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The Work of Giorgio AgambenLaw, Literature, Life$
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Justin Clemens and Nicholas Heron

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634620

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.001.0001

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Notes on Media and Biopolitics: ‘Notes on Gesture’

Notes on Media and Biopolitics: ‘Notes on Gesture’

Chapter:
(p.193) Chapter 12 Notes on Media and Biopolitics: ‘Notes on Gesture’
Source:
The Work of Giorgio Agamben
Author(s):

Levitt Deborah

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.003.0013

This chapter reviews Giorgio Agamben's engagement with the cinematic dispositif, and the problem of ‘the status of the image in general within modernity’. It also proposes that Agamben's idea of ‘gesture’ is directed against the destruction of experience exemplified by the modern regime of ‘images’. It then suggests a new kind of pragmatic ‘media ethology’, which would shuttle between singular description and political manifestation without collapsing the one into the other. The element of cinema is gesture and not image. Because cinema has its centre in the gesture and not in the image, it belongs essentially to the realm of ethics and politics. Politics is the sphere of pure means, of the absolute and complete gesturality of human beings. Agamben submits Gilles Deleuze's vitalism to a critical genealogy of ‘life’ as the cultural object par excellence.

Keywords:   Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, gesture, media ethology, cinema, image, politics

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