[iDC] tactical media (by request)

Rita Raley raley at english.ucsb.edu
Wed Jan 13 19:34:21 UTC 2010

Davin kindly mentioned my book in a post this week and Trebor has asked 
me to follow up with an introduction, which I am happy to provide. I've 
been lurking on this list for some time now and have learned a great 
deal from the conversations in the last few months in particular. After 
the IPL conference, I was particularly struck by the discussion of Ayhan 
Aytes's paper on Mechanical Turk and decided to invite him up the coast 
to UC Santa Barbara to present his research to a social media seminar I 
am teaching this term: <http://engl147.ning.com/page/schedule-1>. So 
I've been benefiting from the list and it seems time to seed.

My book, _Tactical Media_, emerges in part from my long-term interest in 
disciplinary formations. Tactical media is often regarded in an academic 
context as a movement and practice that emerged and then expired in the 
1990s, a discursive appraisal that seemed to me contravened by the 
ongoing political investment in tactics by the artists themselves. At 
the same time, I thought that claims made for the efficacy of tactical 
media were too large, the rhetoric too overblown, so one of the things I 
was interested in doing was using Paolo Virno to think through issues of 
technique and thereby recoup what I considered to be a more legitimate 
claim for the political content of these practices and individual works. 
My guiding questions were these:  Are there successful protests in a 
networked or computational environment that have methodologies, tactics, 
and techniques structurally different from those reliant on print and 
televisual media? Are these models traditional but just made more 
efficient and ubiquitous through, for example, DDoS scripts? My 
conclusion was that tactical media pursues a micropolitics of disruption 
and a mode of immanent critique within the field of cultural production.

More information on the press website:

Rita Raley
Literature.Culture.Media Center
Department of English
University of California, Santa Barbara

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