Representing Global Capital
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Remember when you were a kid and played the joke of staring intently up at the sky as if you were gazing at something to prompt your friends to look up to see what you were looking at. The joke, of course, was that there was nothing up there. A common motif in these commercials is the image of someone gazing up into the heavens. Drawn from all walks of life these gazing faces cover the spectrum of gender, age, and race. With expressions of wonderment on their faces, the gazers' faces offer silent, yet affirmative, testimony to the beneficent powers of finance and techno-capital.

What's up in the heavens? The work of Capital -- jets, satellites, rockets, corporate towers, and beams of light. The earth no longer can contain Capital's achievements.

Why doesn't capital look downward? At third world labor, environmental destruction, high levels of individual and national debt, or the disruption of traditional ways of life? Gazing up is less a joke for Capital, than a diversion from the map of its underside. Capital's representations celebrate the creative power of this economic formation but rarely acknowledge the shadow of destruction it leaves in its wake. Signified by gazing into the heavens, visionary transcendence is an abstraction that functions to legitimize investment, development, and technological deployment.

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© Copyright 1998-2003
Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey