New from Representations editorial board member Todd Olson:
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.
In addition to Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics, Todd 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.
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.
“HBO’s Flexible Gold” is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture Industry. The introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.
by Annie McClanahan
In 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 Industry. The introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.
Edited by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett
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…)