“The dangers of didacticism, or the seemingly unbridgeable rift between cinematic drama and economic affectlessness, would seem to factor against attempting to film the crises of capitalism. Yet the works of past filmmakers and theorists struggling with the experience of economic collapse remain alive with lessons for the present, and the ongoing financial crisis has been the object of noteworthy, if rare, attempts to give narrative and visual form to its underlying causes and effects.”
- Jeff Kinkle & Alberto Toscano
“Representations of crisis need not be crises of representation“, wrote Alberto Toscano in ‘Filming the Crisis’, a piece he jointly wrote with Jeff Kinkle on various cinematic responses to the ongoing economic turmoil, from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel to Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story and Hito Steyerl’s In Free Fall. The article rehearses some of the approaches that both authors have been exploring in view of their forthcoming book Cartographies of the Absolute, which aims to provide a critical survey and a series of reflections on the proliferation of works in the visual arts, cinema and literature which seek to tackle the representation of contemporary capitalism. The focus is on those works which in one way or another try to provide models or narratives that might allow us to orient ourselves around the global economic system, taking in account the associated dimensions that pose obdurate problems for plot and image: invisibility and connectivity, the immaterial and the systemic. In this DISSENT ! session we will mainly discuss his Cartographies project, in trying to get to grips with some of the common drives and shared impasses that seem to characterize the current wave of film and art works dealing with the logics of capitalism and its failures.