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 Going Somewhere
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archives begin in 1996


for 'Excavating Transcendence'

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 8, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The Modernist desire for transcendence common to abstraction and abstract art generally is an attempt to escape from the physical repressions of industrial capitalism, a translation of the alienation of capitalist social valorization into a rejection and alienation from physicality. This erasure of the physical world from consideration becomes internalized as the aura of the digital's effacement of concern with physicality and matierial restrictions, giving these rejections an esoteric, theological significance as an appeal to and instantiation of an immaterial realm accessed through the digital computer.

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notes on 'The Fantasy of Equivalence'

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 7, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


An erasure of ontological distinctions plays a crucial role in the commodification of human labor as an assumption of equivalence between not only differently skilled labor, but the products of that labor: that the variable quality of production does not figure into its valuations. This basis is innate to the question Karl Marx addresses at the start of his analysis, Why is labor represented by the value of its product (commodities), and labor time by the magnitude of that value?, which reveals equivalence as a foundational, even necessary part of the definition of capitalism. Although exchange value arises from social activity, it is at the same time dependent on the suspension of differenceequivalence reifies the commodity form as an abstraction apart from its materiality, a separation that recalls the aura of the digitalreturning digital capitalism to its origins in the industrial labor. Marxs analytic enshrines equivalence by setting aside distinctions between high and low quality, as well as between skilled and unskilled labor, in order to advance an abstraction of that productive process that depended on the assumption of the interchangeability of commodities, labor, and capital. His disregard for the material and qualitative differences between commodities mirrored the labor-intensive manufacturing processes of the period when he developed his critique: the concern with the productive capabilities of labor as a constraint on production provides a literal limit on quantity, valuation, and quality of the productive labor performed, for example, by the unskilled child labor employed in the factories Marx was considering. This issuechild laboris an implicit and unacknowledged component assumption for his analytic, one that simultaneously passes without comment in its construction but that guides the conclusions he derives.

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Fake News and Agnotology

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 6, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The emergence of the fake news phenomenon in the United States during 2016 and 2017 demonstrates the political applications of agnotology, quite apart from its structural role in maintaining digital capitalism. In being used for obviously political ends, agnotology reveals its foundations in equivalence: a social relations and assumptions, whether between instances of type, qualitatively distinct actions, or in divergent forms of immaterial (intellectual) labor are symptoms of the expansive semiotic processes of digital capitalism.

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Peripheral ARTeries Interview about Going Somewhere

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 6, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

movies: NEWS & REVIEWS

The interview about Going Somewhere begins on page 32 [pdf].

Kritik des digitalen Kapitalismus

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 12, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The German translation of The Critique of Digital Capitalism is available for pre-order from the publisher, WBG Verlag!

Die grten, erfolgreichsten und mchtigsten Unternehmen unserer Zeit sind lngst nicht mehr nur im klassischen produzierenden Gewerbe zu finden. Der atemberaubende Erfolg von Firmen wie Facebook oder Google beruht auf der Bereitstellung immaterieller Dienstleitungen, insbesondere aber auf der Sammlung von Daten.

Mit seiner Kritik des digitalen Kapitalismus legt Michael Betancourt eine scharfe Analyse dieser neuen konomischen Verhltnisse vor und beleuchtet deren Eigenschaften und Probleme. Von der vermeintlichen Demokratisierung der Gesellschaft durch die freie Verfgbarkeit von Informationen ber die Illusion der kostenfreien, weil nicht physischen Herstellung digitaler Produkte bis zur Neudefinition des Verhltnisses materieller und immaterieller Gter: Betancourt setzt sich mit den Begleiterscheinungen der digitalen Wirtschaft auseinander, die schon lngst unser Leben bestimmen und prgen.