n.e.w.s. is a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, drawing upon contributions from around the globe, bringing together different voices, accents and outlooks from the North, East, West and South. | Read more..

Summer Reading

01/08/2014 - 01/08/2015 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Friends of n.e.w.s. know that we n.e.w.s.casters have been working on a book for a while now. "A while now" perhaps understates things a tad, just as "working" overstates the measurable, nose-to-the-grindstone toiling that has gone on. But a book has been steeping, in the passive voice of the present continuous. And now it's time to churn it out. To make writing it feel less like working and more like breathing, the plan is to build the book around a hundred or so reports on other books, each of which deals with one of the key terms or concepts we want to embed in our proposed analysis of the dialectics between the contemporary attention economy and the shadow economies that operate in its blindspots. Interestingly, and no doubt tellingly, the attention economy -- and what Vladimir Nabokov would refer to as its "umbral companion," the shadow economy -- has received little attention from economists per se. Which suits us just fine, since what we'll be developing is a non-economistic understanding of this "economy" of attention, which, over the past decade -- with the rapid development of the attention-capturing devices and techniques of social media -- has made attention into a form of symbolic capital, and hence attention getting, and attention holding, into one of the leading modes of capital accumulation. So while the attention "economy" is very big business, it is inseparable, on the one hand, from the shaping of subjectivity and its forms of existence, and on the other, names a power of distribution of resources, places and tasks. Anyway, we'll get to all that, but it raises another "economic" sort of issue: the insane number of books that need to be read in order to produce another one. These reports will understand "books" in the most expanded sense of the term, extending it from aphorisms to films, songs to treatises. It's all good when it comes to Arbitrating Attention.