Notes on Media and Biopolitics: ‘Notes on Gesture’

Levitt Deborah

in The Work of Giorgio Agamben

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748634620
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652440 | DOI:
Notes on Media and Biopolitics: ‘Notes on Gesture’

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This chapter reviews Giorgio Agamben's engagement with the cinematic dispositif, and the problem of ‘the status of the image in general within modernity’. It also proposes that Agamben's idea of ‘gesture’ is directed against the destruction of experience exemplified by the modern regime of ‘images’. It then suggests a new kind of pragmatic ‘media ethology’, which would shuttle between singular description and political manifestation without collapsing the one into the other. The element of cinema is gesture and not image. Because cinema has its centre in the gesture and not in the image, it belongs essentially to the realm of ethics and politics. Politics is the sphere of pure means, of the absolute and complete gesturality of human beings. Agamben submits Gilles Deleuze's vitalism to a critical genealogy of ‘life’ as the cultural object par excellence.

Keywords: Giorgio Agamben; Gilles Deleuze; gesture; media ethology; cinema; image; politics

Chapter.  7935 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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