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 excerpts from a book on digital capitalism that I am currently revising that builds on my published articles:
My movie Antag | Protag is included in the Experiments in Cinema 8.53 Festival DVD set. Every year the festival releaases a DVD with movies shown in their programs, allowing people who couldn't make it to see what was shown. I think this is a great idea and I wish more festivals would do something similar.
Capitalism itself is reified in the idealized “free market” as the necessary (and natural) order of the world in the conception of ‘market competition’ as a variant of Darwinian natural selection (evolution); agnotology is the creation of uncertainty and ambivalent ‘fact’; it is a competitive tool incompatible with the idealized “free market” of capitalism.
My new article "Automated Labor: The ‘New Aesthetic’ and Immaterial Physicality" is now in print on CTheory.
This essay considers Karl Marx' short essay ‘The Fragment on Machines’ and its relationship to digital automation. The ‘new aesthetic’ described by James Bridle is a typical example of this new, automated labor beginning to impact the physical world and provides a reference point for the examination of ‘The Fragment on Machines’: Marx divided labor into three categories (means, material and living labor) that is in the process of being reorganized by digital automated systems (in both immaterial labor and physical production forms). This reorganization forces an underlying paradox in capitalism into focus, foregrounding the mismatch between a capitalist productive system and the consumer society required to maintain that system, a paradox that emerges precisely because exchange value emerges from the relationship between one commodity and another—from the exchange of a commodity for the acquisition of another: human labor is the underlying commodity required by this entire system, a commodity rendered obsolete by digital automation; the ‘new aesthetic’ provides physical examples of this transition-in-progress.