CONTENTS

 
   about
   MICHAEL BETANCOURT NEWS
   movies: AESTHETICS
   movies: NEWS & REVIEWS
   movies: SHOWS & SCREENINGS
   random art notes
   random how-tos
   research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES
   research: MOTION GRAPHICS
   research: VISUAL MUSIC
   theory: CRITICAL OBSERVATIONS
   theory: DIGITAL CAPITALISM
   theory: GLITCH & POSTDIGITAL
   theory: working notes

 

SOCIAL

 
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The Visual Music Village


PORTFOLIO

 
Movies by Michael Betancourt

 michaelbetancourt.com
 Going Somewhere
 exhibitions [pdf]
 updates
 books
 contact

 




 

SEARCH ARCHIVES

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 MichaelBetancourt.com


 


Going Somewhere: Episode 1 at Exploding Cinema, London

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 9, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



movies: SHOWS & SCREENINGS

The next Exploding Cinema event at The Horse Hospital in London on 21 April 2018 will be screening Going Somewhere: Episode One. Look at their Facebook page for more information!






 
on 'The Unheimlich Glitch' in Utsanga.it

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 28, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



theory: GLITCH & POSTDIGITAL

The journal Utsanga.it has a theoretical essay of mine on defamiliariazation (Brechts Verfremdungseffekt) and glitch art (technical failure). Here is an excerpt:

The postcinematic aspects of the Unheimlich glitch cannot be under-emphasized. It is precisely a product of post-digitality violating the established ontological order of cinemathe differentiation between Modernist conceptions of medium-specificity and the convergent break-down of those boundaries by computer technologycoupled with the expansion of its dispositive by the emergent identifications of ambivalent meaning posed by a metastable articulation. The specifically Unheimlich (uncanny) dimensions of digital materiality for cinematic ontology (as demonstrated by the glitch) resides in displacements of established lexical expertise that become apparent in defamiliarization. It is not mere materiality, but its role in interpretation that is essential. Connections to the formal medium masks the ideological and lexical dimensions of post-digital challenges, effectively emphasizing materiality to the exclusion of both critical and normative modes adaptation to immanence and maintenance of familiar order.




read more



 
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



theory: CRITICAL OBSERVATIONS

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



theory: DIGITAL CAPITALISM

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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.