The same process also generates a different problem: as automation increases, less labor power is required.
At the same time, however, we know that a commodity like an Apple computer is, in fact, produced by processes quite clearly identifiable as “labor.” Despite the fact that every effort is made to keep this fact out of sight and out of mind, we know it because we read about it on Apple computers. New technologies of production, and new techniques of production (assembly lines, for example) make it possible to increase productivity, and thus increase the amount of surplus value that can be extracted in a certain period of time.
Thus, without further increasing the length of the working day, one can increase surplus value (this called “relative surplus value”).


Indeed, bearing the conditions of its production in mind, one might view a device like an Apple computer as a distillation of the entire history of modernity—of the manner in which modernity acts upon external nature and changes it, and in this way simultaneously changes its own nature, from the printing press to the steam engine to the silicon chip.
Thus, during the period of formal subsumption, the extraction of surplus value is primarily correlated to the length of the working day and the cost of labor power. This is what automation and capitalist management techniques—Taylorism and Fordism—are for. And it is through this history, this mediation, that art takes up techniques which throw us back outside the history of capital, outside the history of mimesis—indeed, outside the history of the human, the history of thought, and the history of sensation—within and through the technical means to which the linked histories of capital, mimesis, and technics give rise.


As Marx tells us in Chapter 8 of Volume One, “the means of production on one hand, labor-power on the other, are merely the different forms of existence which the value of the original capital assumed when it lost its monetary form and was transformed into the various factors of the production process.” Both the means of production and labor power are different elements of capital in its own valorization process.
What Kittler calls “media differentiation” carves up the Romantic imagination, sutured to the book, and parcels out its capacities among discrete technologies addressed to a segmented perceiver: an ear, an eye, a mind—a modernist collage of the formerly integral subject.



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