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V Ciclo de Conferências Internacionais ECATI/MCB

The World is Already Without Us

Alberto Toscano – 29 de Abril


This talk will develop some of the themes sketched out in my recent book Cartographies of the Absolute (co-authored with Jeff Kinkle) concerning the representability of contemporary capital in the visual arts. In particular I will explore the reasons for the insistent depopulation of late capitalist landscapes, namely as evidenced in contemporary photography.

In dialogue with Fredric Jameson’s Representing Capital, John Roberts’s recent Photography and its Violations and Allan Sekula’s enduring critique of the “new topographics” moment in US photography, I will reflect on how certain dynamics of the contemporary political economy – from the diminishing significance of manual labour in the process of production to the financialisation of the housing industry, from deindustrialisation to the preeminence of logistics – are both reflected and distorted in contemporary image-making, giving vent to an imaginary in which, to paraphrase Sekula’s comments about the “neutron bomb school of photography”, the people disappear but the real estate is left standing.

Nota Biográfica

Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Cartographies of the Absolute (co-authored with Jeff Kinkle, 2015), Fanaticism (2010), and The Theatre of Production (2006). He has translated numerous works by Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri and others. He edits The Italian List for Seagull Books and is a member of the editorial board of Historical Materialism.