T19: “Post-Cinematic Control”
Chair: Lisa Akervall (Bauhaus-University Weimar)
Respondent: Shane Denson (Duke University)
Lisa Akervall (Bauhaus-University Weimar), “The Truth of Auto-Tune: Voice Modulations in Post-Cinematic Media-Ecologies”
Viviana Lipuma (North Carolina State University), “Semiocapitalism: the production of signs as the production of desire in the media”
Gregory Flaxman (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), “Left of Conspiracy”
Post-Cinematic Affect, Collectivity, and Environmental Agency
Shane Denson (Duke University)
The computational and broadly post-cinematic media at the heart of contemporary moving images are involved in a massive transformation of human agents’ phenomenological relations to the world. Digital imagery has long been held accountable for effacing the indexicality of cinema’s photographic base, while post-cinematic images more generally might be thought in terms of their “discorrelation” from viewing subjects. There is, however, a flip-side to these negative determinations: if the microtemporal and subperceptual operations of post-cinematic media bypass and hence displace subjective perception, they also serve to expand the domain and the material efficacy of sub- or supra-personal affect. What this amounts to, ultimately, is a radical empowerment of the nonhuman environment, the agency of which becomes tangible in sites and forms ranging from the Fitbit to “big data” and the computational modeling of climate change.
Drawing on Steven Shaviro’s account of post-cinematic affect, and supplementing it with Mark B. N. Hansen’s recent work on the “feed-forward” mechanisms by which biofeedback and environmental sensors serve to expand worldly agency, this presentation argues that new forms of collectivity may become thinkable in the spaces opened up by post-cinematic media. In the reconfiguration of agency, that is, by which digital media bypass the individual and transfer its powers to perceive and to act onto the nonhuman environment, the “dividuality” that Deleuze saw as a correlate of the control society may open onto a more positive conception of collective power. Maurizio Lazzarato’s provocative Bergsonist-Marxist “video philosophy” will serve as a catalyst for conceptualizing this new collectivity and its relation to moving-image media, while the work of independent filmmaker Shane Carruth (Primer , Upstream Color ) will help to focus the interplay among post-cinematic affect, environmental agency, and the mediation of collectivity in the micro- and macrotemporal intervals of contemporary media.
Deleuze, Gilles. “Postscript on the Societies of Control.” October 59 (1992): 3-7.
Denson, Shane. “Crazy Cameras, Discorrelated Images, and the Post-Perceptual Mediation of Post-Cinematic Affect.” Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film. Eds. Shane Denson and Julia Leyda. Sussex: REFRAME Books, forthcoming 2015.
Hansen, Mark B. N. Feed-Forward: On the Future of Twenty-First-Century Media. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2014.
Lazzarato, Maurizio. Videophilosophie: Zeitwahrnehmung im Postfordismus. Berlin: b_books, 2002.
Shaviro, Steven. Post-Cinematic Affect. Winchester: Zero Books, 2010.