Anna Kornbluh - "Immediacy" - Sianne Ngai

Monday, February 5, 2024 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Anna Kornbluh

Anna Kornbluh discusses Immediacy: Or, The Style of Too Late Capitalism. She will be joined in conversation by Sianne Ngai. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Presented in partnership with the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: Contemporary cultural style boosts transparency and instantaneity. These are values absorbed from our current economic conditions of "disintermediation": cutting out the middleman. Like Uber, but for art. Immediacy names this style to make sense of what we lose when the contradictions of twenty-first-century capitalism demand that aesthetics negate mediation. Surging realness as an aesthetic program synchs with the economic imperative to intensify circulation when production stagnates. "Flow" is the ultimate twenty-first-century buzzword, but speedy circulation grinds art down to the nub. And the bad news is that political turmoil and social challenges require more mediation. Collective will, inspiring ideas, and deliberate construction are the only way out, but our dominant style forgoes them. Considering original streaming TV, popular literature, artworld trends, and academic theories, Immediacy explains the recent obsession with immersion and today's intolerance of representation, and points to alternative forms in photography, TV, novels, and constructive theory that prioritize distance, impersonality, and big ideas instead.

About the Author: Anna Kornbluh's research and teaching interests center on the novel, film, and cultural aesthetics in theoretical perspective, including formalist, marxist, and psychoanalytic approaches. She is the author of Immediacy, Or, The Style of Too Late Capitalism (Verso 2023), The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space (University of Chicago 2019), Marxist Film Theory and Fight Club (Bloomsbury "Film Theory in Practice” series, 2019), and Realizing Capital: Financial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Form (Fordham UP 2014). Essays on climate aesthetics, tv, academic labor, and psychoanalysis have appeared in venues like The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, Diacritics, Differences, and Portable Gray. She is a member of the UIC United Faculty bargaining team and the editorial boards of Novel, Mediations, Genre, and Parapraxis, as well as the founding facilitator of InterCcECT (The Inter Chicago Center for Experimental Critical Theory), and a partner in Humanitiesworks.org.

About the Interlocutor: Sianne Ngai is an Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at the University of Chicago and a fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT). She is the author of Ugly Feelings (2005, Harvard University Press), Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (2012, Harvard University Press) and Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form (2020, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press). Ngai’s work is most broadly concerned with the analysis of aesthetic forms and judgments specific to capitalism.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-Op
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60615