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Warhol’s trajectory as a working-class Pittsburgh boy turned commercial illustrator turned New York art world icon, we might say, primed him to be particularly attuned to the class dynamics of postwar artistic labor, and particularly able to make them visible. But in fact, I’d like to argue, these dynamics are central to the emergence of pop art in general—in a very real way, they are pop art.
None of David Smith’s constructions is ever truly virtualized, truly vaporized, but still, at serendipitous moments, their surfaces spark and crackle with light, and the sculpture’s body is banished, replaced by a scribble, a cipher, a flash. Meanwhile, back in the studio, yet another sculpture is nudged into shape on a much-stained concrete floor.
We recognize it when we see it: someone is PMC when they turn to language or rules or theories or style or attitude or affect or critique or (more broadly) culture to measure what they stand for or what they stand against. Compare this to the right for whom cultural coherence, even logical coherence, is the enemy and the uncultured unreason of money and force sovereign. Or compare it to the left for whom what matters as measure is the political organization of workers.
PMC art rewards a viewer who does not enjoy emotional exchanges, but who does have strong, positive, hopeful feelings every time they figure out how a system works. Contemporary art has helped the PMC feel good about their choices and justified in their limits, in part, because an overriding emphasis on abstraction and system validates the type of solutions that our most lucrative skills tend to generate.
How Herbert Marcuse’s widow used a Scientology-linked cult’s methodology to gamify Identity Politics and thus helped steer the U.S. Left down the dead-end path of identitarian psychobabble.
Arguing for the First Amendment rights of computer content, recent legal scholars Ronald Collins and David Skover have adapted Reader Response literary criticism from the 1970s, as well as related debates about literary meaning from the 1980s, to develop the idea of “intentionless free speech.” This essay examines and challenges these ideas. To think that intention can be meaningfully severed from free speech is to fundamentally misunderstand both speech and language. Siraganian situates and contextualizes this legal scholarly development in relation to both literary theory (Steven Knapp, Walter Benn Michaels, Stanley Fish, Toril Moi) and legal theory (Leslie Kendrick).
Indicating more than a set of investigative practices that respond to crime, forensics has come to connote a kind of secular faith in an animate material world—a phantasmagoria, in which material appears to both “hold secrets” and “speak back to us.” As such, forensics makes crime investigation appear not only the moral and administrative responsibility of a state, but also a magical power in and of itself. This response offers a brief analysis of the forensics imagination, as exemplified by Forensic Architecture’s rhetoric around its own work, and suggests some of the entanglements that come along with it.
Forensic Architecture claims to mobilize its own ethics, aesthetics, and rhetoric in the pursuit of forensic knowledge. Weizman and his collaborators have suggested that their methodologies operate outside of, or adjacent to, traditional legal procedures, and lend “new material and aesthetic sensibilities” to legal conceptions of proof. The result is that Forensic Architecture’s evidentiary assemblages have an uncertain, ambivalent relation to spaces of legal deliberation even while they act upon them.
Plea bargaining is a vital element of the criminal justice system, and it deserves more attention from scholars interested in law and culture. Legal scholars have proposed reforms to curb the more extreme abuses of the plea-bargaining system in the U.S. To these recommendations, I add the suggestion that we think of plea bargaining as occurring “in the shadow of narrative.” By looking beyond the trial, the paradigmatic narrative form that has engaged scholars of law and literature, we might appreciate the significance of legal processes that conform less easily to conventional narrative representation, while also revising our understanding of what legal narrative includes.