Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spectacular Agency - A political theory for everyone and no one

April has been a crazy month!

First I presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology's annual meeting in Merida, Mexico.
Then we headed off to Grenoble, France for our dear friends' wedding (felicitations!)
Next week I will be presenting two papers at the Southern Sociology Society's annual meeting.
Last week my best friend got hitched (congratulations, y'all!), and I presented this paper at the North Georgia Student Philosophy Conference.

Those of you that are reading my weekly popOp articles at the avant guardian will recognize some of these images. The popOp writings are my practice for preparing my thesis for The European Graduate School, and what's included here is the outline of my central hypothesis:
Guy Debord, in The Society of the Spectacle, stated that the spectacle, the idiomatic mode of human relatedness in late Western modernity, is presented as an instrument of unification, but, “the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of generalized separation.” This model of sociality, problematic in itself, troubles the possibility of sovereignty. Nonetheless, the works of Debord and the Situationist International have received much-deserved attention in the last decade precisely because investigating spectaclist economic relations provides an evocative analytic for palpating the contours of that new mode of agency required in the fruition of globalization. In this paper is discussed the commodification of memory by examining appropriation-based art practices (e.g. Girl Talk or Kutiman's “Thru You”) and appropriation-based activism (Anonymous) with an eye toward developing further the possibility of agency within these increasingly-isolating relations.
I am calling this mode of sovereignty "spectacular agency," and what follows are some considerations of the sites of this mode of sovereignty as well as a (brief) consideration of the possibility of political action within this mode.

Here's the slide show that went with the talk - apologies, but scribd doesn't share the animations that were present in the original so some of the comedic effect is lost.

Sites of Spectacular Agency: A political theory for everyone and no one

11 comments:

  1. great job, paul! i love the images, very original.
    i was thinking, what about "agencies" in the plural? there are zilions of different kinds of aesthetic agencies achieving different ends... ?

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