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By Susan Sontag

Después de Contra los angeles interpretación (1968) y Estilos radicales (1969), en Bajo el signo de Saturno (1980) se encuentran reunidos una serie de ensayos ­magníficos los dedicados a Antonin Artaud y a Leni Riefensthal­ cuyo hilo conductor es los angeles discusión sobre las frágiles relaciones entre ethical y estética. Defensora de l. a. independencia del arte respecto a las principles de sus creadores ­«una obra de arte es una cosa en el mundo, no un texto o comentario sobre el mundo»­, en esta ocasión Susan Sontag habla sobre algunos de los artistas y pensadores más influyentes de nuestra period. «Esteta enamorada y moralista obsesiva, tal y como se describía a sí misma, Sontag, más que muchos otros escritores de su generación, consideraba l. a. tarea cotidiana de pensar y sentir como aspectos dialéticos mutuos. Al depurar esa sensibilidad mientras se ocupaba de los temas más controvertidos de su época, Sontag ha creado un corpus de un mérito ejemplar.» The Boston Globe

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Jolt normalises the deadline mentality, along with the hyperactivity which is required if one is to consistently operate at fever pitch (though the label is never applied pejoratively, reserved as it is for children who cannot sit still). Little wonder that Jolt advocates those working under such pressures ingest large amounts of caffeine, to produce this hyper state. Whilst war was the modern epitome of the concept of the masses as functional units according to Heidegger, crudely instrumental management practices render workers as ‘human resources’, statistical bodies whose behaviour can be calculated.

The Onkyo advertisement is interesting because it renders technology in terms of sensory experience, or more precisely, in terms of the affects produced by technology. It demonstrates the particular ways in which technology is aestheticised in advertising at the moment, and the ways that this aestheticisation of media technologies is articulated through the bodies of those who come into contact with them. So, in contrast to the Jolt Cola advertisement, where the effects of stimulation were largely sidelined beyond the question of energy, the effects of strong stimulation on bodies are here brought to the fore, with the allegedly amazing home theatre experience rendered in terms of the woman’s extreme affective response.

Affect, too, is thought of in instrumental terms: calm and relaxed states are of no use to the organisation’s hyper resourcefulness and so are denied; frenzy and manic performance, on the other hand, boost performance and so are acceptable. A thoroughly familiar maximising of output reduces technology to a tool for extracting resource value. Hardly anything new is produced: those who don’t burn out, may adapt to and become dependent upon the hyperactive lifestyle, as Toohey suggests, better adapted to weathering the strain perhaps, but reduced for it.

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