[iDC] Activism

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Wed Dec 7 12:39:55 EST 2005

>Brian wrote:
> The last wave needed technology. Computers. A way to
> communicate, to welcome all those people streaming into the
> circles. Digital activism. Interactive arts. No copyright.
> Then the wave crashed onto the shore. And the people holding
> onto their computers found themselves with less
> communication, less interaction, more career.

Death-dealing is the Wired-type commercialized enthusiasm, the fat
future-selling-smile, the racy techno-hype. The 1994 talk of
resistance-has-to-be-all-virtual is indeed terminally ill. To associate
computers with a sweeping decline in interaction and communication is
unsound. We can suffer from the Major Tom Syndrome on our coach, in the
galaxy of culture jamming or in a twiki. The computer does not have the
devil in the eye. Sure, there is all the network hell that we perpetually
talk about. But we also need to have a close look, unfatigued, at peer
production in the unregulated commons and cooperation-enhancing
technologies. Look at group formation online. Check out distributed
creativity. For the remixed Kanye West GWB "don't like Black people..."
Women in the networked game Second Life actually talk about the riots in
France. Kids produce machinima and cell phone animation responding to the
riots. Listen to the Katrina podcasts. Or check the "F--k Fima" gamic comics
online.  Rss feed Counterpounch. Take part in archive.org. Property issues
are re-decided with each contribution to the unregulated commons. All the
extreme social networking, and the alternative economies are not
boingboing-nerdy trends. They are here. They will stay. Even when it is not
cool anymore to talk about these technologies they will still be of
importance. We are not hopping from one tech-fixation to the next. We look
at society in front of us and ..., lots of cooperation-enhancing
technologies there. Tons of social networking. And it ain't just cables
under Wall Street. Looking the other way does not help.

One of my Chinese students gets interested in blogging to help women in a
mountain village in the South of China. They have broadband there too, you
know. Not just the son-of-a-Bush nation has that. What people talked about
in Tunis actually matters. The landscape is not one of trenches with dark
yellow smoke blowing low over the battlefield. It's more like a walk that
looks for the like-minded wherever they may be, however partial our alliance
may be. And this stroll needs tolerance for those who are not on board.
My initial was leaning on the personal as site of politics in network
society. That's more like the straight sea than a wave. Crank up your
computer like a woman in the wilderness as Peter Lambert would say.

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