Gilbert, Jeremy, New Formations
The title of this issue--Living Life in Pictures--is taken from Michelle Henning's essay on the history of the Isotype and its reception (Isotype is an early twentieth-century technique for the graphic display of social information). This phrase could, in fact, apply to many aspects of the contemporary condition which a number of our contributors examine here, because this issue has a strong emphasis on visual culture, a field in which new formations retains a strong historic interest. However, the fact is that the title of this collection has been chosen for its evocative quality, as an invitation to reflection, rather than as a strategy to impose any arbitrary coherence on its contents. This is one of our much-valued but too rare general issues, presenting the best work that has been submitted to the journal--commissioned or unsolicited--over the past few years. As such, it presents a unique selection of work at the intersection between cultural theory, political philosophy, visual culture, critical economics, cultural geography, sociology and film studies.
Shahidha Bari's essay presents a moving set of reflections on the overlaps and resonances between the personal writings of the late Rachel Corrie--a young American campaigner killed by Israeli forces in Palestine--and some of Heidegger's most important work. Gillian Harkins' essay reads Jarecki's 2003 documentary Capturing the Friedmans as part of a cinematic trend in which remembered scenes of adult/child sex are used to reconfigure the meaning of white masculinity, re-deploying them for the era of neoliberalism. Angela McRobbie makes a decisive intervention in contemporary debates around the politics of labour, with a detailed critique of the gender bias which she sees at work in the post-Autonomist thought of Negri, Hardt, Virno et al. James Penney presents a subtle and precise reading of one of the most important films of recent times: Haneke's Cache, which proves the ongoing indispensability of the Lacanian perspective to the effective analysis of contemporary cinema, of its recurrent and novel themes. …