He has developed an analysis of what new media futurists call the " attention economy " within a Marxist approach to production that forefronts looking as labor. This conversion of spectating, generally conceived as a consumer activity, into a socially productive activity depends on the establishing of media as a worksite of global production. Today, mass media functions as a deterritorialized factory, where the maintenance and retooling of a transnational, transsubjective infrastructure composed of human beings, factories, cottage industries, service sectors, as well as programmed software and electronic hardware is essential to the valorization of capital. The cinematicity of objects is harnassed as an alternative force and used to intensify production.
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He has developed an analysis of what new media futurists call the " attention economy " within a Marxist approach to production that forefronts looking as labor. This conversion of spectating, generally conceived as a consumer activity, into a socially productive activity depends on the establishing of media as a worksite of global production.
Today, mass media functions as a deterritorialized factory, where the maintenance and retooling of a transnational, transsubjective infrastructure composed of human beings, factories, cottage industries, service sectors, as well as programmed software and electronic hardware is essential to the valorization of capital. The cinematicity of objects is harnassed as an alternative force and used to intensify production.
The cinema and its technological descendants extract the labor for the maintenance and calibration of the social totality. Without television, as well as fax-modems, telephones, computers and digitized, computerized money, production would grind to a halt. Each of these media burrows its way into the flesh of the globe. Beller lays out the case that it is not obsolete but that both it and our historical moment have been misunderstood.
It seems as if the word digital would sum up our entire life situation now because everything is digitized. Everything passes through the computer and the computer mediation, and we all know that. However, it is important to understand that the digital is in fact an abbreviation for a very complex set of social processes which means nothing less than a world system.
It takes the entire organization of the world to produce the digital and the digital is now dialectically implicated in whatever else that world is. In fact if one thinks seriously about digitality, one can recognize that the contemporary sense of digital culture is really only the second version, the first being capital itself. He argues that the fascination with technology can disguise continuity and that "one has to see the technology itself as coming out of the prior sedimentation of dead labour The earlier forms of exploitation are intensified and continued by the current forms of the removal of value.
Two billion people live on two dollars a day. The current levels of poverty are higher than ever before, and therefore we are dealing with a kind of immiseration which is distinctly modern, or post-modern. What is the role of digitality in that? Acquiring Eyes, his second published book, is on this topic.
The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle
Re-posted from Kulturpunkt. Thanks to Tanja Vrvilo and Film Mutations. KP: The Cinematic Mode of Production is the term by which you seem to be introducing a new order of intelligibility into the historical experience of looking and, more broadly, living under capitalism. What is the relationship between the capitalist mode of production and cinematic mode production? It seemed to me what was really going on now, with the flattening of language, the disappearance of the real and the rise of simulation and virtuality, was a shift in not just the metaphysics but the physics of production.
The Cinematic Mode of Production
This process, he says, underpins the current global economy. By exploring a set of films made since the late s, Beller argues that, through cinema, capital first posits and then presupposes looking as a value-productive activity. He argues that cinema, as the first crystallization of a new order of media, is itself an abstraction of assembly-line processes, and that the contemporary image is a politico-economic interface between the body and capitalized social machinery. Where factory workers first performed sequenced physical operations on moving objects in order to produce a commodity, in the cinema, spectators perform sequenced visual operations on moving montage fragments to produce an image. Beller develops his argument by highlighting various innovations and film texts of the past century. These innovations include concepts and practices from the revolutionary Soviet cinema, behaviorism, Taylorism, psychoanalysis, and contemporary Hollywood film. He thus develops an analysis of what amounts to the global industrialization of perception that today informs not only the specific social functions of new media, but also sustains a violent and hierarchical global society.
Media Studies Review quote Columbia College Today" CHOICE" "By critically studying films made since the late s, the author argues that, through cinema, perception and looking has been construed by capital as a value-productive activity. His use of classic and contemporary film theory is ingenious. Despite their conceptual familiarity, the dire conclusions that Beller draws are compelling because the book effectively offers a detailed historical elaboration, through a more material engagement with cinema. That is, a great part of its value lies precisely in the ways in which it works to historicize cultural transitions whose visibility is equally dependent upon broader theories of social change. As his discussion of Soviet cinema should make clear, Beller explicitly argues that the image and its mode of organization is both philosophical and practically oriented. It speaks to and about the very work it happens to be performing. As such, it makes clear how works of mass art make figural depictions of the things they will actually effect, whether cognitively or analogically.