Seeing/Knowing Conference at UC Berkeley in September

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2014 Conference on Neuroesthetics

Seeing Knowing: Vision, Knowledge, Cognition, and Aesthetics

Speakers include Deborah Aschheim, Harold Cohen, James Elkins, Line Cecilie Engh, Cristina Grasseni, Derek Hodgson, Ellen Lupton, Alan MacEachren, Aaron Marcus, Marcos Nadal, Aude Oliva, William Seely, Colin Ware, Peter Wells, and Johanna Drucker (convener).

What is the connection between vision and knowledge? Do historical and cultural experiences become embodied in visual cognition? How do designers of digital and networked platforms draw on aesthetic as well as analytical tools to create engaging graphic environments?

This conference, scheduled for September 6th and 7th at UC Berkeley, brings together scholars, artists, and cognitive scientists working at the intersection of perception, cognition, representation, and design. At its core is a conviction that the field of “visual epistemology” is poised for a long-overdue systematic articulation.

Topics include the history of vision and its role in early human social organization, the modeling of artificial vision as a set of principles for composition, the investigation of brain patterns and responses to aesthetic activity, and the function of graphic structures in design for cross-cultural communication. Speakers include artists and researchers from graphic design, information visualization, art history, paleo-anthropology, artificial intelligence, geography, and visual studies.

SEEING KNOWING SCHEDULE

Sponsored by the Minerva Foundation

Register

 

Korea’s IMF Crisis Cinema

Neoliberal Forms: CGI, Algorithm, and Hegemony in Korea’s IMF Cinema

by Joseph Jonghyun Jeon

“For anthropologists Edward LiPuma and Benjamin Lee, a compensatory virtue of the 2008 global credit crisis was the extent to which it made visible the otherwise unseen flows of contemporary finance, specifically the rapid emergence of derivatives trading. Trading in derivatives, once a much smaller-scale mechanism for hedging in a production-based economy, was by the early 2000s a primary mode of accumulation in a global environment thoroughly committed to circulatory capital. In 2004 LiPuma and Lee had expressed frustration: ‘How does one know about, or demonstrate against, an unlisted, virtual, offshore corporation that operates in an unregulated electronic space using a secret proprietary trading strategy to buy and sell arcane financial instruments?’ But by 2012, the fog apparently had lifted, the crisis having ‘laid bare the underlying and underappreciated foundations of the financial field.’ An important part of curing the ills of contemporary finance, it seems, perhaps more fundamental than its enormous scale and power, is seeing them at all. At stake is the invisibility of digital apparatuses that constitute networked transactional spaces, calculate financial instruments using complex differential equations, and even enumerate capital itself, which are so central to this modality of circulation that it becomes difficult to separate medium from message.” (Continue reading…)JeonFig.5

In this essay Joseph Jeon examines the co-implications of CGI filmmaking, US hegemony, and neoliberal financialization as manifested in Korea’s “IMF crisis cinema.” These films are populated by what he terms neoliberal forms that epitomize the effort in this cinema to reflect on the innate proximity of popular filmmaking to finance, and specifically on the proximity between its own material apparatus and the economic apparatus that the IMF crisis inserted into the center of Korean public discourse.

This essay is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture IndustryThe introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.

(Dark) Poolside Reading

Accumulating Fictions

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by Peter Hitchcock

“The economic turmoil of 2007–2008 is not over: the Great Recession has a long tail that reaches into the present at every level of the economy and is of much interest to those of us attempting to think through its cultural resonance. In the wake of the ‘financial meltdown’ important lessons emerge in the space between literature and the economy. These lessons concern problems of velocity, fiction, and the subject: the complex speed of transactions, the fictiveness of fictitious capital, and the sublation of the subject in contemporary capital accumulation. Dark pools, for instance, the invisible devices at the core of this essay, form a liquidity mechanism meant to achieve efficiencies beyond the excesses that produced the crisis, particularly beyond the effulgence of regulation intended to address them. Just as British Petroleum’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has involved even more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, so finance capital is compelled not to surrender its deleterious modes of accumulation but to expand them. Every fact of economic harm becomes a fiction of anticapitalism, and every element of fictitious capital accumulation divulges the real of economic relations: the accumulation of fiction.”

So begins Peter Hitchcock‘s essay examining both the nature of the economic crisis of 2007–2008 and the intensification of finance capital in its wake. Moving between aesthetics and economics, Hitchcock considers, in particular, the emergence of the “dark pool” and its implications within a massive expansion of fictitious capital.

This essay is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture IndustryThe introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.

 

The Cinema of Apprehension

The Security Aesthetic in Bollywood’s High-Rise Horror

by Bishnupriya Ghosh

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In this new essay Bishnupriya Ghosh theorizes a constellation of “high-rise horror” films from contemporary Bollywood as a cinema of apprehension. Ghosh elaborates an emergent “techno-aesthetic of security” that plunges spectators into an immersive experience of horror, orienting them to the violence of acute dispossession (of lands and livelihoods) catalyzed by current speculative financial globalization.

BISHNUPRIYA GHOSH teaches postcolonial theory, literature, and global media studies in the English Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently working on two monographs on speculative knowledge and globalization: The Unhomely Sense: Spectral Cinemas of Globalization and The Virus Touch: Living with Epidemics.

This essay is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture IndustryThe introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.

An Idea Proper to Poetry

Retcon: Value and Temporality in Poetics

by Joshua Clover

The epistemological rupture proffered by finance in the seventies, seeming to inaugurate a distinct mode of production, is merely a form of appearance that capital’s struggle takes in crisis, beneath which the capitalist economy remains under the sway of the law of value and its source in socially necessary labor time. While narrative fiction has been taken insistently as the relevant literary mode or genre for understanding the motion and particularly the temporality of finance, poetry finally provides a better heuristic for such an understanding and, more substantially, for grasping the motion and dynamic of value moving behind the seeming of finance’s hegemony.

This essay is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture IndustryThe introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.

240_jcloverJoshua Clover’s present work revolves around political economy and forms of revolutionary struggle, including the co-authored “Can Dialectics Break BRICS?” (an assessment of class composition and communist party possibilities in emerging economies, with Aaron Benanav) forthcoming in South Atlantic Quarterly, and the Little Book of Riot, forthcoming from UC Press. He is a professor at the University of California, Davis; in 2015, he will convene a Residential Research Group at the UC Humanities Research Institute, studying “Culture, Industry, Finance.”

Photo: C. Dingler

Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics

New from Representations editorial board member Todd Olson:

Caravaggio’s Pititful Relics

Yale University Press, May 2014

Beginning with his early works, the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571–1610) was intensely engaged with the physical world. He not only interrogated appearances but also experimented with the paint’s material nature. Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics explores how the artist’s commitment to materiality served and ultimately challenged the Counter- Reformation church’s interests. 9780300190137

In addition to Caravaggio’s Pitiful RelicsTodd Olson is the author of Poussin and France: Painting, Humanism and the Politics of Style (Yale University Press, 2002). Other recent publications include “Markers: Le Moyne de Morgues in Sixteenth-Century Florida,” in Seeing Across Cultures in the Early Modern Period, ed. Dana Leibsohn and Jeanette F. Peterson (Ashgate, 2012) and “Reproductive Horror: Sixteenth-Century Mexican Pictures in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (Oxford Art Journal). He is Associate Professor in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley.

Game of Derivatives

HBO’s Flexible Gold

by Michael Szalay

Recent HBO dramas like Game of Thrones, Luck, and The Newsroom do more than generate HBO brand equity—they quantify that equity and determine the conditions under which it might be converted into other kinds of Time Warner equity. These incipiently financial dramas are futures markets that establish rates of conversion between heterogeneous equities and should be understood as functionally equivalent to the class of financial instruments known as derivatives.MV5BNzU1OTkzMjk4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY4MDg2OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

“HBO’s Flexible Gold” is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture IndustryThe introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.

Credit in Shteyngart’s “Super Sad True Love Story”

Bad Credit: The Character of Credit Scoring

by Annie McClanahan

UnknownIn this essay McClanahan reads twenty-first-century credit scoring against eighteenth- and nineteenth-century forms of credit evaluation. While the latter famously draws its qualitative model of credibility from the novel, and the former predictably describes itself as quantitative and impersonal, in fact the credit score, the social person, and literary character remain significantly entangled. Through a reading of Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, this essay shows what kinds of persons the practice of credit rating produces.

“Bad Credit” is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture IndustryThe introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.

New Special Issue

Financialization and the Culture Industry

Edited by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett

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Financialization and the culture industry. The essays that make up this special issue of Representations turn on the relation between those two terms. How, they ask, should we understand the formal and cultural effects of a world economy ever more dependent on finance’s increasingly abstract calculations of value? In one respect, the metaphor of a “culture industry” might now appear anachronistic, swept aside by the postindustrial speed, scale, and global reach of contemporary finance. But what then remains of notions—inherited from the Frankfurt School and elsewhere—of high and low culture, art and reification, commitment and commodity, class struggle and rationalization in an economy now conceived as immaterial or disembodied, frictionless or flat? (Continue reading…)

C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett
Introduction (free download)
Joshua Clover
Retcon: Value and Temporality in Poetics
Annie McClanahan
Bad Credit: The Character of Credit Scoring
Bishnupriya Ghosh
The Security Aesthetic in Bollywood’s High-Rise Horror
Joseph Jonghyun Jeon
Neoliberal Forms: CGI, Algorithm, and Hegemony in Korea’s IMF Cinema
Michael Szalay
HBO’s Flexible Gold
Peter Hitchcock
Accumulating Fictions