By Alberto Toscano, Jeff Kinkle
Can capital be visible? Cartographies of absolutely the surveys the disparate solutions to this question provided by way of artists, film-makers, writers and theorists over the last few many years. It zones in at the crises of illustration that experience followed the iconic quandary of capitalism, foregrounding the construction of latest visions and artefacts that combat with the vastness, invisibility and complexity of the abstractions that rule our lives.
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Extra resources for Cartographies of the Absolute
In a strong interpretation, the mapping of capitalism is a precondition for identifying any ‘levers’, nerve-centres or weak links in the political anatomy of contemporary domination. The idea of cognitive mapping is embedded in an argument about historical change and the correlation between culture and political economy: each epoch develops cultural forms and modes of expression that allow it, however partially and ideologically, to represent its world – to ‘totalise’ it. Following seminal studies by Ernest Mandel and Giovanni Arrighi, Jameson posits three key phases in the patterns of correlation between historical forms of capitalism and modes of cultural representation.
Martha Rosler, Untitled (Cargo Cult), from the series, Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain, 1965-1974 23. Steve McQueen, Gravesend, 2007 24. Patrick Keiller, Robinson in Space, 1999 25. Jean-Luc Godard, Weekend, 1969 Today we have to realise that the worldwide and worldness, with their hazardous and unforeseen features, constitute the ‘revolution’ itself, instead of concluding it. Henri Lefebvre Kant said he had no time to travel precisely because he wanted to know so much about so many countries.
Images of the ‘whole earth’ are today ‘composites of massive quantities of remotely sensed data collected by satellite-borne sensors’, not ‘photographs’ as such. As Laura Kurgan notes in her technically meticulous and illuminating exploration of our cartographic moment, the current ubiquity of ‘mapping’ ‘disorients under the banner of orientation’10 – and it is all the more ironic that a regime so inherently decentring should plug the holes in its knowledge, should dampen it its anxieties about (in Nietzsche’s words) ‘rolling from the centre towards x’, with icons of the globe, the ultimate simulacrum of location.