“Imaginary property” is an artistic research project on the halting problem of a society after the spectacle when Guy Debord’s “autonomous movement of the non-living” has become almost trivial but fully embedded in biopolitics. The concept of imaginary property characterises a new regime of ubiquitous image-production which throws into crisis conventional conceptions of the vexed relationship between selfhood and ownership. It can be understood in two directions: the becoming-property of images and the becoming-imaginary of property. The social synthesis of imaginary property oscillates between its two functions: Inasmuch as imaginary property results from a continuity of primitive accumulation, it is a real abstraction. The thing becomes an image by abstracting its use value and subjecting the alienated self to the regime of commodity exchange. But in imaginary property there is also the opposite movement, that of an immersion into the abstract reality of post-cybernetic control: the image becomes a thing due to the extraction of its relational value, while the self shifts from an alienated subject into an empathic object. The commodity fetish meets its double: the fetish of surveillance.
Florian Schneider is a filmmaker, artist, writer and curator. He is Professor for art theory and documentary practices and since 2014 Head of the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art. He submitted his PhD thesis on “Imaginary Property” at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, London. Currently he is directing an artistic research project on “The charismatic self and hybrid divisions of labor” supported by the Norwegian Programme for Artistic Research.
Sun-Ha Hong, respondent, is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at CMS/W @ MIT, and has a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. His writing examines the collective fantasies invested in technology, media and communication.
ACT’s fall 2016 lecture series is conceived by Gediminas Urbonas, ACT director, and developed and coordinated by Ashley Rizzo Moss, ACT Senior Communications & Public Programs Assistant and Lucas Freeman, ACT Writer in Residence, in conversation with ACT graduate students.