[iDC] Activist Media Landscape
trebor at thing.net
Wed Dec 14 16:05:03 EST 2005
We fly over the terrain. But each light cone of our searchlights
renders a different area. Sometimes, this territory
is claimed to be the entire forest. What would we find if
we pin note pads to a map of resistant practices
in today's networked media landscape? I took some time
to outline what I see as sites of resistance. They come
down from a birds-eye view to lists of concrete examples.
All acts are political in their consequences. It did not
take Brecht to teach us that. There is no outside. There
is no snow-white innocence of an absolute non-involvement.
Many are vehement in their critique of the university
as corporate vehicle. They cancel it out as site of oppositionality.
It does not take much historical wandering to question this
argument. Just take the German political theorist Herbert
Marcuse who taught at the conservative,
small, private Brandeis University for 8 years. We could add many
Other examples. In similar ways to critique of academia others leave no
space or potentiality for affective resistant practices within the (even
commercial) art world.
The separation of work time and leisure that I wrote about
earlier is a major site of contestation. Here I see a personal
locale for resistance. We need time to dream, reflect, and think.
Grant brought up the question of duration in art. I recommend Grant's book
"Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art" (2004)
highly! Here, Grant looks at long-term, sustainable community art. I am
particularly taken by his approach to critique. He is obviously invested in
community art. But to value it he is extremely critical as well as
appreciative. No romanticism here!
This also relates to the prevailing culture of immediacy. Immediate results
are expected in the process of learning (i.e. in programming). The way to
art world fame needs to be short. The production time for artworks are often
weeks if not shorter. Also the staging of the artwork is often more like a
flash. Time was also at the core of the considerations in previous posts who
reminded us that social change takes generations.
Time was also the issue for those who asked us to be ready for our
oppositional gesture when the window of opportunity (of vulnerability) opens
A key problem in the field of activism or oppositional practices I see in
the antagonisms between different communities of practice. Dismissive
accusations are quick at hand. People are blamed for selfishness,
complacency, techno-utopia, careerism, managerial behavior, betrayal of
principles in the art world or in academia, etc etc etc. We should rest this
and instead look for connections. We should respect distinct levels of
thinking and not impose our ideas. We should recognize our own errors and
correct them. We should seek dialogue instead of shutting others up. We can
learn and speak in discursive communities and renew ourselves through these
networks of inspiration. It's not all of "them" against "us." We are largely
the same. To acknowledge what we hate so much about the other in ourselves
is a start. This takes self-awareness and consciousness. We see how our own
biography shapes our thinking. We are driven by our fascinations. That's
what motivates our feelings and behavior. We can help each other in living a
bit less brainwashed, depressed, compulsive, anxiety-ridden, and addicted.
We can be a bit more in touch with social reality. A bit less
"remote-controlled" by corporate media. A bit more self-governed. A bit more
I look at this network society and the politics surrounding me and I see a
wide field of possibilities for engagement. From art, media activism, the
production of media theory, to an event-based cultural practice.
What follows are examples. What follows is not more than an annotated sketch
of sites of oppositionality in today's network society. I make, of course,
no claims to completeness.
1) CIVIC USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
2) TACTICAL MEDIA
3) MEDIA ART/DISTRIBUTED CREATIVITY
4) PROTEST CULTURE
6) CULTURE JAMMING
7) (TRADITIONAL) ART WORLD
8) EVENT-BASED CULTURAL PRACTICE
9) EXTREME SHARING NETWORKS and the their OPEN ARCHIVES
10) (MEDIA ART) EDUCATION
11) ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIES/ COMMONS-BASED PEER PRODUCTION.
1) CIVIC USES OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Communal web pages, mailing lists, blogs, grass-roots journalism,
pod casts, cell phones, open access journals
Citizen journalism is the act of citizens "playing an active role in the
process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and
South Korea's OhmyNews website (new type of democratic journalism)
A free service that lets you send SMS text messages to a group of people.
African Global Call to Action against Poverty uses
SMS messaging as a tool for mobilization.
Blogosphere/ Rise of the online Citizen
Daoud Kuttab's Blog
Blog on the Commons
Audio Activism Podcast
A Google bomb stands for the willful manipulation of the ranking of a given
page in results returned by the Google search engine (i.e. google "Miserable
Short-term, spontaneous interruptions of daily life through creative re-use
of mostly cheap consumer electronics.
Personal Sousveillance (pronounced "Sou Veil Lance," Steve Mann) refers both
to inverse surveillance, as well as to the recording of an activity from the
perspective of a participant in the activity (i.e. personal experience
Carbon Defense League
MEDIA ART/DISTRIBUTED CREATIVITY
"Nukorea" by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries
and the classic: "The Struggle Continues"
Transit Wellen by schleuser.net
Games with political intent
Transforming aesthetics, conference, Sydney 2005
Demonstrations, new organizational forms
Democratic globalization movement
Seattle, Genoa, Davos, ...
Denial of service attacks
Protest.net lists upcoming protests
Copyright Issues/Creative Commons/ GPL
Creative Commons-- nonprofit organization
that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works.
Archive.org/ (also see: Ourmedia.org)
There is a decisive disregard of copyright law by millions
of Internet users every day on file sharing networks like Bittorrent.
Adbusters is a political magazine.
Bush in 30 Seconds
Billionaires For Bush
Billionaires For Bush is a culture jamming political street theater
organization that satirically purports to support George W. Bush.
The Yes Men
Satire Remix Culture
Bush & Blair
by US Department of Art & Technology
Homeland Security Threat Monitor
Politics in the game Second Life
Conceptual Political Art/ Public Interventionist Practices
EVENT-BASED CULTURAL PRACTICE
Conference in Budapest, October 2005
International conference on Information and Communication Technologies and
Development, Berkeley 2006
Share, Share Widely
Conference on Media Art Education
Iraq Body Count
EXTREME SHARING NETWORKS and OPEN ARCHIVES
EXTREME SHARING NETWORKS are social networks that are able to reproduce
themselves. They takes the idea of extreme programming to autonomous social
networking. Extreme Programming is a popular development methodology used to
implement software engineering projects. It claims to have the potential to
avoid personal burnout and develop a more sustainable software development
Argentinean Electronic Network
Interactivist Info Exchange
(MEDIA ART) EDUCATION
-Transformative power of human encounters in the class room
-Analysis of neoliberalism
-Teaching of human rights, civil society related to network society
-Empower students to use the networked commons
-Reeingineering, hacktivism (programming + critical thinking for social
Distributed Learning Projects
H2O, Connexions, ShareWidely
ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIES/ COMMONS-BASED PEER PRODUCTION
(non-proprietary cooperative production of information)
Anonymous P2P file sharing
GNUnet file sharing application
Friend-to-friend networks/ Community Informatics
community networking, electronic community networking
Production & Use of Free, Libre, and Open Source Applications
Freshmeat is probably the largest open archive of open source
and free software projects.
Free, user contributed encyclopedia.
Freenet is free software that lets you publish and obtain information
on the Internet without fear of censorship. Contributors stay anonymous.
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