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The Future Is Present: Art, Technology, and the Work of Mobile Image (Leonardo)

The Future Is Present: Art, Technology, and the Work of Mobile Image (Leonardo)

Current price: $45.00
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
The MIT Press
Available for Preorder


A critical history of the pioneering art and technology group Mobile Image and their prescient work in communications, networking, and information systems.

In The Future Is Present, Philip Glahn and Cary Levine tell the fascinating history of the visionary art group Mobile Image—founded by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz in 1977—which appropriated emerging technologies, from satellites to electronic message platforms. Based in Los Angeles, this under-studied collective worked amid urban crisis, a techno-boom, consolidating media power, and ascendant neoliberal politics. Mobile Image challenged fundamental conventions of the public sphere, democracy, communication, and political participation, as well as notions of power, representation, and identity.

Glahn and Levine argue not only for the historical importance of Mobile Image, but also for a critical artistic process that is at once analytic and transformative. They weave themes such as embodiment and its mediation, public/private dialectics, and techno-utopian vision throughout the book, binding these projects to discourses around race, gender, and class, as well as margin and center, the local and the global. In today’s world of ubiquitous digital re/production, networking, and social media, The Future Is Present shows how the work of Mobile Image continues to have profound implications for art, technology, and the politics of public and private experience.

About the Author

Philip Glahn is Associate Professor of Critical Studies and Aesthetics at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the author of Bertolt Brecht, a political biography in Reaktion Books’ Critical Lives series.

Cary Levine is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of Pay for Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon.