[iDC] activism now and

Judith Rodenbeck jrodenbe at slc.edu
Thu Dec 8 00:25:12 EST 2005

What Saul writes here rings true for me. While I find much that is
commendable in the force of texts like the first one in this thread, I
nevertheless find myself (still) asking: resistance to what? 

I'm foolish enough to still believe that specifics are important. Foucault,
remember, thought the Ayatollah Khomeini was great. And it's true, he was a
great revolutionary for Iran (this Foucault understood) but his revolution,
was a reactionary revolution to the postmodern medieval (with all the
repulsive Tarantino overtones one can muster). The Shah was already out,
there was a moment of potential, and he grabbed it, supported by blinkered
theorists like Foucault, who never bothered to consider the specifics of
Iran or of Islam. 

There's a great deal of cultural capital to be garnered not only from
working with so-called new media, but also from promoting it, and especially
from promoting it as resistant or revolutionary. I don't buy it. Beware
charisma, I say. I just watched Triumph of the Will with my students this
afternoon, partially in fast-forward. It's a film that still rivets, and
though I've seen it many, many times now it rivets in a way that is not
abstract in the least, because the rhetoric, in both style and content so
permeates our Amerikan everyday. Leni Riefenstahl invented the crane shot;
she was a new media pioneer. And the subject of her film is explicitly
positioned within the film as a movement of resistance. Why might that be?

For what it's worth, what Marcel Mauss writes of in The Gift is primitive
capital accumulation, structures of social inequality and their replication
in the circulation of goods both useful and useless. The Gift is a book
about money (and not coincidentally about abstraction, cultural capital).
The great insight of Debord was to look at this, and at potlatch, and to
understand: "the horror, the horror."

-----Original Message-----
From: idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net [mailto:idc-bounces at bbs.thing.net] On Behalf
Of saul ostrow
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 2:21 PM
To: Trebor Scholz
Cc: idc at bbs.thing.net
Subject: Re: [iDC] activism now and

But perhaps what is most interesting especially concerning Seattle is 
the mix-- these demonstrations brought together the spectrum of left to 
right  -- consequently, when we speak of activism we must speak equally 
of this span and not think that the content  and form of resistance de 
facto infers something progressive or even desirable --

  Saul Ostrow

iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity
iDC at bbs.thing.net

List Archive:

More information about the iDC mailing list