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Movies by Michael Betancourt


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Bitcoin and the Political Economy

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 18, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

Digital Capitalism

My analysis of Bitcoin has been published on CTheory.

What is apparent in Bitcoin is a dramatic reification of capitalist ideologies and valorization of commercial exchanges as the currency itself (new Bitcoins are mined through the exchange of existing Bitcoins) in a direct expression of the capitalist imperative to expand into new domains: the valorization of social activities -- such as friendship circles, browsing in a bookstore, or shopping without purchasing -- becomes valuable as the "authorship" already present in social media is taken to its logical conclusion as the Bitcoin.


Incite #4 Fundraising to Print the next issue

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 22, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Incite has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the printing of Issue #4, their largest, most ambitious to date, which runs until early July.

About the Issue:

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Experiments in Cinema 8.53 Festival DVD

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 16, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


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.


Dancing Glitch screening @ MUFF 8

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 13, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


My movie Dancing Glitch, nominated for a Jury Prize, will be showing in the Montreal Underground Film Festival 8 "Caffinated Jitterbugs" program. The MUFF 8 website has the showtimes.

The festival runs from May 24 to 26.


Agnotology and the 'Free Market'

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 10, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

Digital Capitalism

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.

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A Message from Hank Rudolph at Signal Culture

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 27, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Signal Culture, a new not-for-profit media arts organization, is rapidly approaching the final week of fundraising.

If you havent already donated, please take a look:

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Experiments in Cinema 8.53 showing Antag|Protag

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 9, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


This year's Experiments in Cinema Festival will be showing my movie Antag|Protag (2012) in the first screening in this year's program:

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My New Book is Now Available for Purchase

story © Michael Betancourt | published February 7, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


My book, The History of Motion Graphics: From Avant-Garde to Industry in the United States, is now available on

There is also a hard cover edition, appropriate for libraries....


Immaterial Physicality and Marx

story © Michael Betancourt | published February 6, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

Digital 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 anotherfrom 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.


Glitches in Art

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 20, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

Glitch & Postdigital

This is an excerpt from a new article (slated for publication in Hz no 19) on the use of glitches in art, and how that use related to a critically engaged media practice:

The term glitch art is an attempt to distinguish between the specific use of glitches in an artwork as opposed to those happening spontaneously in non-art contexts/works: it is also a term that describes a particular media practice identified as being critically engaged. However, the distinction between an unpremeditated technical failure, unstable and transitory, and the use of audio-or-visual artifacts that coincide with these incidental errors, stable and repeatably a part of a finished work may be difficult to identify when encountered in a work since they can (and in artistic practice often are) indistinguishable; the ontological origins of any particular glitch are not necessary apparent in the form of the glitch itself. Various writers on glitch art have proposed terms to identify this ontological distinction between a transitory technical failure (always called glitch) and other variants that are then given a different designation, but which may have the same formglitch-alike (Morandi), domesticated glitch (Menkman). These distinctions are problematic in art, as theorist Curt Cloninger has observed: The term glitch art might apply to all domesticated glitches and all wild glitches that have been captured and recontextualized as art. The might opens the potential scope of glitch art beyond simply those glitches captured in a recording to include wild glitches orchestrated to occur on demand within a specific performace. Digital technology itself, based in sampling, enables the apparently perfect reproduction that is the hypothetical norm which allows the identification of the glitch. What is produced by the immaterial processing of digital technology is an always perfect new example of the work in question, made specifically for the moment of encounter; it is an original. This human-readable form is a pure product of the digitized samples (data) transformed by the decoding protocol. Glitch art is a reflection of how artists have engaged with this underlying structure by looking for, producing or exploiting the errors emergent in any complex system.

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