It Sees (Notes Toward a Cultural History of Financial Vision)

As Shoshana Zuboff has argued, we have entered a new phase of capitalism. Surveillance capitalism, as she terms it, invents new regimes of accumulation based on analysing and intervening in online users’ habits for profit – and thereby alienating people from their own behaviour. How might the aesthetic prehistories of surveillance capitalism be understood? Discussing eighteenth-century it-narratives alongside recent artworks, Emily Rosamond argues for understanding the surveillance-capitalist moment as part of a longer history of financial vision, comprised of narratives and artworks that depart from the conceit that financial interests somehow “see” the world.

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