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Economic Media
For the Decolonization of Money

If money is the primary medium of value transfer in 2021, why and more importantly, how is it extractive? As a set of protocols, does monetary media conform to the violent logics of race, gender, nation and class that have been detected and, of late, so vigorously critiqued in other media? In short, in what ways are existing money forms biased? Moreover, can it be said that the biases in the calculus of the financial system have articulated and indeed fused with biases in our representational and computational media? This talk understands “convergence”, the convergence of representational, computational and financial media in and as “the digital” in precisely these terms. It shows how monetary media, by inscribing code on bodies, is a force of ongoing colonization under racial capitalism, and points towards possibilities for its decolonization and communization through art, ecology, activism, protest, organizing, and crypto-economic design.

Jonathan Beller is Professor of Media Studies at Pratt Institute and member of the Economic Space Agency (ECSA) think tank as well as of the Social Texteditorial collective. His work in media studies includes materialist analysis of cinema, photography, computation, information, and money/finance. His research is situated in film studies, media studies, critical race theory, feminist theory and anti-imperialist and decolonial epistemology and struggle. Beller's books include The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle (2006); Acquiring Eyes: Philippine Visuality, Nationalist Struggle, and the World-Media System (2006);  The Message is Murder: Substrates of Computational Capital (2017) and The World Computer: Derivative Conditions of Racial Capitalism (2021, forthcoming Duke University Press).

Gary O’Bannon joined the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bloch School of Management in 2012, as an adjunct instructor, teaching master’s and undergraduate human resource management and leadership curriculums. After his retirement as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Kansas City, Missouri in 2019, he began teaching full-time at the Bloch school in January 2020. Currently, Mr. O’Bannon moderates UMKC’s Critical Conversations, a community-facing webinar series created to addresses systemic racism. In addition, he is the creator and host of the Journey to Leadership video podcast series, featuring interviews with community leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Mr. O’Bannon has been a recipient of the Award of Excellence from the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, as well as the Local Administrator of the Year Award from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of American Society of Public Administrators. In 1994, The Kansas City Globe newspaper cited him as one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans.