Spectatorship, accelerationism and art’s critical potential

(Originally written November 2013)

To gain an understanding of the way in which art can itself be an agent of cultural critique it is vital to explore the true nature of spectatorship, how this relates to the production and reception of meaning in art and, ultimately, how a lucid understanding of these two issues contribute to a recognition of art’s actual critical capacity. Here we will identify art’s critical potential through a focus on the implications of Jacques Ranciere’s analysis of spectatorship, while also drawing upon Adorno’s exploration of meaning in art, and identifying how their work relates to a burgeoning accelerationist aesthetic evident in some contemporary artistic practice. The manifestation of this critical potential in contemporary art will be explored through the works of musicians James Ferraro and Daniel Lopatin, as well as a selection of the multitude of artists following in their wake.

Before we start, it is important to note that Ranciere’s work on spectatorship is informed by his thoughts on pedagogy, namely the influence of Joseph Jacotot, which permeates throughout Ranciere’s thinking. In essence, Ranciere advocates an equality of intelligence, which leads to a denunciation of the role of the master-teacher as a disseminator of knowledge, instead reframing it as one of a facilitator of learning. As Benedict Stork surmises:

Rancière uses Jacotot’s “intellectual adventure” to challenge the presupposition of a hierarchy of intelligences, arguing that the conventional Western pedagogical model with the teacher acting as master explicator is based on and propagates a structure of inequality. [1]

The goal, then, of Ranciere’s critique of traditional Western pedagogy is ‘that of emancipation: that every common person might conceive his human dignity, take the measure of his intellectual capacity, and decide how to use it.’[2] This concept has obvious consequences for an analysis of spectatorship, and is especially pertinent to a critique of an attempt to advocate a pedagogical purpose in art, for a parallel can be drawn between an emancipated learner and an emancipated spectator, as Ranciere himself does in The Emancipated Spectator. Like the notion of the master-teacher stultifying the potential intellectual enlightenment of their pupils, Ranciere criticises left wing cultural critics – and by extension critical art – of framing the position of a spectator as a wholly passive one. Ranciere sees these melancholy-fuelled critics of patronisingly seeing it necessary to enlighten the masses by exposing them to that which they are unable to see themselves (perhaps as a cynical means of securing the critic’s own relevance):

In effect, the procedures of social critique have as their goal treating the incapable: those who do not know how to see, who do not understand the meaning of what they see, who do not know how to transform acquired knowledge into activist energy. And doctors need these patients to look after.[3]

The suggestion here is that by pointing out the conditions of capitalist culture and society without any suggested coordinates for an alternative, left wing cultural critics stifle the potential for their ‘critique’ to inspire anything other than melancholic passivity and acquiescence. The key problem therefore is that while a work may contain within it a critique of culture, it provides no critical function in itself if it doesn’t evoke a response in the spectator to the conditions that are being articulated. As Ranciere says, ‘The old left-wing denunciation of the empire of commodities and images has become a form of ironic or melancholic acquiescence to this ineluctable empire.’[4] This can also be extended to a reading of critical art, as ultimately an artwork that sees its spectators as incapable of seeing for themselves what the artwork seeks to impart on them cannot truly be critical, as it inspires no activity in the spectator beyond a faint recognition of the conditions to which they are being ‘enlightened’.

In order to move beyond this stultifying form of cultural critique (and critical art), Ranciere suggests that it is necessary to reframe the position of the spectator as something more than passive, ignorant and powerless. It is too reductive to merely suggest that the desired treatment for the assumed ignorance of the oppressed spectator is to impart an awareness of the conditions of oppression:

Understanding does not, in and of itself, help to transform intellectual attitudes and situations. The exploited rarely require an explanation of the laws of exploitation. The dominated do not remain in subordination because they misunderstand the existing state of affairs but because they lack confidence in their capacity to transform it.[5]

The key then to moving beyond this mode of critique is to recognise the true nature of spectatorship – namely that the all-encompassing nature of the spectacle may imply a claustrophobic oppression, but by definition it also contains within it the aggregate of all human activity and experience:

Being a spectator is not some passive condition that we should transform into activity. It is our normal situation. We also learn and teach, act and know as spectators who all the time link what we see to what we have seen and said, done and dreamed…Every spectator is already an actor in her story, every actor, every man of action, is the spectator of the same story.[6]

The suggestion, therefore, is that for any artistic endeavour to move beyond this ‘left-wing melancholy’[7] and towards gaining the capacity of cultural critique it is necessary for the artist to acknowledge their own role as a spectator, and it is through this concept that the aforementioned music of James Ferraro and Daniel Lopatin can be seen to achieve a critical platform.

The key to recognising the critical potential of these musicians is an acknowledgement that, as suggested by Ranciere above, they are simultaneously artistic creators and spectators, producers and consumers of culture. The echo of the spectacle pervades all of their work, for they take as aural reference points the cultural detritus of contemporary capitalist society: fragments of commercial pop songs, advertisements, computer jingles and so forth. Through this awareness of one’s own role as a spectator James Ferraro is particularly explicit in presenting an uncanny, hyperreal approximation of what Adam Harper calls ‘the music that lubricates capital’[8], describing Ferraro’s work as ‘co-opting the icons of hi-def capitalism’[9]. This is most explicit in his 2011 work Far Side Virtual, which is largely composed of short pieces replicating the audio characteristics of ringtones, computer start-up jingles and corporate ‘muzak’ in a pseudocollage of the aural milieu of contemporary capitalism. The album’s press release concurs:

The record is called Far Side Virtual. Each song, a melodious reflection of the moment NOW, comes shrink-wrapped in HD fidelity as glossy as a 2012 Toyota Prius.

Ferraro’s muse is some enigmatic modern metropolis, where the streets are as slick as i-Pads [sic], and where the symphonies ring with Macbook message alerts. Through the steam rising from our latte mocha chinos, he invites us to gaze out at the dreamy disorientation of our digital lives.

Imagine a Darius Milhuad-guided tour of 5th Avenue. Imagine a Whole Foods bakery that sells only cakes emblazoned with frosting replicas of Camille Pissarro’s “Haying at Eragny.” These are the surreal utopias Ferraro brings to life with sixteen swirly-pop concoctions sure to sell out at the candy stores.[10]

This assortment of decontextualised, seemingly heterogeneous signifiers is reflected and made explicit in the songs’ titles, with names such as ‘Pixarnia and the Future of Norman Rockwell’, ‘Palm Trees, Wi-Fi and Dream Sushi’ and ‘Starbucks, Dr. Seussism, and While Your Mac Is Sleeping’[11]. The overwhelming mass of these fragmented elements creates a disorientation that hints towards a music whose defining characteristic is one of signifiers being stripped of their signification: the sounds that comprise the album are removed from their original context, separated from their aforementioned aural milieu and retain only their aesthetic characteristics. This grants them the degree of autonomy necessary to maintain a critical distance, while still retaining enough of their source material to fertilise a critique. As Oliver Davis notes, this artistic critical potential is born out of ‘emancipated, active spectatorship’[12], which is ‘the mode of engagement with the artwork which most fully realizes the egalitarian promise inherent in the aesthetic regime of art.’[13]

Crucially, not only is Ferraro able to acknowledge an active, emancipated spectatorship in his work, but his artistic output is itself born out of that very state of spectatorship. This multifaceted state of spectatorship not only frees the work of art from the notion that a pedagogical purpose is necessary, but it also moves towards a situation where, through its very existence, the listener is able to subjectively engage with the work in a way that allows them to reinterpret the conditions in which it was created. In this sense, Ferraro is able to present a critique as self-evident within his work due to the way in which the music consists of the exhibition of sounds purely for their aesthetic qualities, his reappropriation of cultural artifacts hinting at the conditions of modern capitalist culture from which they are derived.

Ferraro is therefore not guilty, as Ranciere discusses in his critique, of ‘showing the spectator what she does not know how to see, and making her feel ashamed of what she does not want to see, even if it means that the critical system presents itself as a luxury commodity pertaining to the very logic it denounces’[14], largely because the music is so heavily rooted in its own spectatorship that no pedagogical role is sought, and the spectator’s subjectivity and emancipation is respected and left intact. Instead, he presents that which would garner a critique as self-evident within the work, without any hint on his part as to how they should be interpreted by the listener. Ferraro recognises the importance of the listener’s role not as a passive spectator, but as an active participant in the construction of a text’s meaning (or, as the case may well be, a lack thereof).

This means that Ferraro not only hints at the true, active nature of the spectator, but also opens up within his work what Ranciere calls ‘scenes of dissensus’:[15]

What ‘dissensus’ means is an organization of the sensible where there is neither a reality concealed behind appearances nor a single regime of presentation and interpretation of the given imposing its obviousness on all. It means that every situation can be cracked open from the inside, reconfigured in a different regime of perception and signification.[16]

Through this self-evident, non-pedagogical presentation, Ferraro achieves the potential for critique (while maintaining the emancipation of spectatorship) through an abstract aestheticisation of source material that still hints at the conditions that necessitated its creation. The music is sickly-sweet, highly produced to the point of nausea, and perhaps not even altogether enjoyable to listen to. As reviews of Far Side Virtual have stated, ‘everything is exaggerated to almost disturbing extents…Its uniform surface polish and cutting treble are as alien and uninviting as a screen’s worth of computer coding, making it a tough record to listen to in one sitting.’[17] Ferraro does not seek to say ‘here is the reality you do not want to see…to generate the short-circuit and clash that reveal the secret concealed by the exhibition of images’[18]; on the contrary, he is saying “these sounds present the fragments of reality that you do hear all around you in everyday life”, the interpretation of which is left solely to the listener themselves. Nor does he seek to ‘[invite] us to recognize that there is no alternative to the power of the beast and to admit that we are satisfied by it’[19] through any form of aesthetic clash or juxtaposition, because there is no dialectical component to the internal logic of the composition, it is simply an abstracted facsimile of certain aesthetic properties. There is no clash in the heterogeneous elements, they are simply presented as they exist, in a singular composition, only in a decontextualised manner. Likewise, there is no question of whether we should be ‘satisfied by’[20] the spectacle as is presented to us in the work, for it has no care in itself how it should be received. Indeed, it is wholly ambiguous whether the work should be enjoyed in its reception, and it is from this that an empowered spectatorship is gained.

Therefore, by distilling down the audio signifiers of contemporary capitalist culture to purely its aesthetic properties – for instance, making use of a ringtone for its tonal qualities, regardless of its origin or the implications of its use – Ferraro is able to empower the listener into engaging critically with the work as a surrogate for the context whence it came. This ensures that Ferraro is able to retain a critical edge, and yet is not guilty of what Oliver Davies intimates:

The implication of Ranciere’s analysis is that in their concern to convey a certain political message and elicit a certain response in the spectator [artists] revert to the mimetic or representational regime and so produce something which not only falls short of art but which also fails to respect the interpretive autonomy of the spectator.[21]

The key here is that Ferraro’s work is decidedly not ‘mimetic or representational’[22]: through its aestheticisation the music exists in spite of its mimeses of any potential origin, or indeed of anything extraneous to it. This ensures that both the work retains its autonomy and the listener is empowered through their engagement and interpretation of the work. This empowerment of the spectator is the key way in which the work of an artist like Ferraro can in itself gain a critical capacity. As Davis states:

Art can allow people to see the world and their place in it differently, which may in turn lead them to intervene in it and change it by becoming political subjects, yet it can only do so as art by respecting their autonomy as spectators.[23]

This is also the final tenet of Ranciere’s view of art’s critical role in relation to spectatorship: that the dissensus opened up within a work can be sufficient to contribute to an actual, active cultural critique, rather than reinforcing an artistic/critical ‘melancholy [that] feeds its own impotence’[24]:

Dissensus brings back into play both the obviousness of what can be perceived, thought and done, and the distribution of those who are capable of perceiving, thinking and altering the coordinates of the shared world.[25]

Despite this, Ranciere is not particularly elucidating when it comes to how art can move from a reconfiguration of spectatorship into a way in which it can provide an actual cultural critique. While Ranciere’s view of spectatorship is useful in dispelling misconceptions regarding the way in which art can be an agent of cultural critique, it does not fully map out the way in which art’s true critical function can manifest. It is at this point that Ranciere perhaps becomes guilty of that which he is charged with by Hal Foster:

Ranciere condemns critique for its projection of a passive spectator in need of activation…yet he, too, assumes this passivity when he calls for such activation beyond mere awareness.[26]

There is a missing link between the way in which an artwork can engage the spectator and how this can perform a critique. To fully realise this it is necessary to explore the function, production and reception of meaning in the work of art, and the consequences this has for art’s critical potential. In the same way that an emancipation of spectatorship is required for art to gain a critical capacity, so too is it necessary for a self-aware purging of meaning to occur within the artwork. For if we are to assume that it is necessary for art to ‘allow people to see the world and their place in it differently…by respecting their autonomy as spectators’[27], it becomes futile to search for a kernel of objective meaning in art to point us towards a critique of culture. As Adorno states in his Aesthetic Theory:

That artworks…are “purposeless,” that they are separated from empirical reality and serve no aim that is useful for self-preservation and life, precludes calling art’s meaning its purpose, despite meaning’s affinity to immanent teleology…The more the emancipation of the subject demolished every idea of a preestablished order conferring meaning, the more dubious the concept of meaning became as the refuge of a fading theology.[28]

Thus in order for art to move towards a credible critical position it must work from a paradigm that acknowledges the ineffectuality of conferring meaning to the subject, especially if the latter is to remain emancipated and compelled to activity based on the former’s ‘critique’. Adorno suggests that this can be achieved through a conscious negation of meaning within the artwork, in a self-aware exhibition of its own meaninglessness. Thus the artwork can be seen to require no meaning within itself, but only beyond itself; a meaninglessness – derived from abstraction and decontextualisation in the case of the works discussed here – is essential for establishing a relevant critical platform while maintaining the subjectivity of reception:

When artworks have nothing external to themselves to which they can cling without ideology, what they have lost cannot be restored by any subjective act…At the same time the totality of the work presents meaning and produces it aesthetically, it reproduces it. Meaning is only legitimate in the artwork insofar as it objectively more than the work’s own meaning.[29]

In this sense, in order for an artwork to gain legitimacy it is necessary for it to display its own meaninglessness, for it is this conscious negation of meaning that dictates whether the work lies in antithesis to the cultural conditions that has rendered meaning in the work of art a fallacy in the first place, or is merely in thrall to it:

The dividing line between authentic art that takes on itself the crisis of meaning and a resigned art consisting literally and figuratively of protocol sentences is that in significant works the negation of meaning is stubbornly and positively replicated. Everything depends on this: whether meaning inheres in the negation of meaning in the artwork or if the negation conforms to the status quo; whether the crisis of meaning is reflected in the works or whether it remains immediate and therefore alien to the subject.[30]

This conscious negation of meaning within the artwork is a defining trait of much of the work of Daniel Lopatin, especially his 2010 work Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 and 2011’s Replica. Both works are composed of reconstituted pop songs, advertisements and other audio ‘junk’ that, like the work of James Ferraro, create an uncanny, hyperreal approximation of contemporary pop music. What separates Lopatin’s work from Ferraro is that the former’s work is far more explicitly collage-like in form. Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 in particular is comprised of a multitude of short pieces played in quick succession; the cuts and edits between each ‘song’ are intentionally jarring, confronting the listener with the assemblage of their structure. These stylistic traits can be seen as a musical analogue to filmic montage, which Adorno describes as ‘the inner-aesthetic capitulation of art to what stands heterogeneously opposed to it’[31], and is a key way in which art is able to gain a critical platform through the conscious negation of meaning. Lopatin exploits a montage-like aesthetic in order to draw attention to the cultural conditions in which a fragmented, ‘meaningless’ mode of art is necessitated. As Simon Reynolds notes in his 2011 book Retromania, in assembling his work from the pre-existing detritus of modern culture ‘Lopatin uses the analogy of archaeologists stumbling on a lost civilization. “We approach the ruins and we look for symbols on the wall. We try to piece together what their culture was, their purpose.”’[32]

The suggestion therefore is that inherent in a montage/collage aesthetic is the acknowledgement of the destruction of meaning in the wake of contemporary capitalist culture, rendering art unable to make sense of the fragments left behind, which Adorno would certainly concur with:

Art wants to admit its powerlessness vis-à-vis late-capitalist totality and to initiate its abrogation…The artwork wants to make the facts eloquent by letting them speak for themselves. Art thereby begins the process of destroying the artwork as a nexus of meaning.[33]

So in order for an artwork to gain critical function it is necessary to destroy the semblance of meaning within the work, which inevitability links back to the Rancierian idea of acknowledging the active spectatorship of the listening subject, for if it is impossible (or at least disingenuous) for the artwork to generate meaning in light of the conditions of its creation, ‘meaning’ (or at least the reception thereof) must be shaped by the spectator. The defining trait of the music discussed here is its commitment to appropriating preexisting musical characteristics in a way that divorces them from meaning. The meaninglessness in the work therefore exists to draw attention to its own meaninglessness, which is what gives the work its purpose. The spectator therefore is fully aware of the ‘crisis of meaning’[34] as drawn out in the work, and it is this that gives it its critical capacity.

Here it becomes apparent for what purpose this presentation of meaninglessness exists: by replicating the conditions of its creation (i.e. the fragmentation and crises of meaning implied by the very form of montage) and presenting them as self-evident – much like the previously discussed work of James Ferraro via Ranciere – a space is opened up in the work of Lopatin for a critique of these conditions and their cultural origin.

Perhaps the concept that binds the two already discussed here – the self-evident presentation of critique through the emancipation of spectatorship and the self-conscious negation of meaning – is one of accelerationism. Accelerationism is a term often used when discussing the way in which the potential for cultural critique can emerge in what is known as ‘vaporwave’, the name given to the style of music that has emerged in the wake of Lopatin’s Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 and Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual, both of which can be seen as proto-works of the genre. In his seminal essay ‘Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza’, which has played a large part in codifying the genre itself, Adam Harper explains that:

Accelerationism is the notion that the dissolution of civilisation wrought by capitalism should not and cannot be resisted, but rather must be pushed faster and farther towards the insanity and anarchically fluid violence that is its ultimate conclusion, either because this is liberating, because it causes a revolution, or because destruction is the only logical answer.[35]

Inherent in this aesthetic philosophy is the concept of emancipated spectatorship, because it is only through the subjective interpretation of the spectator that the artwork can gain its critical power. In a fully aestheticised, accelerationist artwork that has negated all meaning in an attempt to draw attention to the destructive forces that have necessitated the form of its creation, the whole power of critique lies in the spectator being free to subjectively interpret the work how they see fit. As Harper says of the music’s ambiguity in intention:

Is it a critique of capitalism or a capitulation to it? Both and neither. These musicians can be read as sarcastic anti-capitalists revealing the lies and slippages of modern techno-culture and its representations, or as its willing facilitators, shivering with delight upon each new wave of delicious sound.[36]

It is not explicit in any of this music whether it is critical or celebratory of the source material it is approximating, but intentionality is not the point: what matters is that, as Ranciere suggests, opened up within the work is a space in which dissensus is possible. A variation of this notion also seems to be what Adorno is hinting at when he talks of ‘the emancipation of the artwork from the artist’,[37] which he says ‘is no l’art pour l’art delusion of grandeur but the simplest expression of the work’s constitution as the expression of a social relation that bears in itself the laws of its own reification’[38].

It could certainly be said that to summarise the accelerationist tendency of the vaporwave genre is to call it a music that ‘bears in itself the laws of its own reification’.[39] For, much like the acknowledgement of the artwork’s embeddings in spectatorship and the conditions in which meaning is negated, authentic, critical art must exhibit, reference and even exaggerate that which causes it to compromise its own unity and meaning, and this is the core of an accelerationist aesthetic. Much like Eagleton says:

Culture is deeply locked into the structure of commodity production; but one effect of this is to release it into a certain ideological autonomy, hence allowing it to speak against the very social order with which it is guiltily complicit. It is this complicity which spurs art into protest, but which also strikes that protest agonized and ineffectual, formal gesture rather than irate polemic. Art can only hope to be valid if it provides an implicit critique of the conditions which produce it – a validation which, in evoking art’s privileged remoteness from such conditions, instantly invalidates itself. Conversely, art can only be authentic if it silently acknowledges how deeply it is compromised by what it opposes; but to press this logic too far is precisely to undermine its authenticity.[40]

The accelerationist tendency of vaporwave exploits this dilemma by exaggerating these consequences – both positive and negative – for the subjective interpretation of the listener. The assimilation of art into commodification is laid out within the very style of the music, pushed to its limits, relying on the reception of the reader to recognise all that this exaggeration represents in terms of its cultural context.

What also defines vaporwave as a genre is the total aestheticisation and abstraction of all the sonic traits previously discussed in the music of Ferraro and Lopatin, inherent in which is both the emancipation of spectatorship and the negation of meaning, for the music is so separated from its origin point (in terms of its decontextualisation) that any meaning previously inherent in the work is consciously destroyed, leaving any potential interpretation totally in the hands of the spectator. Moreover, Eagleton suggests that it is this very aestheticism, this apparent lack of content, that can give the art work a critical capacity:

What art is now able to offer, in that ideological reading of it known as the aesthetic, is a paradigm of more general social significance – an image of self-referentiality which in an audacious move seizes upon the very functionlessness of artistic practice and transforms it to a vision of the highest good. As a form of value grounded entirely in itself, without practical rhyme or reason, the aesthetic is at once eloquent testimony to the obscure origins and enigmatic nature of value in a society which would seem everywhere to deny it, and a utopian glimpse of an alternative to this sorry condition. For what the work of art imitates in its very pointlessness, in the constant movement by which it conjures itself up from its own inscrutable depths, is nothing less than human existence itself, which requires no rationale beyond its own self-delight. For this Romantic doctrine, the art work is most rich in political implications where it is most gloriously futile.[41]

Thus it becomes apparent that the work of art, as presented here, has the potential to become critical in the sense that its very existence is in itself a critical act. Its negation of meaning and the conditions of its creation are explicit and self-evident, suggesting that a pedagogical role is not necessary, desired or even productive in establishing and recognising a cultural critique within the work of art. This is the success of Ferraro, Lopatin and the wider vaporwave movement: an adherence to Ranciere’s conception of spectatorship, and a commitment to an accelerationist aesthetic via decontextualisation, abstraction and the negation of meaning. It is through an exhibition of these three interrelated concepts that art may gain the capacity for cultural critique.


Adorno, Theodor W., Aesthetic Theory, trans. by Robert Hullot-Kentor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. 152.

Davis, Oliver, Jacques Ranciere (Cambridge: Polity, 2010).

Eagleton, Terry, The Ideology of the Aesthetic, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1990), p. 348-349.

Ferraro, James, Far Side Virtual, (Hippos In Tanks, HIT013, 2011).

Ferraro, James, Sushi, (Hippos In Tanks, HIT023, 2012).

Foster, Hal, ‘Post-Critical’, October, 139 (2012), 3-8.

Gibb, Rory, ‘Reviews – James Ferraro, Far Side Virtual’ <http://thequietus.com/articles/07342-james-ferraro-far-side-virtual-            review> [accessed 18 December 2013]

Harper, Adam, ‘Comment: Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza’ <http://www.dummymag.com/features/adam-harper-vaporwave&gt; [accessed 17 December 2013]

Hippos in Tanks, ‘James Ferraro “Far Side Virtual”’ <http://hipposintanks.net/releases/james-ferraro-far-side-virtual&gt; [accessed 17 December 2013]

Lopatin, Daniel (‘Chuck Person’), Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 (The Curatorial Club, TCC011, 2010).

Lopatin, Daniel (‘Oneohtrix Point Never’), Replica (Software Records, SFT010, 2011).

Luxury Elite, TV Party (Orange Milk Records, 2013).

Macintosh Plus, Floral Shoppe (Beer On The Rug, BOTR009, 2012).

Ranciere, Jacques, The Emancipated Spectator, trans. by Gregory Elliott (London: Verso, 2011).

Ranciere, Jacques, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, trans. by Kristin Ross (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991).

Ranciere, Jacques, ‘Problems and Transformations of Critical Art’ in Aesthetics and its Discontents, trans. by Steven Corcoran (Cambridge: Polity, 2009), pp. 44-60.

Reynolds, Simon, Retromania (London: Faber and Faber, 2011), p. 84.

Saint Pepsi, Hit Vibes (Keats Collective, 2013).

Stork, Benedict, ‘Dis-identifying Spectatorship’, Cultural Critique, 79 (2011), 155-161.


[1] Benedict Stork, ‘Dis-identifying Spectatorship’, Cultural Critique, 79 (2011), 155-161 (p. 155).

[2] Jacques Ranciere, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, trans. by Kristin Ross (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), p. 17.

[3] Jacques Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, trans. by Gregory Elliott (London: Verso, 2011), p. 47.

[4] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 33.

[5] Jacques Ranciere, ‘Problems and Transformations of Critical Art’ in Aesthetics and its Discontents, trans. by Steven Corcoran (Cambridge: Polity, 2009), pp. 44-60 (p. 45).

[6] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p.17.

[7] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 40.

[8] Adam Harper, ‘Comment: Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza’ < http://www.dummymag.com/features/adam-harper-vaporwave&gt; [accessed 17 December 2013]

[9] Harper, ‘Comment: Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza’

[10] Hippos in Tanks, ‘James Ferraro “Far Side Virtual”’ <http://hipposintanks.net/releases/james-ferraro-far-side-virtual&gt; [accessed 17 December 2013]

[11] James Ferraro, Far Side Virtual, (Hippos In Tanks, HIT013, 2011).

[12] Oliver Davis, Jacques Ranciere (Cambridge: Polity, 2010), p. 154.

[13] Davis, Jacques Ranciere, p. 154.

[14] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 29-30.

[15] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 48.

[16] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 48-49.

[17] Rory Gibb, ‘Reviews – James Ferraro, Far Side Virtual’ <http://thequietus.com/articles/07342-james-ferraro-far-side-virtual-review&gt; [accessed 18 December 2013]

[18] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 29.

[19] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 40.

[20] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 40.

[21] Davis, Jacques Ranciere, p. 154.

[22] Davis, Jacques Ranciere, p. 154.

[23] Davis, Jacques Ranciere, p. 155.

[24] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 41.

[25] Ranciere, The Emancipated Spectator, p. 49.

[26] Hal Foster, ‘Post-Critical’, October, 139 (2012), 3-8 (p. 6).

[27] Davies, Jacques Ranciere, p. 155.

[28] Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. by Robert Hullot-Kentor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. 152.

[29] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 153.

[30] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 154.

[31] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 155.

[32] Simon Reynolds, Retromania (London: Faber and Faber, 2011), p. 84.

[33] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 155.

[34] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 154.

[35] Harper, ‘Comment: Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza’

[36] Harper, ‘Comment: Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza’

[37] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 167.

[38] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 167.

[39] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 167.

[40] Terry Eagleton, The Ideology of the Aesthetic, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1990), p. 348-349.

[41] Eagleton, p. 65.