This week, Wark zeroes in on cultural theorist, Sianne Ngai, who offers a new set of aesthetic categories reflective of our performance-driven techno capitalist world — Zany, Cute and the Interesting.
It seems we’ve lost our heads — no need for a brain when we’ve got thumbs that type and swipe, seeking out knowledge from a glut of online information too expansive for any one mind to hold. And with the head has gone that stalwart of critical consciousness, the public intellectual. Instead, as media theorist McKenzie Wark terms it in is book of the same title, we have General Intellects — thinkers, who, when constellated, create a collective picture of our world.
No individuals and no minds, big data is the big opportunity to give up on storing information and instead knowing how to find it, and better yet, use it. General intellects are guides to this brave new world, helping us understand how to be and see our own bodies and societies under technological capitalism.
Leaping from Sianne Ngai who considers a new set of aesthetic terms, to Chantal Mouffe who proposes new means of gaming conflict in the political sphere, to Paul B. Preciado, whose work explores the ways bodies are produced by images and hormones and who calls for a vanguard that intervenes microscopically.
Recommended reading: General Intellects by McKenzie Wark
4 Minutes, 47 seconds
Featuring McKenzie Wark