Seán Cubitt: Distributed Networks, Dispersed Subjects: Exploitation as Extraction
Deciphering the new conditions of attention as labour and as value, the real subsumption of consumption under capital and the colonisation of affect leads me back to questions of abstraction. Abstraction has one meaning as distraction (‘an abstracted gaze’); a second meaning as a form of art; a third in the use of concepts to categorise multiple events; and a fourth, perhaps now dominant, as the practice of extracting data from everyday flux. Contemporary networks and their users enable all these forms of abstraction. My question is whether these modes of abstraction alter older subject-object relations, positively or negatively, and what implications they have for the distinction between society and nature.
Seán Cubitt is Professor of Screen Studies at the University of Melbourne. His publications include The Cinema Effect, Ecomedia, The Practice of Light, Finite Media and Anecdotal Evidence. Series editor for Leonardo Books at MIT Press, his current research is on political aesthetics, ecocritique, and practices of truth.