Friday, October 28, 2011

Cogs lately, 8: Criminal Minds Edition

I was just in Davis with my family over the fall break and Min and I put on the television one night. Having never watched, and never even felt a twinge of interest in watching, an episode of Criminal Minds, I was still pulled into their latest promo ad. Peppered throughout from the very opening are myriad cogwheels, though at times from their small size and the juxtaposition with scenes of apparent torture, it can be difficult to determine if they are cogwheels or saw blades on the screen. Only the final image of a human face outline populated by numerous cogwheels turning determines in favor of the cog. These visual cog codings of a criminal mind, and of minds in general, is provocative. The show feeds on the contemporary fantasy of total social control--total social security, a fantasy that is predominantly cyber-tech in terms of actual surveillance and manipulation. And yet, the underlying logic of human subjectivity as fully accountable/predictable within statistical probability mapping of psychic profiles is imaged as a cogwheel machine. The brain is not depicted as a computer but as a set of tightly assembled cogwheels turning upon and by themselves apparently. The image is like the one Leibniz uses in The Monadology, yet Leibniz was focused on what existed but could not be found in the brain-cogs-machine while this show's promo image implies that all is there and that we must have the people with the good machines apply their mental engines to stopping the mental engines of the bad machines...

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