movies: AESTHETICS
   movies: NEWS & REVIEWS
   random art notes
   random how-tos
   research: MOTION GRAPHICS
   research: VISUAL MUSIC
   theory: working notes



Movies by Michael Betancourt
 Art of Light Organization
 Going Somewhere
 exhibitions [pdf]
 purchase artworks




archives begin in 1996


Anti-Formalist Glitches

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 26, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


​A potential revealation of the materiality of the digital is thus only one part of what the digital glitch might present: the other part is the utter dependence of all these technologies on the human social realm. The particular form of a digital work when rendered for human viewing/encounter makes the purpose of that particular data stream apparent, whether it is a movie, a piece of music, a text or anything else, the data itself is encoded for human purposes. The automatic nature of the digital device is of a different character than the autonomy of agency. The illusion that our devices function without our input, without responding to our desires and demands is a reflection of their design, and the functions these machines are constructed to achievethe superficially mysterious, perfect nature of the digitally manufactured, its magical aura, work to obscure the underlying physical reality of the digital and its subservience to human choices and agency. These foundations are all hidden within the aura of the digital, most especially the dependent relationship between the functioning of the digital technology and the demands made by the desires of human society (and provides its formal basis).

read more

The Limits of Utility

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 7, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


CTheory just published my new theory article on automation and the structural attempts of digital capitalism to keep the rate of profit from dropping. The Limits of Utiity develops a critical framework for the importance of utility in the production of value.

Object Lesson: Color Music

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 5, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

research: VISUAL MUSIC

in The Atlantic's Object Lessons series. My article on color organs is out.

The Dogs of Space in 17 Days, vol. 8

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 24, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


My movie, The Dogs of Space will be part of the next series: 17 Days, vol. 8, Day 12. This video series, curated by Adriane Little, screens the work of 17 video artists (one per day) continuously and simultaneously on two 50 plasma screens, one on the first floor and one on the second floor of the Richmond Center for Visual Art in the Atrium Gallery at Western Michigan University.

read more

Use, Value and ROI

story © Michael Betancourt | published August 20, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The problematics of value implicit in the productive shift from physical manufacture to the immaterial semiosis characteristic of digital production emerges from the historical expression of value as a storing of human labor in the tangible form of commodities. Any discussion of profit (surplus value) depends on this pair of integral conceptslabor and useboth of which rarely figure in discussions of digital technology and automation except in absentia: the immaterial production characteristic of High Frequency Trading software, digital automation linked to pervasive monitoring (characterizing the value of social networks generally), and the general complex of relationships between production, facture and labor in digital capitalism propose a production of values without the need for human involvement (either via labor or through use) as a solution to the falling rate of profit: the trajectory of automation offers the reduction-elimination of the variable costs presented by wages.

read more