Pandemic vision

It is one thing to think, speak, post about the coronavirus crisis as an occasion and a subject of media, visual, social and discursive production. This type of analytical-critical approach is well rehearsed. Based on the more or less well-functioning interplay of mental-cognitive reflexes, this methodology ensures that A is considered to be the expression, representation, metonymy, allegory, image, etc. of B, and thus observed accordingly. But it would be something quite different, if everything had to be looked at in a radically different way, if the phenomenologies of the crisis had to be revisited in order to check if they themselves have not been caught up in the crisis.

As sociologist and activist Sandro Mezzadra writes in a widely read and shared blog entry (in Italian on Euronomade, in English translation on the Verso homepage), this global pandemic and the measures taken by the Italian government against it are in fact “merely exacerbating tendencies that have already existed for a while”. Seen from this perspective the pandemic itself would have become an organ or a medium of perception. Ultimately, it would have brought to clear and brutal visibility what until recently had been covered up, ignored, overlooked (and had to be, since the ideological operating systems on which the capitalist world system ran until recently could not have been maintained).

So, what if the crisis is not the “image” of something else, but is itself enabling vision? What if the irreversible situation in which the “world community” is now being united, forced to reimagine itself, has entailed a sudden leap in visibility regarding the global accumulation of crises – not primarily as a result of tireless research, political organizing, artistic productions etc., but rather as correction of the collective sensorium on a gigantic scale? TH

March 20th, 2020 — Rosa Mercedes / 02
Interface

On Friday, April 6, 2021, at 8 p.m., Akademie Schloss Solitude will host a Zoom event with former HaFI Residency fellowship holder Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible” (2017). Moderated by Doreen Mende. To register, click here.

April 14th, 2021

The magazine MONOPOL currently features an interview (in German) with Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible,” which she conceived and shot during her HaFI residency in 2017.

April 14th, 2021

via Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”

 

Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”

 

Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020
moreless news