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I had a great time yesterday participating in the Manchester Summer Academy on Law, Money & Technology: Transforming Political Economy. I typed out my own short remarks summarizing my research & 2018 book.

Here they are in 25 tweets: 1/25
Over the last several years, I've sought to rethink the critical theory and aesthetics inaugurated by the Frankfurt School and carried on in diverse ways by many others by re-grounding this project in the public money approach developed by Modern Monetary Theory (or MMT). 2/x
Historically, critical theory has upheld various versions of the Marxist ontology of money. 3/x
Marxism posits a dark inversion of Classical Liberalism, deeming money a private and finite exchange instrument, which for Marxists, expresses an underlying “Value-Form” that is at once inherently corrosive, alienable, and thus alienating. 4/x
MMT, by contrast, understands money as a contestable and inalienable public utility.

Money, on my admittedly singular reading of MMT, is not predicated upon finite, local, bilateral exchanges in which one thing or individuated unit is alienated for another.

5/x
It is, rather, a holistic, variegated and structurally interdependent legal institution for provisioning, which in modernity has been captured & organized by private interests according to unjust and violent logics of private profit & alienating austerity. 6/x
At a broader level, I argue, Western modernity fundamentally errs because it cannot actually perceive or think money as constitutive & interdependent mediation at a distance. 7/x
Ultimately, I suggest, this is because Modern Western metaphysics has reduced relationality *as such* to relations of “thisness.” 8/x
"Thisness" imagines a punctuated materiality & contracted contiguity as the bases for causality and ongoing abstract relations at a remove as either unreal or artificial contracts and impositions. 9/x
From here, I rethink the entire premises of the Modern Western aesthetic project, based as it is upon a long-exhausted dialectical opposition between money and art, political economy and aesthetics. 10/x
If money alienates an originary sensuous thisness, goes the logic of this modern project, the aesthetic seeks to salvation from this lost thisness through rich, sensuous and socially liberating forms and experiences. 11/x
If we adopt MMT’s broad, interdependent and inalienable view of public money, however, we can reject thisness as the mystical anchor of social being as well as the Liberal money form’s alleged displacement and alienation of said anchor. 12/x
As a result, we no longer need to pit the aesthetic against money in a dialectical gambit to overcome alienation. 13/x
Instead, we ought to reconceive and reconfigure the aesthetic project as a means of realizing public money’s untapped capacities in democratic, diverse, & inclusive sensory arrangements. 14/x
The most developed articulation of my project I published in 2018 in the form of a scholarly monograph titled, Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics & the Politics of Care. 15/x nebraskapress.unl.edu/nebraska/97814…
The text is book-ended by a thesis about the what is arguably the dominant form of visual culture in the Modern West: what I call “gravitropic visuality.” 16/x
Organized according to logics of finite material forces and contiguous relations, this gravity-obsessed visual culture emerged with perspectival painting in the Florentine Renaissance. It was variously challenged and reconfigured throughout modernity. 17/x
And it has returned with vengeance in the neoliberal period in the hyperbolic and immersive physics simulations of New Hollywood blockbusters and triple-A video games. 18/x
I critique these gravitropic aesthetics for radically repressing abstraction across monetary and aesthetic registers. 19/x
Such repressions train our senses away from the types of remote mediations needed in order to perceive and transform public money’s broad and interlocking capacities. 20/x
At the same time, I also read gravitropic paintings, films & games as riddling symptoms, harboring untold secrets about Western modernity’s impoverished metaphysics of thisness and, if interpreted as such, offering indications for overcoming their historical deadlocks. 21/x
Overall, the book aims to expose formal critique to capacious and imminently realizable transformative demands that are typically unthinkable or eschewed by critical theory. 22/x
It labors to reject and reconfigure the by-now exhausted dialectical opposition between political economy and aesthetics. 23/x
Along the way, I redeem the problems and potentials of abstraction from political economy to aesthetic criticism. 24/x
Perhaps above all, the book installs what I call the “riddle” or “mystery” of care at the heart of political economy, challenging the reduction of politics in the modern West to a science of embodied power.

Thank you. 25/x
*seeks salvation
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