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by Michael Betancourt
 

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

His book, Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing, or, the Cinematic Displacement of Time, Motion and Space, concerned with the results of a 25-year long studio-based research project will be published by Focal Press.

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

The Critique of Digital Capitalism identifies how digital technology has captured contemporary society in a reification of capitalist priorities. The theory proposed in this book is the description of how digital capitalism as an ideologically “invisible” framework is realized in technology.

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


 



Glitch Art in Theory and Practice

story ©  | published May 20, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Glitch

My new book Glitch Art in Theory and Practice: Critical Failures and Post-Digital Aesthetics has been officially announced on the Routledge website! (152 pages | 35 B/W Illus.) Preorder on amazon.com.

Glitch Art in Theory and Practice: Critical Failures and Post-Internet Art explores the concept of "glitch" alongside contemporary digital political economy to develop a general theory of critical media using glitch as a case study and model, focusing specifically on examples of digital art and aesthetics. While prior literature on glitch practice in visual arts has been divided between historical discussions and social-political analyses, this work provides a rigorous, contemporary theoretical foundation and framework.


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EXPERIMENTS IN CINEMA 11.4 - Showtime for my movie

story ©  | published April 4, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Shows

You can see The Dogs of Space at the Experiments in Cinema 11.4 Festival, screening at the Guild Cinema in Program #1 on Tuesday, April 5 at 4pm.

Guild Cinema
3405 Central Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM
Tel: 505-255-1848





 

Alienation and Autonomous Machineries

story ©  | published April 2, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



The Digital

By considering how machine labor as an extension of human action--as the mechanical amplification of human labor--becomes the digital, the machine does not augment but supplant. This removal of the “human intermediary” whose importance "Taylorism" (aka "scientific management," proposed in The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911) removes from production (assembly-line labor is instrumental, not intelligent) is part of a continuous trajectory from tasks organized around repetitive action (itself an organization that implies semiotic disassembly and standardization) into the automation of actions in digital automation where computers leave only a limited role for humans. Taylor’s approach elides the individual’s expertise in performing their work, replacing it with decisions made by management--in the process eliminating their agency. This transformation renders human labor an appendage to the production process, necessary but incidental to the activity being performed—actions that are prescribed and fully delimited in advance of the work being done. It transforms the labor into an unintelligent rendering of managerial agency as the thinking required in production is no longer the domain of labor. For Taylor’s analysis the human decision is the “problem” to be removed from the production process, just as human labor (in the form of wages) is the expense that must be minimized to maintain profitability.


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CROSSROADS 2016 - Showtimes for my movies

story ©  | published April 1, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Shows

You can see my movies at the Crossroads Festival at the San Francisco Cinematheque in Program #1: The Dark Rift screening Friday, April 1 at 7pm, and Program #3: The Dogs of Space screening Saturday, April 2 at 1pm.

San Francisco Cinematheque
2961 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: 415-863-7576





 

Keiser Report, Episodes 894 & 895 on Digital Capitalism

story ©  | published March 31, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



The Digital

Max Keiser interviews me about my book The Critique of Digital Capitalism in the Keiser Report, Episodes 894 and 895:


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Order my book - Beyond Spatial Montage - now in print!

story ©  | published March 20, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Aesthetics

My 25-year long project concerned with windowing and collage/spatial montage is now available on amazon.com. Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing, or the Cinematic Displacement of Time, Motion, and Space offers an extended discussion of the morphology and structure of compositing, graphic juxtapositions, and montage employed in motion pictures. Drawing from the history of avant-garde and commercial cinema, as well as studio-based research, this study critiques both cinematic realism and Manovich's proposal of "spatial montage." This new taxonomic framework for conceptualizing linkages between media art and narrative cinema opens new areas of experimentation for today’s film editors, motion designers, and other media artists.

You can read a preview here.





 

Crossroads 2016 & Experiments in Cinema 11.4

story ©  | published March 13, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Shows

I have some movies showing in upcoming festivals:

Crossroads program 1 Friday, April 1 at 7pm

Crossroads program 3 Saturday, April 2 at 1pm

Experiments in Cinema 11.4 April 5–10, 2016





 

The Critique of Digital Capitalism

story ©  | published January 11, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



The Digital

My book is now out from Punctum Books, and available on amazon.com. Running 265 pages, this volume collects and expands my critical theory essays pubished over the past decade:

Introduction
​1​ The Ideology of Automation
​2 ​The Emergence of Immaterial Physicality
​3​ The Aura of the Digital
​4​ The Immaterial Commodity
​5​ The Valorization of the Author
​6​ The ‘Black Box’ of Past Experience
​7​ The State of Information
​8​ The Demands of Agnotology::Surveillance
​9 ​The Scarcity of Capital
​10​ On Immaterialism

The critique introduced in this book develops from basic questions about how digital technologies directly change the structure of society: why is “Digital Rights Management” not only the dominant “solution” for distributing digital information, but also the only option being considered? During the burst of the “Housing Bubble” burst 2009, why were the immaterial commodities being traded of primary concern, but the actual physical assets and the impacts on the people living in them generally ignored? How do surveillance (pervasive monitoring) and agnotology (culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data) coincide as mutually reinforcing technologies of control and restraint? If technology makes the assumptions of its society manifest as instrumentality — then what ideology is being realized in the form of the digital computer? This final question animates the critical framework this analysis proposes.


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Abstract Photographs

story ©  | published December 27, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



New Releases

I made a series of fully abstract darkroom images between 1989 and 1994 that are available in a book from Amazon.com.

They represent an aggressively edited sample of what began as a darkroom experiment with solarization that expanded, to include photograms, but ultimately eliminated physical objects entirely to create complex visual imagery from chemical flows and pure light. The abstract images this process created are unique, produced without the intervention of camera or negative.





 

Notes on Marginality

story ©  | published December 26, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Aesthetics

The issue is basic survival and continued possibilities for carrying on with what one does. Marginal is thus about displaced actions that continue with neither recognition nor official sanction.


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