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Seeing Degree Zero – Barthes/Burgin and Political Aesthetics - Edinburgh Scholarship Online
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Seeing Degree Zero: Barthes/Burgin and Political Aesthetics

Ryan Bishop and Sunil Manghani


In the fields of literature and the visual arts, 'zero degree' represents a neutral aesthetic situated in response to, and outside of, the dominant cultural order. Taking Roland Barthes' 1953 book Writing Degree Zero as just one starting point, but with reference to broader historical discourse that picks up on critical notions of 'zero', 'zero degree', and the 'neutral, this volume examines the historical, theoretical and visual impact of the term and draws directly upon the editors' ongoing collaboration with artist and writer Victor Burgin. The book is composed of key chapters by the editor ... More

Keywords: Roland Barthes, Victor Burgin, critical theory, image/imaging, projection, temporalities, the neutral, zero degree, gallery spectatorship, political aesthetics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9781474431415
Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020 DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431415.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ryan Bishop, editor
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton

Sunil Manghani, editor
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton

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Response/Abilities of Seeing

Ryan Bishop and Sunil Manghani

Reading Barthes, Again

Victor Burgin and Sunil Manghani


Victor Burgin

Part I: Degrees and Variations

Part II: Image Degree Zero

Painting, Photography, Projection

Ryan Bishop and Sunil Manghan

The End of the Frame

Victor Burgin

Camera as Object and Process

Ryan Bishop, Victor Burgin and Sean Cubitt


Victor Burgin

Part III: Writerly Readings

Prairie (Argo)

Kristen Kreider and James O’Leary