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Seeing Degree ZeroBarthes/Burgin and Political Aesthetics$
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Ryan Bishop and Sunil Manghani

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474431415

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431415.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

I Was Sitting in a Room: Cybernetic Aesthetics and Victor Burgin’s Projection Loops

I Was Sitting in a Room: Cybernetic Aesthetics and Victor Burgin’s Projection Loops

(p.137) I Was Sitting in a Room: Cybernetic Aesthetics and Victor Burgin’s Projection Loops
Seeing Degree Zero

Ryan Bishop

Edinburgh University Press

I was Sitting in a Room: Cybernetic Aesthetics and Victor Burgin's Projection Loops The chapter examines the loops that structure Victor Burgin's projection pieces in relation to works by US composer Alvin Lucier to suggest that a form of cybernetic and post-digital aesthetics is operative in each, resulting in similar ethical and political agendas regarding agency, space and attentiveness. Burgin's discussion of his digitally-modified panoramas addresses the 'zero degree' of perspective that he crafts in them, suggesting that technological systems of information-gathering and perception simultaneously provide the conditions for a perceiving and understanding subject while removing the subject from the picture through the performance of its subject matter: 'the disembodied point of view'. The desire of the zero degree renders an aesthetics and politics that speak neatly to cybernetic formulations. The chapter argues that the seemingly anti-humanist qualities of cybernetic aesthetics and Burgin's decidedly humanist aesthetic steer actually lead to the same ethical and political agenda regarding agency, space and attentiveness.

Keywords:   Victor Burgin, Alvin Lucier, loop structures, cybernetic aesthetics

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