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.

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.

Jeffrey Knapp,“’Throw That Junk!’ The Art of the Movie in Citizen Kane”

“But if Kane’s indiscriminate mixture of ‘the junk as well as the art’
lowers objets to the level of the mass-produced, it has the opposite effect
on the dime-store goods in his collection: it raises them to the level of the
objet. ‘Throw that junk,’ the sardonic butler commands, gesturing toward
the pile of trash with Rosebud in it, but the joke is on him: he could have
made a thousand dollars from that sled, if he had managed to differentiate
it from the hodgepodge around him. The sled was never junk to
Kane, of course, or rather, it was never merely junk: in the furnace of his imagination, where priceless art could substitute for bric-a-brac, a sled could
also substitute for priceless art.”

From Issue #122 (available here)

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D. A. Miller, “Hitchcock’s Understyle: A Too-Close View of Rope”

“The story of the perfect crime, I said earlier, is the story of the perfect crime’s failure; let me now add that, normally, that failure doesn’t affect the story’s form. On the contrary, it is precisely the crime’s failure that allows the story form to display the superiority of its own contrivance. The character whose mandate is to make a mistake is caught in a duel with the author whose equally mandated prescience is always exploiting the mistake
to successful narrative effect. In this structurally unequal contest, the protagonist’s not quite-perfect crime proves the foil for the author’s infallible perfect-crime story.”

From Issue #121 (available here)

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