This article uses the popular film The Artist to interrogate the ways cultural products shape narratives about finance and the new ways subjects are positioned in relation to the global circulation of capital. The article argues that a stubborn view of labor as a site par excellence for the production of value is presented in the narrative of The Artist, misrecognizing and misinterpreting the ways finance intensely recalibrates value production. As a silent film, the spoken voice appears to be absent, in much the same way that finance appeared silent throughout the history of capitalism. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it appeared as if finance's voice had finally spoken, just as the introduction of sound technology gave the appearance of an embodied, laboring voice. As the voice and finance were both always present throughout, the article attempts to locate the consequences for such misrecognitions in history, critiquing the kinds of restorative nostalgia that come to dominate political responses to capital's volatilities.
Robert Wosnitzer; The Voice Spoken but Not Heard: Allegories of Labor and Finance in The Artist. Radical History Review 1 January 2014; 2014 (118): 182–196. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2350966
Download citation file: