Market Monstrosity in Industrial Fishing

Martín Arboleda and Daniel Banoub, “Market Monstrosity in Industrial Fishing: Capital as Subject and the Urbanization of Nature,” Social & Cultural Geography, published online ahead of print: DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2016.1266025.

Through a materialist reading of the aesthetic, this paper explores Leviathan, a project of visual anthropology produced by Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, in order to reflect on the urbanization of nature as it is advanced by the more-than-human scripture of power objectified in the technologized, capital-intensive spaces of transnational fishing. With its idiosyncratic and technically elaborate mode of representation, Leviathan realizes a visual testament to the forms of disfigurement, exploitation and brutalization of human and nonhuman natures that have ensued from the real subsumption of planetary space to capital. Building upon a strand of critical theory that has advanced Marx’s original, yet partially developed insights on “capital as alienated subject”, we contend that one of Leviathan’s most salient artistic accomplishments has been to provide a vivid portrayal of how circuits of abstraction come to life as they take possession of human bodies and instruments of production. As a monster-tale of global capitalism, Leviathan showcases the purposeful, impersonal, and quasi-organic features of the ‘automatic subject’ that has come to rule over the materiality of social life.


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