Redundant Photographs: Cameras, Software and Human Obsolescence

Daniel Palmer, ‘Redundant Photographs: Cameras, Software and Human Obsolescence’, pp.47-65, in:

Rubenstein, D., Golding, J., Fisher, A., 2013. On the verge of photography: imaging beyond representation. Article Press, Birmingham, UK.

p.47

The history of photography is also a history of automation.

p.48

Needless to say, the primary aim of automation is to reduce human labour time (related to a secondary aim of removing human error). Indeed, certain kinds of cameras today – such as those designed to identify car number plates – need no regular human operator at all.

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The Photograph as Post-Industrial Object

Vilém Flusser. ‘The Photograph as Post-Industrial Object: An Essay on the Ontological Standing of Photographs’ Leonardo, 19:4, 329-332, 1986

p.329

The Latin term ‘objectum’ and its Greek equivalent ‘problema’ mean ‘thrown against’, which implies that there is something against which the object is thrown: a ‘subject’. As subjects, we face a universe of objects, of problems, which are somehow hurled against us. This opposition is dynamic. The objects approach the subject, they come from the future into the subject’s presence.

The shock between subject and object occurs over the abyss of alienation which separates the two. The present tendency is to relegate this shock from human subjects to automatic apparatus. Automatic cameras may serve as an example.

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The Affective Turn

Patricia T Clough, 2008. The Affective Turn: Political Economy, Biomedia and Bodies. Theory, Culture & Society 25, 1–22.

p.1

The turn to affect points instead to a dynamism immanent to bodily matter and matter generally – matter’s capacity for self-organization in being in-formational – which, I want to argue, may be the most provocative and enduring contribution of the affective turn.

pp.1-2

Yet, many of the critics and theorists who turned to affect often focused on the circuit from affect to emotion, ending up with subjectively felt states of emotion – a return to the subject as the subject of emotion. I want to turn attention instead to those critics and theorists who, indebted to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Baruch Spinoza and Henri Bergson, conceptualize affect as pre-individual bodily forces augmenting or diminishing a body’s capacity to act and who critically engage those technologies that are // making it possible to grasp and to manipulate the imperceptible dynamism of affect.

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Philosophy, Sexism, Emotion, Rationalism

Nina Power, ‘Philosophy, Sexism, Emotion, Rationalism’, pp.17-26, in:

Kolozova, K., Joy, E.A., 2016. After the “speculative turn”: Realism, philosophy and feminism. Punctum Books, Earth, Milky Way.

p.17

Philosophy, by virtue of being the most universal subject, the most generic art, cannot imagine that there is something which it cannot capture or has not always already captured, one way or another.

pp.17-18

I will ultimately agree with the Xenofeminist manifesto when it states that “[r]ationalism must itself be a feminism” and with the Gender Nihilist text when it argues that the subversion of gender is a dead-end. I want only to add // that what usually gets sidelined and undermined as “emotion,” and is frequently gendered as feminine or female, is also itself a rationalism, and that emotion and reason are in fact not mortal enemies, but rather inseparable branches of the collective experience of social and political life that Philosophy purports to address.

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After Life

Patricia MacCormack, ‘After Life’, pp.177-187, in:

MacCormack, P. (Ed.), 2014. The animal catalyst: towards ahuman theory. Bloomsbury Academic, London; New York.

p.177

For oppressive machines, the ahuman aberrant is required to isomorphically raise the status of the majoritarian, and the future hurtling posthuman’s future is only as a cog in that operation of ascension. Ecosophical and ecominoritarian elements of ahuman theories seek to alter this monodirectional system.

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The Animal Catalyst

Patricia MacCormack, ‘Introduction’, pp.1-12, in:

MacCormack, P. (Ed.), 2014. The animal catalyst: towards ahuman theory. Bloomsbury Academic, London; New York.

p.1

The animal conundrum begins with the ‘we’ that we are as human animals – so like nonhuman animals but so unlike, depending on which rhetoric benefits humans at any given time.

No longer seeking inclusion, no longer validating the phantasized attractiveness of majoritarian concerns, emphasizing interconnected affectivity, The Animal Catalyst understands the word ‘animal’ as nothing more than organic life, which is shared between myriad organisms, their expressions and affects, and nothing less than an absolute refusal of the word in all its incarnations (too often incantations): ‘human’.

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Deleuze and Machines: A Politics of Technology?

William Bogard, ‘Deleuze and Machines: A Politics of Technology?’, pp.15-31, in:

Poster, M., Savat, D. (Eds.), 2009. Deleuze and new technology, Deleuze connections. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

p.15

Deleuze is not so much interested in questioning technology, like Heidegger, as in articulating, along with Guattari, a problem about machines.

Deleuze and Guattari’s problematisations of machines lead them, by contrast, to a concept of a multiplicity without an essence – or better, with a ‘nomadic’ essence1 – a complex configuration of machinic and enunciative elements called an ‘assemblage’.

The problem of machines is not Heidegger’s question of technology: Is there a possible escape from Enframing? Can technology save the world before it annihilates it? For Deleuze, there is neither an essential ‘saving power’ nor a nihilism of machines. Safety and danger are matters of experimenting with assemblages, with their compositional forms.

It is not a question of an essence of technology, but of what Deleuze and Guattari call an abstract machine, a machine immanent in assemblages that both integrates them and opens them to an outside, to counterforces that break them down.

According to Deleuze and Guattari, assemblages have a dual form: a ‘form of content’, that is, a machinic form composed of variably fixed matters and energetic components; and a ‘form of expression’ or ‘enunciation’ consisting of statements and articulated functions.

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The real terror of Instagram

Crano, R., 2018. ‘The real terror of Instagram: Death and disindividuation in the social media scopic field’. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 135485651775036. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517750364

p.2

Well beyond photography’s mere digitization, we now have recourse to nuanced notions of the live, networked, and algorithmic image. Such concepts, and the methodological ambits that emerge alongside them, situate contemporary photography, appropriately, within broader trends of and discourses on participatory culture, user-generated content, and ‘prosumption’.

What I would like to do here, in part, is to further contextualize this participatory turn – in culture generally and in photography specifically – alongside broader socioeconomic transformations and emergent techniques of capitalist subject-formation and exploitation.

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On the mode of existence of technical objects

Gilbert Simondon, ‘Introduction’, pp.15-21, in:

Simondon, G., 2016. On the mode of existence of technical objects. Univocal Pub, Minneapolis, MN.

p.15

Culture has constituted itself as a defense system against technics; yet this defense presents itself as a defense of man, and presumes that technical objects do not contain a human reality within them.

We would like to show that culture ignores a human reality within technical reality and that, in order to fully play its role, culture must incorporate technical beings in the form of knowledge and in the form of a sense of values

The opposition drawn between culture and technics, between man and machine, is false and has no foundation; it is merely a sign of ignorance or resentment.

Behind a facile humanism, it masks a reality rich in human efforts and natural forces, and which constitutes a world of technical objects as mediators between man and nature.

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