads for example by country. lucid discussion about the Internet and advertising and Fuchs' statement that 'being productive in the corporate internet factory is being exploited' moves 1hat particular discussion a decisive stEp forward. language users speak. I would say that the wage -formerly thought to be exclusively paid in money (which Marx also called 'the vanishing mediator' and 'fue general equivalent') -like labor has also changed its form. Increasingly it appears that the money-fonn and social recognition are convergent.[s] This is a significant.

Allhough it is necessary to insist upon the role of the screen in organising lhe relations ofpostfordist production it is a mistake to think lhat once one leaves the light of the screen work grinds to a halt. As a momenfs reflection on lhe enclosure andre- presentation of off-screen spaces by the operations of visual capital should make clear. cognitive capitalism. it works through a process that marks a triple abstraction from reality: from the hand-rendered pictographic image.the imperative to advertise is also the imperative to erase the archive (non-capitalist and non-capitaliseable strata) of shared. even in the apparent absence of screens their programming organises off-screen places like the imagination. The celebrity quite literally banks human time. Steigler's current work on political econo~IJ¥ and dispossession remarks on the 'grammatization of gesture' by industry and then on audiovisual perception and cognition by what he calls 'retentional systems'. which is precisely the role of advertising. semio-capitalism. and remuneration. prosumer. The pointl want to make with regard to the screen-mediated production of profit. The real subswnption of society by capital marks the conversion of representation itself to advertising. more generally. Just what can you get with 1. This pithy formula could be further reduced to a precise deduction of what is nothing short of 1he reigning imperative of postfordist societies. as well as lhe corollary production of knowledge according to the score of the general intellect. to the written line. meaning media technologies . 'the mriverse of technical images'. YouTube views? Have we learned to assemble iconic presentations of the self in exchange for what are effectively local currencies of recognition in order that we might extend our own productive basis and auto- capitalise at a higher rate of retmn by extending our market base? Are we paid in the mode of subsistence of others who are themselves taken as means of production? At any rate. With a somewhat different emphasis this displacement of the sovereign subject within language. Through the production of 'technical images' photography fundamentally transforms linear thought. by this time we are all familiar with the various cognates that with differing emphasis endeavor to name these even later capitalist convergences of work and play: immaterial labor. it also happens to be 1he role of the news. attention. Virtuosity. There is a blurring of1he lines between work. the cynosure of postmodernism was that everything means something else. The camera is a collection of programs lhat fundamentally alters lhe character of language and sociality but also ofhistmy and metaphysics. to the materialised calculUB of the photographic apparatus. continues to organise the social factory lhrough its after-images. means lhat we speak for also lhe ultimate point ofVile. as well as the planet of slums. The point of Vimo's concept of virtuosity is thatlhe cognitive-linguistic has been commandeered by capitalist production -virtuosity is a command performance: one thinks and speaks capital and constantly cooperates in productive processes everywhere to purchase survival.!!9l This grammatisation of perception and cognition by media platforms harnesses the libido and institutes the afore- mentioned 'proletarianization of the nervous system'. attention. Additionally. which is to say omni-present command performances wilhin the social factory that mark the expropriation of the cognitive linguistic capacities of the species.which is also a challenge to the category of'advertising' -has to do precisely wilh the idea of real subsumption that is implicit in the postfordist model of production indicated above. 1he real name for infurmatic throughput in capitalisiiL If. and therefore the relation to history and reality such that humans are placed within the domain of the programmed image. while a command- control nexus that directly harnesses libidinal drives as sensual labor.fluctuations and require exchange.~. playbor. collective becoming.m Flusser's work on 1he photographic apparatus . the capitalist response to Muxism's 'always historicise' is 'always advertise'! Advertisarial relations should be understood as the mode by which the multitudes are dispossessed of history. Therefore we may draw a conclUBion that presents itself as the statement of a problem: if what one means by advertising is 'the marll:eting of commodities fur the purpose of capitalist valorization' then 'advertising' has become a general condition.and also Less familiar is the convergence of wage as money and as recognition. the fabric of time. both becoming iterations of the general equivalent and thus exchangeable for human time. etc. virtuosity..a form of dispossession. We must consider that just as money can be utilised as either a medium of exchange (in simple circulation) or as capital so too with recognition and. given the postmodern intensification of the disappearance of the referent of the sign. Reminiscent ofbut antithetical to Jameson's famous slogan. attention. in postfordism we could say that everything advertises something else.. Therefore the screen. on the labor side. the .

art. arguably. media convergence (the movement of all platforms toward digital computation and. Any programme that does not admit this excluded planet into dialogues that vitiates the monologues imposed by capitalist informatics and advmtisigns is still floating in the realm of the ruling ideas. This mode of capitalist production in which thought and 'noetic acting' directlyprodures surplus value strives to include all the sedimented attentional practices which were once relatiwly and at times avowedly unproductive: the very stuff of literature. suddenly appear more starkly than ever to be on a continuum with advertising itself. banks. and history. race. and by extension biotic. of course and . 'they' program 'our' language and 'our' imagination.that is. The Internet. Ail capital's nations. and the institutions that sustain these. This fact of our investment in and by advmtising. nationality. Banning what we recognise as advertising on the internet. within the framework of actually-tmsting capitalism. even if an excellent beginning. from the standpoint of capital their role is to serve as substrate for image- production and semiosis. those of screen culture and of imperialism. which is to say. understood thus. and the military-indnstrial complex which. and bombing. subjects for policing. This problem is particularly evident considering the material conditions (class. national policy. poses a genuine problem for theory. particularly if it does/we do not think about the materiality of social production from top to bottom: class. of the residuum of our common cultural and attentional practices.) of the participants in would-be counter-hegemonic theoretical discussions of culture and policy that presuppose books. desperate refugees. However. the movement of all digital computation toward digital capitalism) implies the moverrumt of all cultural practice towards advertising. while recognisable as an effect and a cause of contempora:ry planeta:ry production and reproduction. is not adequate to address these issues of representation and social justice. threatens to further crush the late- capitalist poor out of not just representation but of existence. etc. 'wrl speak 'their' thought- indeed that is our work. internment camps and prisons. Dialectically then. l'he world's postmodern poor. and even as voids in the idea of the world Humans are troped (via discourse and the screen) to organise military production. To take the Internet as an autonomous force results in a form of platform fetishism that disavows both the histories and material conditions of its emergence which are. Though it is beyond the scope of this essay. gender. whose very machinery. Those within the circuit of these discussions have already passed through a homogenisation process which programs them in compatible systems languages. designed to intensify the imposition of an advmtisarial relationship on every semiotic. Data mining must therefore be 1mderstood as a vast uptake of the commons. as starving hordes. My discussion here is not really meant to disagree with the contra-Google idea of opt-in-only advertising. we run the risk of merely trying to set up a competing corporation with a new business model. Any would-be anti-capitalist 'we' runs this risk of co-opting from the get-go. process. in short. orratherourlabor. the two-billion living on two dollam a day. schools. not to mention mindless banter. cannot be considered in isolation if its historical role is to be properly understood. theater. However. education. nor to 1mdercutpolicy recommendations that seek to limit the perpetration of advertisers' distinctiwly diabolical exploits. armies. Remember. yes. and films did to its colonies and colonial subjects the current institutions from states to computer-media companies do to 'us': they command us to make ourselves over in capital's image for their own profit through networked strategies of expropriation and dispossession. but also race. language. schools. corporate strategy and market projections. computers.indeed an unprecedented one. l'hese ideas are the ones whDBe density and weight. newspapers. culture. given the sea-change in the nature of languages and images themselves -their transposition and transformation from a means of representation to a means of production -the difficulty here is with the us/them perspective: we want to ban advmtisers but today we must also confront the disturbing possibility that we are them. the conversion of the sign to the 'advertisign'. languages. the means by which the capitalist suppression of global democracy (which is. Without submitting ourselves and our own aspirations to radical critique. without conducting a Gramscian invento:ry of our ostensibly internal constitutions. imltional or swplus populations.also labor to survive in the material landscape organised by the postfordistsocial factory. this digital neo-colonialism could be 1mderstuod as being on a continuum with the internal colonisation of Europe by the Gennan banks -which depends of co1m1e on the distributed production of a kind of nco-liberal 'realism'. nation.state. music. encampment. To summarise: the fonns of socialily which are the conditions of online possibilities run through eve:rysector and register of planeta:ry life.

I am sorry to have to report1hat my dystopian vision is not quite as bucolic as this already drea1y picture. competitive. economic growth means progress. However. neither have racism. given the thoroughgoing intensification ofvectoral signs we need to investigate its implications in the context of a discussion of radical media practice. in a more pedestrian mode: human beings are naturally acquisitive and competitive. capital is information is nature. meaning that they are not and never have been stand-alone entities but rather exist in relation to 1heir media. becomes the self) but it is violent. The 'content' of a media platform is another platform.[11] Letmedevelopmyquestion about1he Internet. Again. 'what if it is all advertising?'. Indeed today thought is all about maintaining hierarchical society (capital is nature. and machines we require have been ripped from the species and privatised via the long duree of dissymmetrical exchange. homophobia. as distinct from the racial other. If the dominant means of representation have become the dominant means of production. ell:. I . Language and images are neither inside nor outside. We also know that languages and images are not isolable. simpering.or not-so-crypto-fascist) means necessary. The media 1hemselves have become forms of capital and our usage of these media means that we work to valorise capital for the capitalist. Advertising has worked its way into the sign itself and has generated the advertisign. strictly speaking. and abject.) and advancing one's place in it by any (crypto. thereby participating more or less mindlessly in the seamless realisation of 1he programming of businesses. 1he production of new needs. the capturing of1he imagination all in order to induce linguistic and behavioral shifts in others is no longer merely the province of advertising but of so-called human interactivity.emphatically. is no longer necessmy to impose cooperation for capitalist production. There is programming (the big Other. the questions of and models for political agency are radically transformed. hateful. This is not simply the brand but also vectorallanguage: words in a production channel.they are part of the general intellect. We 'want' to cooperate productively. but what if1he whole thing is advertising? One reading ofwhatl have said 1hus far might suggest that given the expropriation of1he cognitive-linguistic our volition is overtaken by capital-logic. a ceaseless waging of capitalised exploits designed to gamer attention/value for oneself and one's capitalists. images. To ban advertising on the Internet would be a good start. However. Furthermore. Thus in a certain way and particularly since we no longer have any1houghts of our own we all collaborate in a world organised by images and screens. coercion. The lllgUlllent is that in the context ofvirtuosity the expropriation of the cognitive-linguistic by capital sociality itself has become advertisarial. the micro- management of desire. our desire is itself an iteration of capital. the very media of our1hought belongs to someone else. 1heir platforms. It is Bateson and Deleuze's schizophrenic becoming the capitalist norm. This expropriation oftire media-commons is precisely tire pre-condition oftire rool- subsumption ofsociety by capital. and alienating at1he same time as it is cooperative. I will make two additional points here before shifting geam and turning to what I identify as an aesthetics of survival -an aesthetics that emerges from within 1he matrix of advertisarial capture. We have seen that the general intellect once largely held in common is increasingly being privatised. While I do see 1hat representation and semiotics a have been increasingly flattened Ia Orwell and Marcuse by a vast internalisation of the apparatuses of oppression (in which 'thought' is 1he [productive] thoughtof1he [capitalist] Party and repressive desublimation is an engine of capitalist-fascist production) I do not1hink that hierarchy or class have gone away. now become advertisarial1hrough and a relation designed as nwch as possible to guarantee 1hat our creative aclll necessarily OCCID' in dissymmetrical exchange with capital. capital is eternal. Of course this diagnosis is a huge generalisation but this schizoid oscillation between entitled adjudicator and abject suppliant sums up your average reality1V show or comments section on YouTube. The means by which we most intimately know ourselves and our desires (our images and words) are 1hemselves vecbmi of capitalisation intent upon converting our very life-process into surplus value (which is to say value for capital). and given our inability to cogitate in any way that is genuinely resistant to capitalist expropriation. who struggles to negotiate 1he aporias ofhieran:hical society while reproducing it.the words. From Smythe's claim in the ffiindspot essay that all leisure time has become labor time to Vimo's virtuosity we have seen aspects of this model for the capitalist overdetermination of apparently unremunerated time before. or. We no longer own the materials for1hought itself. economic democracy) has been accomplished. understood in the framework ofpostfordist production. Thus 1he general intellect is inseparable from the media platforms. each platform relates to another platform. and fascist- nationalisms ceased to play their roles.

think this is what Stiegler means by the proletarianisation of the nervous system. of course. Even the concrete individual is composed of class fractions (okay. while on the job market we are abject&. How then does one inventory those relations and produce them as formations of solidarity rather than as disavowed residuum? Is there another data-sphere. In reality. track.f!~. and debts that in actual practice lDlderpin the official economy. A political intervention in the advertisarial relations that have this planet heading towards environmental doomsday requires not only revolutionary policy but revolutionary culture. which I shorthand using the phrase 'the politics of the utterance' and which you can experience palpably right now (as you think). we may feel like biomorphicallyunma:rked nobles in the global cosmopolis. aspects of desire that are programmed (indeed farmed) to produce practices that function in perfect accord with capitalist accumulation strategies (individualising or schizoid) and aspects of desire that are atavistic or collectivist. however. communist. on our iPads built by Chinese slaves from blood metals extracted from the Congo. games. we are speaking of politics here and therefore necessarily of the abstract forms available for the conceptualisation and deployment of concrete emergences. ripped apart. as it gives petit bourgeois intellectuals something important to do) is to {re-) politicise semiotic and affective structures and practices. rebundled. obligations. From a political perspective it means that within each concrete individual body the presumed continuity of the individual is riddled wi1h contradictory and indeed unassimilable indicators. collective life. This culture must take into account that for many on this planet Armageddon is not the future but an ongoing constant My call here (which should not be entirely unJiuniliar. This expiration is not necessarily a cause for lament. utopian. Lenin showed how imperialist dividends complicated class issues in England since many people. amplify. ~aire saw the great Emopean metropoles as the product of third world labor we are all products of the worst conditions prevailing in the global south and around the planet. the thought of the commodity). as many (billions even) never get to participate as an enfranchised global citizen in any aspect or moment oflife. Allow me to put it thusly: in Imperialism the Highest Stage ofCapitalism. or maybe even just plain lonely. but it is here preciselythatwe confront one of the significant material contradictions of our time: who or what speaks in us? This question. There are. A more complex view is that we are the product of the world system and thus everything we are has been produced vis-a-vis globalisation. including and perhaps especially those we might control. Global inequality is internal to our being. therefore bearing the trace of the system in its entirety (again. it suggests that just as A. to be a bit simplistic. I will make a second observation. a commlDlist one? Can we build communist interfaces? How would we register. itself a platform for sociality that developed wi1h the rise of capitalism (as the subject who relates to other subjects in the market. While palliative for some in small doses such individuality is no longer a viable (which is to say a sustainable) fantasy. From a historical perspective this encroachment on the means of representation indicates that the individual subjective agent. and sold as derivatives the individual subject-form is an outmoded technology despite the fact that it still appears as a skeuomorph in certain updated techno-social apparatuses -like 1he latest forms of films. seems to me to insist that our idea-making . Our affective capacities are put to work in the social factory and their product is alienared. a CommlDlist algorithm? To add to my point about the shifting.which would include the proletarianisation of the pathways of feeling and thought. and versions of national politics that proffer invitations to momentary individualistic identification for the purposes of providing a sense of familiarity and orientation. is defunct In a world where life processes are stripped. and whatever authentic hope is left to our species? Perhaps we have arrived at a question worthy of theory: is there. desire is more singular than such formalisation& might indicate. Of course this is still somewhat simplistic and also class specific. for example our own utterances. solidarities. could there be. and render actionable our communitarian affinities. Today this race-based class fractionalisation is fully internalised. exploitative British enterprises. This conceptualisation of concrete individuals (speaking bodies) as global communitarian products is not to erase class. in varying proportions). However. multitudes). otherwise part of the working class. it means also 1hat there exists in differing quantities and qualities capitalist and non-capitalist striations or sectors. Of course to call them 'our own' seems to contradict what I said earlier about1he expropriation of the cognitive-linguistic. distributed character of political actors that goes so far as to suggest that we can no longer think of actors but rather must think of vectors and fields. producing ever-intensifying and ever-accumulating dispossession and disempowennent as the dialectical antithesis of its production of unprecedented wealth and power. got a share of the dividends of imperialism by clipping the coupons of their investments in racist.

hence one sees the camera's promulgation untn omnipresence. The concept of a visual economy which would undoubtedly extend beyond what is visible both to everyone and also 1D anyone in particular would insist that the logistics of screen-mediated capitalism pertain in myriad situations beyond the purview of the screen vis-a-vis a structnring (and indeed continuous modification) of the general intellect and therefore of the imagination and the cognitive-linguistic. are functionally omnipresent.. and more blood. The refusal or detournement of capital's encroachment is itself a creative act Perhaps we have only begun to glimpse what a 1Dtal refusal might achieve. We must struggle fur the radical constellation. they institute leveraged exploitation which constantly threatens and indeed actively strives to transfer all wealth 1D capital precisely by exercising a radical overdetermination with regard to our (meaning the species') practices and potentials. and imperialism.actively produces its solidari1. counter-computation. &:cording 1D Flusserwe have become functionaries of this technology and our lives.[l3] I have been worldng with the idea that real subsumption also means the tntal or at least totalising enclosure of1he bios by the logistics of the image. including but not limited 1D histnrically-emergent techniques of gendering.y with the dispossessed. As individual organisms and as a collective species we are pushed 1D the limits of survival. to insist upon the unremitting relevance of both culture-making and of cross-cultural transnational solidari1. Marx himself saw capitalism as vampiric and today's processes of capitalisation are even more totalitarian. and indeed Histmy and metaphysics are effectively if not ontnlogically in1Ernal1D it. The advertisarial relation is the programmatic relation encrypted in the apparatuses of capital: the war of each against all taken all the way 1D the speech-actin accord with the autopoetic algorithm of the distributed Leviathan. unlike Flusser I also see the programme of the tllchnical image as predatory in a capitalist mode. more widely distributed._[!.For Flusserthe better part of the last two centuries bas been organised by the programs 1hat constitute the camera for the benefit and proliferation of cameras.:i. and embedded in the living flesh of the world All of this implies.and indeed soul-sucking than in prior eras. The question concerning the politics of the utterance also raises the question of becoming. in the terms we have set out. that the Internet is not all advertising -but neither is advertising all advertising. It implies that . Humans are subsumed by the photographic apparatUB and we make our way in what Flusser calls the universe of the technical image. contradictnrily in fact. Aesthetics of survival Without trying to punme this thought 1D whatever logical conclUBions it may harbor (counter culture. Although I cannot develop all aspects of this discussion here one can shorlhand it by recalling Flusser's idea of the technical image as well as his understanding of the photngrapher and prellymuch everyone else as 'a functionary' of the camera. non-heriarchical sociality.!:!iJ.what elsewhere I have called the media-environment and the world-media system. its product The pyramids of inequality become internal fractals even as they ascend ever higher. the speculwn mundi. Increasingly all life is organised in accord with these programs such that humans produce in a way that is subsidiary to the protocols of the camera and its product the technical image.images that. histories. racialisation. Continuous media throughput has generated a capitalist imaginary structnring both language function and imaging processes.l However. that it wages war on all fronts to secure labor power. This requirement that we actively wager our lives within the image is operative fur all no matter how conscious or unconscious its imperatives remain. In other words the programs 1hat ramiJYthe visual do not merely institute capture (culture or life could do 1he same). the overcoming of the aporetic character of our times) let us take a moment to think about the implications fur life in the visible world. Thus. We do not yet know what can be destroyed or indeed built with the massive appropriation of Banksy's rocks but we do know that at present there is tntal war against our using them 1D build anti-capitalist. as well as the questions of agency and of action within the capitalist image.y helps 1D avoid platform fetishism because it sees the In1Ernet and its machines not as set or collection of autonomous tllchnologies but as a histnrically-emergent system of expropriative communication-organisation built directly on older but nonetheless contemporaneous forms of inequality. In a manner not unlike Bateson's porpoises we find ourselves compelled to create something extraordinary or perish in the crossfire of contradictnry and annihilating programs. Despite the disawwals to the contrary we recognise that capital needs labor more desperately and more wraciously than ever before (what else is bio-politics?) and furthermore.

The films that focus on the contemporary are primarily explorations of programmatic mise-en-scene in which the ellortto navigate from within the image registers a new form of Realism. themselves a product of a histoey and a media-histoey almost unknown. . a clip from 1:33:20-1:38:40) and Khavn de la Cruz's Iskwatterpangk (Squatterpunk. it might be more accuratB to say that the periods are not only represented but the particular character of their temporality is recreated. the present of the film. Three Times treats two characters (played by the same actors) in love in three different historical times: 1911. In Three Times love functions as a thread that allows for a kind of media archeology. praxis. and song function as if to say 'to each time its media-mash-up and to each media mash-up its form of time'.that is. architBcture. which is already the time of the full-blown technical image in Flusser's precise sense of the term.a Realism without reality.we wager our very being within the image in a reconfigured politics of utterance. one of the global midclle class and one of the global subaltern class. a clip from oo:o6:15-00:09:50). Ho Hsiao-Hsien's Three Times (2oos. It is as if the characters have been absorbed into their images and thus deprived of the power of speech. film stocks. Key conversations are gestural and nearly inaudible. it is in fact dispossession. the digital photograph and its world (of screens. Thus the viewer experiences three different media ecologies. Ho (particularly in his later work) shows us people in snme way connected to Taiwan but able neither to experience community nor conceptualise their history: space and time have undergone a radical dissolution but it does not bring anyone closer to others or to the past. which of comse raises all the questions associated with :repetition. headsets. a political stake in every form and indeed all forms of expression. Ho's contemporary characters with their smartphones. In 2005. The characters' radical dis- placement and alienation here (and perhaps even more emphatically in Ho's filmMilleniwn Mambo [2001]) is accomplished through a near-total immersion of the film characters in a world of images. Taiwanese history. given the thoroughgoing endeavor made by the filmmaker. and gesture but by using cinematic conventions pertinent to the time of each vignette. Rather. and action. Ho's analysis of the media of sociality how~M:r is not only an effort to periodise the media and thus the historical forms oflove it is also a philosophy of the historicity of meaning. 1966. Within the image there is a stake. If this study in remixing the sense ratios sounds McLuhanesque what we are talking about with Ho Hsiao-Hsien and Taiwanese history is anything but the global village. It is perltaps in accord with this diagnosis that Ho's most recent works set in contemporary times only manifest themselves minimally as stories. like intBrtitles for the 1911 section and appropriatB lighting. the military order. since properly speaking it is Taiwanese images. are part of the legacy of a continuing past but are devoid of narratives and concepts that would explain their function. and pallets. and political agency. They therefore generatB alienation so intense that it is tantamount to dispossession. These images. in the concluding episode of Three Times. a framework of intmpretation that would allow the kind of self-assessment and autolocation necessary to provide oneself with a sense of namttive purpose. tsking place in clubs with pumping techno-music. Indeed. In Three Times we move from the time of the nationalist writer to the time of the militaey order to the time of a near total ab&ence of words. and garage bands -the latter of which shows how even music has become a computerised image) have overtaken what in prior moments were the times of early 2oth century media: the 1911 bordello. the times of the international letter. communication. and the pool halls accommodating soldiers' R&R. and screens are not only severed from their past along with its netwmb of connections and forms of temporality (they do not know themselves to be the same lovers they were in prior episodes. and Taiwan itself that confront its people as hostile and alien. 2007. an examination of the structures of connection and containment that gendered love must navigate to realise itself. they can no longer speak anylhing important and must negotiate a world of images. rather. The juxtapositions with their focus on writing. it is an image of three different times and their modalities (one is tempted here to say their media). They are dispossessed both ofhistory and of namttive. with its courtesan's song along with the books and calligraphic letters of the nationalist writer and. the radio. Pointedly. These three eras are represented not only through period fashion.but the film is not an exercise in mere repetition. difference. text messages. gesture. and performance). in the episode set in 1966. specifically. 2005. I will discuss two examples here. they are also severed from their immediate present (their community) and are dispossessed of a coordinate system.

The intro ofJiDg's (Qi Shu's) song 'please. Ho emphasises Vicky's dilemma as a socio-cultural sqwmdering ofbeaut. Vlckyproduces pleasure and indeed Art.again it is 1he medium of her dB!Iire.eYant to its events (in a way that Ozu. to answer a non- discursiw (anti-discursive) aesthetic regime with an aesthetic form. her female lowr in the audience. Like the courtesan-singer of the 1911 episode. Like the filmic image~ ofwords on compuler screens and smartpbones. That she sings in English - the unhusallanguage ofglobal capital -only heightens the tension between the 1i:n'tes ofthe geopolitical marketplace and the particular intensification she pursues. and urban image with Jing on the back of her camersman 10\'el"s motorcycle negotiating traffic on a smoggy Taipei highWlly. Her abili1. like the monetary Yen sign 'branded' on Jing's throat. open your eai'II. allows her to create a line of flight. the shape which yuu'Ie in may reveal the secret you'w never known beiure'. forging a path 1hrough the capitalised furoe-field8 ofthe inlaginBJY. This extra- diegetie. This song erupts in a filmic episode characterised by the almost complete absence of speech.e cut through the den&e megalopolis that is Taipei the audience. a ccyBtallisation of artisby and wisdom that is also the best and pa:haps onlymeaDB of her liberation. is intl. In Three 7tmes Jing sings 'the color that you've seen. formalised aeslheticisation ofVicky's life (which is the wry material of the film) is of no use to her whatsoever. is . Fir}. Although understB1ed as an act it is notable here that during her song which dmws the male photographers closer. an engine ofvalue-formation and seduction.y.her own. In that earlier film the downward spiJa1 ofVicky's liCe is made ~sible for the spectator as rndence of a kind ofwas1ed beauty. check yunr brain' and the refrain 'tn realise what yuu Wllnt. contemplating Jing's mamentaryfreedmn with some I!Kbilarati. thxeads a connection through the sensory IM!rload of the pesent. but not for her&elf. Vicky is shown to not haw the means to represent or abstmct her situation to her&elt Whatever peasure the spectator takes from her pesence in the image is 1Bken without compensation or reciprocity. turns her back on the performance and walks out. The film ends on a kind of in-between. these words (sung in English and passing through the Yen tBt!DO) are part of the reclamation ofwords whOBe character haw been furever altered by the globalisation of1he 1echnical image -a logic which has at once conwrlld words into imagm and degmded them to near superfluousness. Jing's deployment of language.y by creatiDg subtle yet magnificent geometric compositions (A la Ozu) that frame Vlcky'slife while remaining absolutely irrel. 1D realise who you an! are. Jing's tate. Ah Mei. seemingly ha~ng left and possibly having betrayed her lmbian lover.on. It is sung in a club with a small. consequendy1he audience's pleasure is litde more than a symp!Dmatic fmm of SUiplus from a generalised dispossession and 1he systematic in. 1: Ho's conhmlponJ711 c:haracters in 'l1lree Thnes.a medium ofher desire.ected somewhat more positi'YI!lythan that ofVu:ky (also played by Qi Shu) in Ho's Mt1lennium Mambo (2001).yto wager within the image. gnmgy. narratively this deterritorialisation is at best a mixed bleasing. in the clip indicated she sings to her liMlr (as well as to Ho Hsiao-Hsien and to his audience) through the camera.ry indi~dual's lerel of conceptualisation. minimal as it is. distracted audience while three men including the photographer with whom Jing is having an affair shoot her from increasingly close distances. despite their denotatiw simplicit. but this aesthetic component awil& her nothing.dift'Erence towards the destruction of others ~s-A-vis a socio-toohnical mechanics that are mganised by and fur the image at a level beyond the onlina.. though indeterminate in '11rree Tirrres. Jing's art gi'YeS her some agency. Using the instruments at her disposal she creates an aft'ediw form that both crystallises and mobilises some ofthe relations that haw CM'2'taken everyday know-how and common language.'s frames were not). In Millennium Mambo one could say that there is an aesthetic dimension to the gradual dissolution of the film's central charaell!r. Whlle 1he couple on the motDrcycl. open your eyes.

and walllhi:ng these children you are not sure what1D feel. he colors. would litmally kill them due ID the level of toxicity ofthe water). in which children mix their passions fur play with the work of acavenging fur lllli'vival (which. Fig.left to wonder ifher girlfrimdAh-mei has in fact committed suicide as a consequmce ofJing's affair with the photographer. We should consider pennanentlymarking this tenn with an awareness of child-labor and the poat-apocalyptic nee-imperialist violence of sheer llllrviYal.e. judging by size). the film is also interested in the place where style and indeed representation approach their limi1s. AB you view your body knows that this swim alone would likely kill )'011. as mentioned. and digitality. robltes and solarises the images. This insistEnce . 2: The betroyedloverin Three Thnes. The second example of a wager within the adwrtisariallogic ofimage-function. It is also nateworthythat for most of the audience the fonn of playbor that de Ia Cruz records. ptillk track by de la Cruz and his band The Bmckas (ll. also fea.ftm the great Filipino cineaste Lino Brocb. Later you will see those same kids selling the plastic they scavenged to a small-time recycler and using the money to buy a tiny meal. from de Ia Cruz's Squatte1pU11k. In the previously indicated segment children between the ages of 5 and 11 dive acrobatically into the trash-laden ocam -litmally an ocean of floating debris pressing up against the shore oftheir squats. Fig. as we shall see. the non-spectacular side of postmodern capitalism. To this end of raising questions about the limits of sV]. HCJW'IM!r. but. 8quatterpU11k is emphatically not a documentary. Here is an eumple of'playbor' for you -a wagering in the image of globalisation.. The swimming and play in a world of garlJage is accompanied by a wailing punk sound tnu:k.being bam a squatter is not an option. 3: Swimming and playing in a world ofgarbage in SquatterpU11k. The filmmaker utilises punk to approach the conditiollS ofthe squatters.). Jing has made her ae!thetic wager within the image but someone very cloae will have 1D pay.dst. in and of itsel~ not a political choice. with ib. American. registers itselfthrough a visceral repugnance ofa ahoreUne and ocean filled with garllage and waste- human waste. or Pinayis slill a style- choice. 'punk' whether British. De Ia O:uz uses the bodies and conditions of children bam on the outsk:iJts of Manila aa an expressive medium -he films the Mohawk hain:ut that one of the children gm fur the film. always inllisting on the met ofa constrncll!d relation between the image and ita 'contEnt'. The film. The situation of the children that provide compositional elemen1s fur Squtztterp1111k is political but it is. marginal as it may be.tJJres one of the kids with a Mohawk haircut (1he el. representation. allows us to more closely consider '1he digital' as a reification and dispossession iiBelf as surface of inscription while further exploring the politics of the wager.

The audience's position is not ultimately one ofjudgment but of a kind of non-subjective recognition. consumerism. and we do so without resolution. Like it or not. it is no accident that the film begins by tracking a one-legged child 'soccer' player dribbling a Coke can through the slums. It is as if de la Cruz cracks the algorithm of digital representation in the age of finance capital and reveals that the virtnal is inexorably material. 'the digital' itself. we confront affective consciousness as cybernetic while we confront the material integration of specific and seemingly contradictory elements (ourselves and our slums). action. Digitality. ofliberated data. The experience of1he film's intensity depends upon an experience of the world's inequality.colonialism. Thus the film does not provide unmediated access to a profilmic Real but rather dialectically reveals that the viewer's affective experience (not just of this film but of globalisation and digitality) is inscribed on the universal appropriation of the 'reality' of these lives and bodies.human becoming emerges as a socially- leveraged engine for production. we see through the digital and we know it The violence (the manipulation of images of 'Others' that the capitalist sulrroutines of art and anthropology more traditionally would have us 'respect') done to a Real generates a dialectical image in which everything that has ever happened. Wi1h the invasive fractalisation of . the cosmic them back in indigenous translations for a few pennies per transaction.sarial relations set out above. even survival. Such an endeawr imposes with new urgency. wealth.the abiding question 'what is to be done?' This insistently digital image links the digital spectator with the human substrate of the digital. This view can be gleaned from a pitch for Mechanical Turk. one's art. the urgency that! insist weighs upon our utterance and action in this moment and all the ones to come. then all social activity is placed within the framework 1hat before pertained to wage-labor.rtythatis constitutive of this film. all social activity.aspects of the global economy. In semio- war we too are called to cast stones. the Amazon platform that would employ global southerners to perform cultural piece-work such as receiving texts and texti. can access the conditions internal to our specular speculation -which is to say. because of the punk sound track and the blatant manipulation of the plastic quality of the image. is indeed connected to the analysis of adverti. one's life. both of which are intensified by and managed with digital teclmologies. materially) internal to its own speculation. Radical dispossession is one with capitalist accumulation. globalisation -which is. and other forms of social praxis -and if this labor is organised at multiple levels by media-systems ofvalue extraction and measure. and a condition of possibility for. Again: de la Cruz mobilises the computer-processed digital image making it visibly co-present with its materially co-present politico-economic underside (the planet of slums) such that the audience confronts conditions. is also C011Stitutive of globalisation and its digitality. there are curreotly'hillions of wasted hours' in the third world which could be used for profitable production. the geo-political formation in and through which digital technologies have their large-scale emergence. and of incorporeality. the question posed by such inequality is the call to wager: to wager with one's words. a structural effect of the integrated and aestheticising operation of global semio-financial apparatuses. the structural dispossession that comprises its conditions of possibility. One confronts the material basis of capitalist-digitality. even when wasted unto death.that are actnally (that is. is posited as value-productive labor in planeta:ry semiosis. globalisation (all the mediations of history) -are palpably the conditions of possibility for the spectator's curreot and indeed profoundly ambivalent experience. As 'life itself becomes a real abstraction ofpostfordistcapitalism(onewhich would be the alienated inverse of species being). more generally. In so doing we also confront the condition and limit of the ideology of the digital in as much as it posits an ideology of a pme informatics. how it is in fact the central feature of an aesthetics of survival in the aestheticising regime that the dominant mode of semio-capital's digital culture is. imperialism. For the poverty that we see is itself a consequence of. and not just this particular experience but of all contEmporary spectatorial experience. ourselves. It remains to say how the wager. If the machines of capital are distributed 1hrough the socius such that attentional activity includes affective labor -the utterance.serves to dramatise the conditions that underpin not just this digital film but the larger explosion of Philippine digital cinema and. in turn. then it is probable bordering on certain that life itself has become universally posited as a worksim of capitalism. it must be underscored. and waste. Here. For the pove. The filmmaker attaches his wager to the wagers of survival shown on screen such that we.

Chen.. This opens up to what in the cinematic era with reference to the spaces of the everyday Benjamin referred to as 'a large and complex field of actions' -one that cannot possibly be summarised in the final sentences of an essay.respond bypoliticising 'life'.s94Jbeller. However. Matthews. or other modes. 2000. Such rupture would mean a break with the capitalist program in semiotic. communitarian.§J. 'Communications: BlindspotofWestern Marxism'. and potEntials inexorably sought by capitalist management-systems should and indeed must have limits.pbp. Flusser. both within quotation m. feedback.. a break in the temporality imposed by!}a_apa_researeh_citation/l/l/2/0/8/pagesll2086/pl l. California.s94. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. spatial. http:/jgawker. This is a speculative regime and the communication already latEnt in the very idea of exchange-value achiews unprecedented metrics. 3. Canadian Journal ofPolitical and Society Theury 1 (3).the commodity-form one survives to the profit of another. nationalist struggle and ths world-media system. 2006) andAcquiring Eyes: Philippine V'lSuality. and intelligence. 'Viral Banksy Quote on Advertising Plagiarizes 1999 Zine Essay'. J. and serves on the editorial collective of Social Text. . Pietzman. insurrectionary. 2006. Nationalist Struggle and ths World-Media System (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press. discursive.Jl. San Diego.edujtext-only/ name some possible modalities of risk. paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association. Towards a philosophy ofplwtagraphy. or an exceptional form of desire or care. In a world where late-capitalistfascisms aestheticise politics. not simply a refusal of the programming but an interested.aps not) but systemically. L. Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Author Jonathan Beller is ProfessorofHwnaniti. http:/Jcitation. thoughts. Postrrwdem Culture. no. Gawker. 2011. Smythe. as with wage-labor. He is the editor ofFeminist Media Theory: Iterations ofSocial Diffimmce. Roth. Wall and piece. London: Reaktion Books. May1994 http:/Jpmc. D. His books include The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and ths Society ofths Spectacle (Lebanon: Dartmouth College Press/University Press of New England. 'Cinema. translated by N.allacademic. What these limits necessarily imply is that by casting our lots it is possible to introduce rupture in the capitalist expropriation of what was previously called labor time and whatNeferti Tadiar has been calling life-time. temporal. digital communists. V. 1m: 1-28. sexual. the totalising control of wage-laborers' activities. and creative positivily. 2006. 27 May 2003 (published 2004). _ _.comjs892332/viral-banksy-quote-on-advertising-plagiarizes-1999-zine- essay. Into ths 101iverse oftechnical images. translated by A. liberatmy. 4. C.self-identified or not. As coi18umer and as consumed the conditions of emergence are thus overdetErmined by capitalist prograiiiiiiflli -intEntionally (or perlJ. in conceptualising the current dialectics of capture my wager here is 1hat1he field ofliberatory assemblage both constitutes the current reservoir of anti- capitalist values and is open to all of us here and now.arks and wi1hout. 'Is the Audience Really Commodity?. infunnatic. However. He is currently working on two books: The Rain ofImages and Wagers within ths and Media Studies anddirectoroftheGraduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt II18titute. vol. whether as a rearrangement of existing terms. virginia. 11 March 2012. London: Random House Ltd.An Overdetermined Marxist Perspective of the Television Economy'. ------'Acquiring eyes: Philippine visuality.iath. 2006). References Banksy. Beller. Capital of1heTwentieth Century'. a special issue of The Sclwlar Wid Feminist Online (Fall2012).

&llEs!.~C>.· J!al There are many ways to experience this. [!!l But wait a minute. atfitude. 111:4. 10.~l!i~.. N.l Stiegler 2010.!!l:l Indeed. Far a new critique ofpolitical economy. . decisions. Our analysis shows not the re-emergence of the eternal psychic drives in shaping the world-media system but rather that the modern constitution of the psychic drives are symptomatic of capitalist exigencies even as early as Freud) [.e. Tadiar.!. [!]_ Banksy 2006.J.icts-and-society.istinfo.[zl Stiegler 2010.!ll. when you regard a person on the street or yourself in the mirror the calculus of social relations structures your perception.!!!i.<l. For example. 'Life-Times in Fate Playing'.-E. in 2002 it was reported that 67. http://lists. what I think of as wagers within the image. or not Rather than looking inward in a narcissistic manner and/or asking each of us to confront the pyrotechnics of our own abjection I want to examine here some images that both decode the logistics of the media environment and offer some examples ofliberatory.inclinations. •mogpost about Google's "New" Tenns of Use and Privacy Policy: Old Exploitation and User Commodification in a New Ideological Skin'. Christian Fuchs' posts on listserv: [ICI's-and-Society]. I~l Tadiar 2012. [8] Chen 2004 [9] Flusser]. Beller 2006. Malden: Polity Press.i. [!. The South-Atlontic Quorterly.~L~?~:o. 196. When you sit down to write you are making economic decisions. [1J.Ibid.O.that is just a postfordistversion of killing your father and marrying your mother! (Do not wony histx>rical materialists. p. e/valuation.Stiegler. ~ .3% of people on Earth haw never made a phone call. B. . 1 March 2012.!IILa. 2010.51 Flusser 2011.!ll!. . 10.. Beller 1994. J~. See Clay Sharkey's $20 question and 'Cynthia's' well-researched answer at !l. Discussion mailing list Discussion@lists.l. [14] Flusser 2000.!!l!!LL!il!~~:.icts-and-society. Fall 2012: 783-801. [3] Smythe 1<177. When you speak you produce revolutionary-solidarity. [2] Pietzman 2012.cgi/discussion-icts-and-society. string.Y!. [!.

Amsterdam Publlllh8r Amsterdam Universi1y Press (AUP) Dorota Ostrowska Birkbeck. Jr Universi1yofArts Belgrade European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS) Dutch Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) MalteHagener Research School for Media Studies (RMeS) Philipps-University Marburg Further acknowledgements -+ J-p Kooijman Universi1y of. Universi1yofLondon Subllcrlptlons Patricia Pisters Online Universi1y of. Please consider the environmental costs of printing versus Universi1y of Groningen reading online. Website by Nkolai NL DasignStudio NECSL . C 2017 Necsus. Francesco Pital!ll!lio Universi1y ofUdine On paper We feature PDF downloads to aid referencing and there will also soon be a Print AnDie~ den Oeve:r on Demand option.Amsterdam The electronic version ofNECSUS_European Journal of Media Studies is published in Open Access and is therefore free and accessible to the public. Editorial B1111nl We would like to thank the following partners for their support: Greg de Cuir.