Book review of Orazio Condorelli, Franck Roumy & Mathias Schmoeckel (Hg.), Der Einfluss der Kanonistik auf die europäische Rechtskultur. Band 6: Völkerrecht [Norm und Struktur. Studien zum sozialen Wandel in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit;, Hg. Gert Melville], Wien/Köln/Weimar, Böhlau/Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020, XXV + 392 p. ISBN 9783412518905
One of the most acclaimed Eastern European directors of the late 1960s, Miklos Jancsó became known for his abstract long-take style which explored the intersections of power, politics, history, and myth. (“Radical form in the service of radical content,” as the Village Voice film critic, James Hoberman, put it back then.) Now that the Beacon Cinema in Columbia City is hosting a retrospective of six of his films (including Red Psalm, which won him the best director prize at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival), Red May has invited three film scholars--Eszter Polonyi, Zoran Samardzija, and Steven Shaviro—to discuss Jancsó’s boldly stylized film language with Tommy Swenson, Film Curator of the Beacon Cinema
n an era of total surveillance, being in possession of a biometric ID document can still result in denial of one’s basic civil protections and human rights. The discovery of systematic errors in state-implemented facial recognition programs—such as in recognizing faces of color (Joy Buolamwini)—suggests the failure of current practices of global intelligence and mobility. This paper offers an archaeological investigation of the contemporary photo ID document. Returning to its invention in the 1920s, it examines the issues of conjectural knowledge (Carl Ginzburg), embodiment or tact (Béla Balázs) and the optical unconscious (Walter Benjamin) behind early “physiognomic” media.
The book Photography Off the Scale: Technologies and Theories of the Mass Image is, first of all, about quantities. Those with memories of pre-smartphone years may suspect that the images of this world have increased in number. Perhaps fewer, however, are aware of just how much. Among the first things we learn in this book is that, in 2018, over 30 million images were uploaded to Twitter, 52 million to Instagram, and 350 million to Facebook — daily (25). For someone who makes a handful of uploads a week, this was news. Who could possibly be looking at them? It turns out, no one. Even if everyone on Earth spent eight hours scrolling through images, they would not all get seen (25). The quantities are just too large. This book claims that the now unconscionable scale at which images circulate and are produced is because they are actually no longer tailored to the human. Interrogating an optics of “ec- centric metrics” (Dvořák), the book tackles one of the liveliest issues in image studies, media studies, and art history today — machine vision, or the vision of the human eye as it is extended by technical apparatuses. It is this seeing “by other means” that the book alleges has thrown the number of images “off the scale.”