Monday, February 18, 2013

Hitchcock in the Age of Psychopharmacology and Finance: On Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh is a somewhat mercurial director. He more or less started "independent film" with Sex, Lies, and Videotape in 1989, but then went on to spend subsequent decades making everything from Julia Robert's star vehicles to a two part epic about Che Guevara. Soderbergh seemed to be at times deliberately avoiding the trappings of the auteur to cultivate the idea of a jack of all trades that shifted from the bloated star vehicles of Ocean's Eleven to the intentional obscurity of Bubble, adapting everything from Elmore Leonard to Franz Kafka in between.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Deviant Gesture Catalog: Between Mechanization and Spectacle

Lately I have been interested in the question of gesture. This interest is framed by two different lines of inquiry. The first, and dominant, one is in the transindividual dimension of gestures, or, perhaps gesture as a way of both illustrating and examining transindividuality. While gesture is not specifically named by Gilbert Simondon, the dominant theorist of transindividuality,  there is a great deal of interest in it by Paolo Virno, Bernard Stiegler, Yves Citton--although only the last specifically names it as such. The general problem is the same, however, gestures, habits, and comportments are both the constitution of collectives and individuals. Gestures mark one's historical moment, one's class, nation, and other groupings, but also define and delimite a singular way of inhabiting the world. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Imaginary Institution of Realpolitik: Or, When Theory Becomes Practice

Hegel wrote that all events in history occur twice, he forgot to add: the first time as theory, the second as reality. This is of course not the famous passage from Marx, but it did occur to me in thinking about contemporary politics. For decades, at least throughout the eighties and nineties, there was a great deal of attention paid to "the imaginary." This imaginary was approached from multiple angles, with multiple theoretical sources, Lacan, Spinoza, Castoriadis, and qualified alternately as social, political, and historical. However, this work, the work on the politics of the imaginary was left to comparative literature departments and continental philosophers. Real politics, it was claimed, were always elsewhere, where competing interests and perspectives debated.