Throughout the twentieth century, the development of technologies—of what Walter Benjamin calls “mechanical reproducibility”—led to a generalized regression of the psychomotive knowledges that were characteristic of art amateurs. This regression was made possible by a machinic turn of sensibility that led to a proletarianization of the amateur so that the latter, having lost his or her knowledges, became a cultural consumer. These questions confront us today in a time in which a second machinic turn of sensibility is taking place. This second turn is made possible by digital technologies, through which just about anyone can access technologies of captivation, postproduction, indexation, diffusion, and promotion—technologies that were, until now, industrial functions that were hegemonically controlled by what I have called the psychopower of marketing and the culture industries. This new machinic turn of sensibility—which is no longer analog but digital—leads to a renaissance of the figure of the amateur, that is to say, to a reconstitution of libidinal energy which, after being systematically canalized and rerouted by consumerist organization, ends up putting in place an economy of drives, that is to say, a libidinal diseconomy.
Bernard Stiegler; The Proletarianization of Sensibility. boundary 2 1 February 2017; 44 (1): 5–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3725833
Download citation file: