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Feedback : Television against Democracy - David Joselit

Feedback

Television against Democracy

Paperback Published: 9th March 2010
ISBN: 9780262514026
Number Of Pages: 232
For Ages: 18+ years old

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American television embodies a paradox: it is a privately owned and operated public communications network that most citizens are unable to participate in except as passive specators. Television creates an image of community while preventing the formation of actual social ties because behind its simulated exchange of opinions lies a highly centralized corporate structure that is profoundly antidemocratic. In "Feedback, " David Joselit describes the privatized public sphere of television and recounts the tactics developed by artists and media activists in the 1960s and 1970s to break open its closed circuit. The figures whose work Joselit examines--among them Nam June Paik, Dan Graham, Joan Jonas, Abbie Hoffman, Andy Warhol, and Melvin Van Peebles--staged political interventions within the space of television. Joselit identifies three kinds of such image-events: feedback, which can be both disabling noise and rational response--as when Abbie Hoffman hijacked television time for the Yippies with flamboyant stunts directed to the media; the image-virus, which proliferates parasitically, invading, transforming, and even blocking systems--as in Nam June Paik's synthesized videotapes and installations; and the avatar, a quasi-fictional form of identity available to anyone, which can function as a political actor--as in Melvin Van Peebles's invention of Sweet Sweetback, an African-American hero who appealed to a broad audience and influenced styles of Black Power activism. These strategies, writes Joselit, remain valuable today in a world where the overlapping information circuits of television and the Internet offer different opportunities for democratic participation. In "Feedback, " Joselit analyzes such midcentury image-events using the procedures and categories of art history. The trope of figure/ground reversal, for instance, is used to assess acts of representation in a variety of media--including the medium of politics. In a televisual world, Joselit argues, where democracy is conducted through images, art history has the capacity to become a political science.

Industry Reviews

An elegant, passionately argued, and crucially important rallying cry...There may be hope that this call to arms for the fields of art history and criticism will not go unheeded.

-Ulrich Baer, Modern Painters
[Joselit's] wonderfully spare text focuses on the first hints of the digital future as it was mapped by commercial network executives on the clunky hardware of the cathode-ray tube and the dumb black boxes that decoded the increasingly privatized information stream of cable TV.

-Caroline A. Jones, Artforum

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Television against Democracyp. xi
Open Circuitsp. 1
Virusp. 43
Feedbackp. 85
Avatarp. 133
Afterword: Manifestop. 171
Notesp. 173
Indexp. 203
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262514026
ISBN-10: 0262514028
Series: The MIT Press
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 9th March 2010
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.1
Weight (kg): 0.43

Earn 92 Qantas Points
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