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October 21, 2015

Theories of Technology and the Production of Value from Everyday Life: video program by Andrew McKinney

Art & Education
Video stills in order of appearance: (1) “Tiziana Terranova: Capture All Work,” January 2015. (2) “Christian Fuchs: Raymond Williams, Herbert Marcuse, and Dallas Smythe in the Age of Social Media,” May 2015. (3) “Bernard Stiegler: Digital Inquiry Symposium Keynote,” April 2012. (4) “Jonathan Beller: The Digital Ideology,” November 2009.

Presenting lectures by Bernard Stiegler, David Harvey, Tiziana Terranova, Jonathan Beller and Christian Fuchs, Andrew McKinney’s Video School concerns the relationship between technology, human labor, and everyday life in late capitalism. The program explores the differences and overlaps of each thinker’s approach to the question of grammatization and the machinic recuperation of human labor and its impact on the production of value.

 

Bernard Stiegler: Digital Inquiry Symposium Keynote
UC Berkeley Center For New Media (April 27, 2012)

Exploring themes that have informed much of his prodigious oeuvre, Bernard Stiegler’s lecture focuses on the role of technics in the evolution of the human and what he calls the pharmacological nature of humanity’s relationship to their use. Technics, for Stiegler, are the practices and tools that accomplish the originary human need for the exteriorization of thought, which in and of itself constitutes the enhancement of the human. Stiegler argues, with great force, that technics are intertwined with the evolutionary necessities of hominization (the process of becoming human). If we follow, it should be no surprise that in our technologically advanced, digital society in late-capitalism, everyday life—the very process of the reproduction of ourselves—should be grammatized, archived, and commodified.

 

David Harvey: Reading Capital Vol. 1, chapter 15, part 1
CUNY Graduate Center (Recorded in fall 2008)

In this lecture, part of the larger Reading Capital series filmed at the City University of New York Graduate Center, David Harvey examines Marx’s theory of social change, the role that technology plays in this theory, and how the interconnected “moments” of the societal process are deeply affected by the introduction of new technologies.

 

Tiziana Terranova: “Capture All Work” (Keynote)
Transmediale (January 29, 2015)

In this talk given at Transmediale 2015 in Berlin, Tiziana Terranova discusses her concept of “free labor” more than a decade after she first theorized the production of value from digitally enabled activity (much of which was previously not understood as labor) in the early ’00s. Returning to the terms of neoclassical economics, Terranova points out that the marginal cost of information is close to zero, while at the same time the cost of labor in social networks is also near zero. Value in this situation comes from what she calls a “computational surplus of code: social analytics as technique for the translation of social values into market values.”

 

Jonathan Beller: “The Digital Ideology”
Internet as Playground and Factory Conference
The New School (November 13, 2009)

Jonathan Beller’s talk starts with a consideration of the rapid change in the power of the sign function. Beller’s emphasis on the image and image-producing technology differentiates him from Stiegler, and in some ways Terranova, in that he sees the digital as not merely the endgame of language itself but also a visual regime. This digital ideology, according to Beller, includes both Silicon Valley utopian libertarianism and “the Italians,” with their embrace of capital’s tendency towards the radical reduction of the value of labor power and the pure abstraction of financialization. Both ends of the digital ideological spectrum elide the existence of a global underclass crushed underfoot.

 

Christian Fuchs: “Raymond Williams, Herbert Marcuse, and Dallas Smythe in the Age of Social Media”
MaMa, Zagreb (May 9, 2015)

In this talk, Christian Fuchs details the work of Raymond Williams, Herbert Marcuse, and Dallas Smythe as it relates to his research on digital labor, the value-production of social media, and the impact of all this on the relationship between technological communication and anticapitalist revolution. The talk covers some of the theoretical underpinnings of his last two books, and attempts to craft a critical understanding of the deep impact that the internet has had on the structure of capitalism, both at the level of political economy and ideology.

 

Andrew G. McKinney is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research considers Internet enabled sports fan labor as the bellwether of the rapidly changing landscape of digital political economy.

 

Video School features lectures and conversations chosen by artists and thinkers on issues relevant to their practice and/or contemporary artistic discourse. Organized thematically and highlighting current topics, Video School responds to the proliferation of educational videos circulating online selecting content pertinent to viewers.

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