Monthly Archives: May 2013

Late-capitalist, image-and information-based economies

The following quote from Brian Massumi’s essay The Autonomy of Affect succinctly describes a contemporary urban scenario and TV-driven image culture which is also seeping into and informing current screendance practices. While it may appear sexy and exciting to be cutting from one body part to another and from one body to another, could this mode of editing not  be critiqued as a replica of a late-capitalist indulgence? On the other hand, as Massumi argues, is there perhaps a quest for virtuality hidden within the fold of the media mayhem, and the edit, an emergence of possible bodies and potential movements? An emergence “not of the categorical, but of the unclassifiable, the unassimilable, the never-yet felt, the felt for less than half a second, again for the first time – the new.”(1) As Massumi writes “the mass media are massively potentializing”, and so are screendance practices…. (2), perhaps this is a “play multiplied to infinity.” (3)

What is of dire interest now, post-Reagan, is the extent to which he contracted into his person operations that might be argued to be endemic to late-capitalist, image-and information-based economies. Think of the image/expression events in which we bathe. Think interruption. Think of the fast cuts from TV programming to commercials. Think of the cuts across programming and commercials achievable through zapping. Think of the distractedness of television viewing, the constant cus from the screen to its immediate surroundings, to the viewing context where other actions are performed in fits and starts as attention flits. Think of the joyously incongruent juxtapositions of surfing on the internet. Think of our bombardment by commercial images off the screen, at every step in our daily rounds.Think of the imagistic operations of the consumer object, as turnover time increases as fast as styles can be recycled. Everywhere, the cut, suspense -incipience. Virtuality, perhaps?

(Brian Massumi, The Autonomy of Affect, in Paul Patton Ed, Deleuze, A Critical Reader, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers 1996,234)

(1) Massumi, 227.

(2) Massumi, 236.

(3) Massumi, 226.

Claudia Kappenberg
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