Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Quote of the Day

"What if one thought of cinema not so much as a factory for the production of concepts, but as a factory for the production of a consciousness more and more thoroughly commodified, more and more deeply integrated in a world system? In a world organized like cinema, consciousness becomes a screen on which the affects of production are manifest. What if one thought of cinematic technologies, with their ability to burrow into the flesh, as a partial solution to the problem of expansion faced by the full globalization of capital? In a fully globalized situation, capital expands not outward, spatially and geographically, but into the body, mining it of value (Videodrome). In this schema, television viewers work in a sort of cottage industry performing daily upkeep on their sensoriums as they help to open their bodies to the flow of new commodities. When we come home from work and flip on the tube, our "leisure time" is spent paving new roads. The value produced (yesterday and elsewhere by labor time, but in advanced societies by human attention) accrues to the shareholders of the various media. It is tabulated statistically in what is called ratings and sold to other employers (advertisers) at a market value. But if, for example, we put our eyes elsewhere, or rechannel or viewings into different media, we might build some of the circulating abstractions which make possible medium scale confrontational cultural practice."

--Jonathan L. Beller, "Cinema, Capital of the Twentieth Century" Postmodern Culture 4.3 (1994)


Noel Vera said...

That sounds a hell of a lot more interesting than anything I've heard from recent American science fiction. J.G. Ballard on the economics of information flow, maybe as directred by Cronenberg.

Zach Campbell said...

Noel, I do recommend checking out some of Beller's writing, some of which is available easy-to-find online. (And he apparently has his book coming out at the end of this year, or so the university press website says...)