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Movies by Michael Betancourt
 Going Somewhere
 exhibitions [pdf]




archives begin in 1996

avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory
by Michael Betancourt

This site presents extracts from Michael Betancourt's current research and writing projects, with news about current developments. A portfolio of finished, published writing is available here.

His trilogy of studies on film theory using title sequences as a model uniting avant-garde, documentary and commercial motion pictures were published in the Routledge Studies in Media Theory and Practice series: Semiotics and Title Sequences, Synchronization and Title Sequences, and Title Sequences as Paratexts.

If you are looking for more on agnotology, digital capitalism or automated/immaterial labor, look at The Digital, which presents links to his most recently published articles and other research on the political economy of digital capitalism contained in his book The Critique of Digital Capitalism. This analysis identifies how digital technology has captured contemporary society in a reification of capitalist priorities. The theory proposed in this book is the description of how digital capitalism as an ideologically invisible framework is realized in technology.

You can watch his movies here.

More articles, reviews, interviews, and translations are posted on


The "Editing" Question - updated

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 21, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

theory: working notes

Various internet-based companies are protected from liability for the content they deliver to their customers based on the idea that they arent editing or producing that material. However, the question that algorithmic-based delivery and sorting should be raising is whether that activity does constitute editing: it selects what and when to show things and to whom, not based on a user-originated request or a blank selection such as chronology (putting the most recent things first, regardless of who they are from), but based on some unknown metric that only the company really controls: conceptually this action sounds like an autonomous version of an Editor (even if it is one generated by using pervasive monitoring to watch the customer).

minor update:

Censorship by online companies such as Facebook or any other "distribution platform" should be recognized for what it is: a tacit and explicit admission of their editorial decisions and activities. If they are to be regarded as merely conveyors of information, useful and interesting, to an audience that is also in the business of posting and creating that same information. For the company to then interpose itself as more than simply a disinterested platform, then why are they concerned with what the material posted by their audiences is? If they are not engaged in editorial decisions, as they consistently claim, then there should be no issues around censorship or other content-based selections at all.

Social Media and "Privacy"

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 21, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


What is the most surprising and shocking part of the #deletefacebook debacle is that anyone is surprised by the hoarding and misuse of customer data, regardless of whatever "privacy" provisions might be in place. Social media (in fact, all digital companies) depend on accessing and collecting as much personal data about their users as possible (this is true of all digital companies, not just Facebook, but data acquired from Google searches as well as any use of any website that collects and saves data) because that data is the company's primary asset. This leads to ever expanding and more intrusive data collection and gives the company in question a motive to periodically reset their customer's privacy selections to the most permissive options. Just as with automated editing that selects and presents customized information to a single audience member, the presentation of ads also demands the same monitoring and collection of data.

Now Available - Kritik des digitalen Kapitalismus

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 20, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Jetzt im Verkauf: 29.95 bestellen Sie Ihre Kopie direkt beim Verlag

Aus dem Engl. von Manfred Weltecke
270 S. einschl.

Die grten, erfolgreichsten und mchtigsten Unternehmen unserer Zeit sind lngst nicht mehr nur im klassischen produzierenden Gewerbe zu finden. Der atemberaubende Erfolg von Firmen wie Facebook oder Google beruht auf der Bereitstellung immaterieller Dienstleitungen, insbesondere aber auf der Sammlung von Daten.

Mit seiner Kritik des digitalen Kapitalismus legt Michael Betancourt eine scharfe Analyse dieser neuen konomischen Verhltnisse vor und beleuchtet deren Eigenschaften und Probleme. Von der vermeintlichen Demokratisierung der Gesellschaft durch die freie Verfgbarkeit von Informationen ber die Illusion der kostenfreien, weil nicht physischen Herstellung digitaler Produkte bis zur Neudefinition des Verhltnisses materieller und immaterieller Gter: Betancourt setzt sich mit den Begleiterscheinungen der digitalen Wirtschaft auseinander, die schon lngst unser Leben bestimmen und prgen.

A Paratext: The Going Somewhere Game

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 6, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

movies: NEWS & REVIEWS

Going Somewhere: The Role Playing Game is a table top role playing game adapted from movie maker Michael Betancourt's avant-garde serial. Containing all the rules needed to play, this rule book is designed to provide hours of fun. Designed to simplify the complexity of RPGs to speed game play, these rules can be used for either SCI-FI or Fantasy campaigns.

Download it for Free or Buy a book from

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WBG interviews me about Bitcoin & Digital Capitalism

story © Michael Betancourt | published February 17, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


WBG has an interview about my work in The Critique of Digital Capitalism titled Gerechtigkeit in Zeiten der Digitalisierung available on their website in German:

1. Haben Kryptowhrungen wie Bitcoin nach Ihrer Meinung auf lngere Sicht eine Zukunft?
Die sich in Bitcoin und anderen Kryptowhrungen darstellende Technologie wird vielleicht neben ihrer Funktion, eine virtuelle Ware zu sein in der internationalen Bankindustrie zur Anwendung kommen. Es gibt einige Experimente in diese Richtung, aber fr die allgemeine ffentlichkeit erwarte ich, dass es zu einem Zusammenbruch kommen wird, sobald alle Bitcoins geschrft sind. Das Verstndnis dieser Entwicklung hngt von mehreren Eigenschaften der Technologie selbst ab: dass das Schrfen von Bitcoins ein Nebenprodukt der Berechnungen ist, die fr einzelne Transaktionen erforderlich sind, ist weithin bekannt. . . .

Here are my answers in English:

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