Skip to content

Seeing Degree Zero

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Author: Roland Barthes, Victor Burgin, Ryan Bishop & Sunil Manghani

Design: Studio 3015

ISBN: 987-1-4744-3141-5

In the fields of literature and the visual arts, zero degree represents a neutral aesthetic situated in response to and outside of the dominant cultural order. Taking Roland Barthes’ Writing Degree Zero as just one starting point, this volume provides an historical, theoretical and visual examination of the term and draws directly upon the editors’ on-going collaboration with artist and writer Victor Burgin.

The book is composed of key chapters by the editors themselves and Burgin. It includes an in-depth dialogue regarding Burgin’s long-term reading of Barthes and a lengthy image-text, offering critical exploration of the Image (in echo of earlier theories of the Text). Also included are translations of two projection works by Burgin, Belledonne and Prairie, which work alongside and inform the collected essays. Overall, the book provides a combined reading of both Barthes and Burgin, which in turn leads to new considerations of visual culture, the spectatorship of art and the political aesthetic.

With contributions from: Christine Berthin, Victor Burgin, Sean Cubitt, Gordon Hon, Kristen Kreider, James O’Leary and Domietta Torlasco