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Of what can I be truly certain?
  • religion
  • Descartes
  • certainty
  • dream
  • epistemology
  • thinking
  • subjectivity
  • doubt
  • mind-body problem
  • young readers
One plus one equals other
  • epistemology
  • discourse analysis
  • art theory
  • artistic research
  • aesthetics
  • Think Art
Born too late to see the war, too soon to forget it.
Born too late to see the war, too soon to forget it.

Reiner Schürmann

Origins

"This is a book about the power that a past War holds over a German growing up in the 1950s and 1960s: born too late to see that war and too early to forget it. The narrative shows how painfully public events — the shadows, rather, of events gone by — intrude upon a life and shape it. The English translation appears at a moment when most of the key issues have radically changed. Germany has signed what amounts to a...
  • emigration
  • memory
  • autobiography
  • homosexuality
  • 1968
Maurizio Lazzarato

The endless array of merchandise

In contemporary capitalism, subjectivity is the product of a mass industry organized on a global level. For Félix Guattari this is actually the first and most important of capitalist productions, because it preconditions and is part of production in all other forms of merchandise. Subjectivity is a ‘key merchandise,’ which in its ‘nature’ is put together, developed and manufactured in the same way as a car, electricity, or a washing machine. Capitalism organizes the production and control of subjectivity through two different systems, which weave together the manufacture of the individuated subject (“social subjection”) and what seems to be the opposite, de-subjectification (“machinic enslavement”). Therefore capitalism exercises a twofold hold over subjectivity.

Social subjection involves techniques of government, which pass by way of, and mobilize, representation (political and linguistic), areas of knowledge, discursive visual practices, etc., and produce ‘subjects of rights,’ ‘political subjects,’ in short: ‘subjects’ of ‘I’s,’ of individuals. By...

  • capitalism
  • data
  • Governmentality
  • identity
  • algorithms
Tom McCarthy

“Obsessed with buffering”

I’ve become obsessed with buffering—or the narrator in my new novel is obsessed with buffering. He’s an anthropologist who has grown up reading Lévi-Strauss but he’s also a corporate anthropologist who is working for the Man. He’s putting culture in the service of capital. Like we all do, he spends most of his life staring at a screen, and he frequently encounters bouts of buffering. And the first thought he has is that this is not ultimately a technological situation, it’s a theological situation. Behind that little circle spinning on your laptop there’s this belief that somewhere in Uzbekistan, Nevada or Finland there are many Über-servers with satellite dishes generating and sending out data. “Data” means gift and these servers are gifting all this data to you in this unconditional act of endless generosity and data angels are dancing on the pinhead of your Wi-Fi. And this places you inside...

  • fiction
  • literary studies
  • Modernism
  • conversation
  • literature

My language
English

Selected content
English, French

Weitere Themen
Essays on Photography by Siegfried Kracauer
Essays on Photography by Siegfried Kracauer

Siegfried Kracauer, Philippe Despoix (ed.), ...

The Past's Threshold

There can be no doubt, however, that in Kracauer’s texts published at the turn of the 1920s and the 1930s from his position as an editor of the cultural pages at the daily newspaper Frankfurter ­Zeitung, then in the 1950s during his American period, he sketches out a theorisation of photography that can be described as groundbreaking. But it is also true that most of his works overlap, in more than one way, with this medium of reproduction or that...
  • film
  • photography
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • media theory
  • History of photography
Jacques Rancière

« L’appréciation esthétique d’une forme est sans concept. »

Qu’entendre par l’invocation d’une « esthétique de la connaissance » ? Manifestement il ne s’agit pas de dire que les formes de la connaissance devraient s’adjoindre une dimension esthétique. L’expression présuppose qu’une telle dimension n’a pas à être ajoutée, comme un ornement supplémentaire, qu’elle est là de toute façon comme une donnée immanente de la connaissance. Reste à voir ce que cela implique. La thèse que je voudrais présenter est simple : parler d’une dimension esthétique de la connaissance, c’est parler d’une dimension d’ignorance qui divise l’idée même et la pratique de la connaissance. 


Cette proposition implique évidemment une thèse préalable quant à ce qu’ « esthétique » veut dire. La thèse est la suivante : l’esthétique n’est pas la théorie du beau ou de l’art, elle n’est pas non plus la théorie de la sensibilité. Esthétique est un concept historiquement déterminé qui désigne un régime spécifique de visibilité et d’intelligibilité de l’art, qui s’inscrit dans une reconfiguration...

  • work of art
  • Alain Badiou
  • art
  • contemporary art
  • aesthetics
“Obsessed with buffering”
“Obsessed with buffering”

Tom McCarthy

Recessional—Or, the Time of the Hammer

Towards the end of Thomas Pynchon’s mammoth 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow, the stumbling ingénue of a hero Tyrone Slothrop sets off on a commando raid. The territory he and his cohorts move through is a giant ­metropolis, a “factory-state” in which capital, technology and power, perfectly co-calibrated, send airships drifting through urban canyons, past chrome caryatids and roof-gardens on skyscrapers that themselves shoot up and down on ­elevator-cables: a conurbation ­Pynchon calls the “City of the Future” or “Raketen-Stadt.” The... ABO
  • Modernism
  • fiction
  • literary studies
  • conversation
  • literature
Reiner Schürmann
Why this past? Why is this past mine? A past which I did not even know?


Why this past? Why is this past mine? A past which I did not even know?


  • primal scene
  • migration
  • youth
  • homosexuality
  • post-war period
  • 1968
  • autobiography
  • past
  • memory
  • emigration
  • trauma
  • childhood
  • National Socialism
  • post-war generation
  • identity
"Curriculum Vitae in Pictures“

Maria Zinfert (ed.)

Kracauer. Photographic Archive

Kracauer. Photographic Archive presents  largely unknown material from the estate of the German-American theorist of film and photography, ­Siegfried Kracauer and his wife and assistant Elisabeth, known as Lili. The single and group portraits, still lifes, street scenes and landscapes collected in this book all come from the estate of Siegfried Kracauer. Published here for the first time, they are an extensive and representative selection from the enlargements, contact sheets and rolls of film originally archived by Lili Kracauer. With...
  • biography
  • archive
  • 1930s
  • 20th century
  • 1950s
Judith Butler

Ethical Ambivalence

I do not have much to say about why there is a return to ethics, if there is one, in recent years, except to say that I have for the most part resisted this return, and that what I have to offer is something like a map of this resistance and its partial overcoming which I hope will be useful for more than biographical purposes. I’ve worried that the return to ethics has constituted an escape from politics, and I’ve also worried that it has meant a certain heightening of moralism and this has made me cry out, as Nietzsche cried out about Hegel, “Bad air! Bad air!” I suppose that looking for a space in which to breathe is not the highest ethical aspiration, but it is there, etymologically embedded in aspiration itself, and does seem to constitute something of a precondition for any viable, that is, livable, ethical...

  • art
  • activism
  • politics
  • community
  • contemporary art
On the distribution of bodies in space
On the distribution of bodies in space

Stefan Hölscher (ed.), Gerald Siegmund (ed.)

Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity

The past years have seen a re-emergence of the need to think about and conceptualise the arts in general and dance in particular in terms of the political. Developments in globalised neo-liberal capitalism and the changes it has produced in the social fabric seem to beg for a statement of some kind from the artistic field. What is more, these changes increasingly affect the production and reception of dance itself, thereby laying bare the ideological underpinnings of its claim for...
  • community
  • politics
  • body
  • globalization
  • performativity
Frank Ruda

Democracy and its Discontents

Fredric Jameson has diagnosed the contemporary situation as one of subjective perplexity and disorientation. After the failures of all the Marxist attempts to install a framework which could provide for a collective subjective orientation, and after the perpetual intensification of late capitalism’s dynamics, the contemporary epoch is marked by the feeling that “the truth of … experience no longer coincides with the place in which it takes place.” This is to say, that individuals become disoriented because they lack an effective cognitive map of the complete situation they are in. This lack of orientation originates in the absence of a standpoint that would provide not only an abstract, but also a concretizable, perspective on the totality of the situation in which an individual finds himself. Badiou has further complicated the problem of disorientation, by linking it to the modalities of subjectivization offered by contemporary societies. In his analysis he refers to...

  • art
  • aesthetics
  • contemporary art
  • art criticism
  • poetry