‘The Number of the Collective Beast’
Reading group hosted by Liang Luscombe and Fayen d’Evie
5pm, Thursday 12 March 2015
To accompany Liang Luscombe’s Slide exhibition, curated by Fayen d’Evie
This reading group will discuss philosopher Matteo Pasquinelli’s essay ‘The Number of the Collective Beast: Value in the Age of the New Algorithmic Institutions of Ranking and Rating’ (2014) that asks the question: how do we measure value? Any form of (cultural, artistic, academic, material) production is today immersed into the same machinic sphere of valorisation, namely into a network. Examples of this can be seen in the pervasive link economy of Google’s PageRank algorithm, the geopolitical influence of international rating agencies, as well as the mundane hierarchies of the artworld. Nevertheless, a political critique of these machinic institutions of rating and ranking, that are collectively and socially generating the new “number of the beast” (or, the measure of collective value), he argues, is still missing.
This discussion is linked to the subject of Liang Luscombe’s painting currently exhibited in Slide, which is the now-shelved Australian Cultural Policy, Creative Australia, introduced in the dying days of Julia Gillard’s Labor Government in 2013. This was the first whole-of-government federal cultural policy in two decades. When the Liberal Government came into power, however, they archived the policy. While this is only one example of how institutions rank and rate artistic practice, the discussion looks to imagine different methods that we employ to critique this mechanism.
Read Matteo Pasquinelli’s essay ‘The Number of the Collective Beast: Value in the Age of the New Algorithmic Institutions of Ranking and Rating The How’ here.
For the extra keen, supplementary reading of the archived Creative Australia Cultural Policy can be found here.