Written as a wake-up call to the field of media studies, The Message is Murder analyses the violence bound up in the everyday functions of digital media. At its core is the concept of 'computational capital' - the idea that capitalism itself is a computer, turning qualities into quantities, and that the rise of digital culture and technologies under capitalism should be seen as an extension of capitalism's bloody logic.
Engaging with Borges, Turing, Claude Shannon, Hitchcock and Marx, this book tracks computational capital to reveal the lineages of capitalised power as it has restructured representation, consciousness and survival in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It argues that the global intensification of inequality relies on the discursive, informatic and screen-mediated production of social difference.
Ultimately The Message is Murder makes the case for recognising media communications across all platforms - books, films, videos, photographs and even language itself - as technologies of political economy, entangled with the social contexts of a capitalism that is inherently racial, gendered and genocidal.
Jonathan Beller is a revered film theorist, culture critic and mediologist. He is Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the Pratt Institute and Director of the Graduate Program in Media Studies. He is the author of The Cinematic Mode of Production (UPNE, 2006), Acquiring Eyes (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2006) and The Message is Murder (Pluto, 2017).
Introduction PART I: Informatics of Inscription / Inscription of Informatics I.1 Gramsci's Press: Predictions and Programs I.2 A Message from Borges: The Informatic Labyrinth I.3 Alan Turing's Self-Defense: On Not Castrating the Machines I.4 Shannon/Hitchcock: "Another Method for the Letters" I.5 The Internet of Value, by Karl Marx: Information as Cosmically Distributed Alienation PART II: Photo-graphology, Psychotic Calculus and Informatic Labor II.1 Camera Obscura After All: The Racist Writing with Light II.2 Pathologistics of Attention II.3 Prosthetics of Whiteness: Drone Psychosis II.4 The Capital of Information: Fascism, Informatic Labor and M-I-M' Appendix: From the Cinematic Mode of Production to Computational Capital - An Interview conducted by Ante Jeric and Diana Meheik for Kulturpunk Notes Index