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On Digital Capitalism

This site presents extracts from Michael Betancourt's current research and writing projects, with news about current happenings. A portfolio of finished, published writing is posted here.

If you are looking for more on agnotology, digital capitalism or automated/immaterial labor, look at The Digital which presents my inks to my most recent published articles and other research on the political economy of digital capitalism:

  • The Aura of the Digital  [.pdf]

  • The Valorization of the Author  [.pdf]

  • Immaterial Value and Scarcity in Digital Capitalism   [.pdf]

  • Automated Labor: The New Aesthetic and Immaterial Physicality   [.pdf]

  • Bitcoin   [.pdf]

  • The Demands of Agnotology::Surveillance   [.pdf]

  • or download the free ebook, Agnotology and Crisis in Digital Capitalism   [.pdf]

    More articles and translations into Spanish, Portuguese and Greek are posted on



    Value and Use Value (a note)


    story ©  | September 22, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    A transformation in the nature of currency reflects underlying shifts in the nature of value production: the dominance of semiotic production has produced a shift in the function of currency from its historical foundation in preserving past labor (value) to being a lien against future production (a debt that acts to set labor in motion). This change in the nature of production—the rise of semiosis that is the primary technique of digital capitalism—has come to dominate value and the organization of labor, with the concomitant effect on the nature of currency. The shift this change entails is a rupture with both classically conceived value and Karl Marx’s own set of basic assumptions about the organization of labor. In these historical views value resides with labor already performed—preserved in the commodities thus generated, and whose value is linked to the use value that the commodity has. This construction brings human wants, needs and desires into the framework of valorization both directly (through the functional role of the commodity) and indirectly (through the consumer’s desire for the commodity, quite apart from its uses).

    The Digital

    read more

      OtherZine Issue 27: FRAME LINES is Out!

    story ©  | September 14, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    OtherZine 27 is now out!. I have an article in this issue, Motion Pictures- An Expanded Framework, that is a discussion of "formal" approaches to motion pictures.



      Artists' Television Access Fund Raising Campaign

    story ©  | August 27, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    In September Artists' Television Access in San Francisco celebrates its 30th birthday!

    They are currently having a fund-raising campaign: ATA needs a new projector and some improvements. They have launched an Indiegogo campaign to reach their goal of $15,000. This will help them with long term sustainability in terms of facilities and technology. They have a challenge grant from the San Francisco’s Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund (VACF) but it requires they raise matching funds to get it.

    You can donate here.



      Rey Parla Orders Pizza

    story ©  | August 24, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    My Movies


      My Moon Landing Movie

    story ©  | July 20, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    Since today is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, here is my Moon Landing movie:

    Contact Light is made from 19th and 20th century depictions of the Moon, Georges Méliès’ famous fantasy film from 1902, and the reality of Apollo 11 in 1969. The title comes from Buzz Aldrin saying, “Contact light. A very smooth touchdown.” heard at the end of my movie.

    My Movies


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      Surveillance, Agnotology, Security

    story ©  | July 17, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    My article that I started writing in 2007, begun before we had good confirmation of the NSA surveillance programs, could only be finished because of what we now know: The Demands of Agnotology::Surveillance addresses the complex links between surveillance, agnotology, and security:

    Surveillance is the logical antithesis of agnotology: it acts to produce certainty rather than uncertainty. 'Security' provides a far-reaching, nebulous justification for a range of actions, from expansions of surveillance (immaterial production) to war and imperialism (primitive accumulation). The periodic crashes of capitalism are a symptom of the overextension inherent in capitalism itself, however, moments of 'systemic failure' are not indicators that capitalism will implode; instead, what occurs is a retrenching that results in an expansion of capitalist processes into new domains.

    The Digital


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      Critical Glitches and Glitch Art

    story ©  | July 16, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    My article discussing the political economy of glitch art came out on Hz Journal today. It's a discussion of how we identify a glitch as being critical, and what this means for media art makers.



      Analysis of the Titles for Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965)

    story ©  | July 7, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    My article discussing the title sequence for Dorish Wishman's 1965 film Bad Girls Go To Hell is out on Bright Lights Film Journal.



      Fireplace movie

    story ©  | June 30, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    Just a bit of fun for the fireplace; it's a loop so feel free to set this on repeat.

    My Movies


      'Dreams That Money Can Buy' Book

    story ©  | May 1, 2014 | permalink | Google TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon MySpace   Print

    Hans Richter's 1947 film Dreams That Money Can Buy (available for download here) was accompanied by a 24 page soft cover book with a collage on the cover by Max Ernst, and illustrated throughout with photographs from the color film. This book is relatively expensive to own, but is a very valuable source of information on the film, including materials on/by all of Richter's collaborators.

    download a pdf here



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