Search results for 'theory'

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SWARMACHINE 

Activist Media Tomorrow*

* BH: When I wrote this text five years ago, it really was not clear whether the swarming tactics of the counter-globalization movement would get a "second chance." But they have, and now the subtitle could be "activist media today."

What happened at the turn of the millennium, when a myriad of recording devices were hooked up to the Internet and the World Wide Web became an electronic prism refracting all the colors of a single anti-capitalist struggle? What kind of movement takes to the barricades with samba bands and videocams, tracing an embodied map through a maze of virtual hyperlinks and actual city streets? The organizational aesthetics of the networked movements was called "tactical media," a concept that mixed the quick-and-dirty appropriation of consumer electronics with the subtle counter-cultural anthropology of Michel de Certeau. The idea was to evoke a new kind of popular subjectivity, constitutionally "under the radar," impossible to identify, constantly shifting with the inventions of digital storytelling and the ruses of open-source practice. Too bad so much of this subversive process was frozen into a single seductive phrase.

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What is Mental Environmentalism? 

A brief history of "The Journal of the Mental Environment."

The core idea behind Adbusters, the essential critique that motivates our struggle against consumer society, is mental environmentalism. And for seventeen years, since the seventh issue of Adbusters was published in 1993, the subtitle of the magazine has been "The Journal of the Mental Environment". But, what exactly is mental environmentalism?

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Utopian Promises-Net Realities 

The need for net criticism certainly is a matter of overwhelming urgency. While a number of critics have approached the new world of computerized communications with a healthy amount of skepticism, their message has been lost in the noise and spectacle of corporate hype-the unstoppable tidal wave of seduction has enveloped so many in its dynamic utopian beauty that little time for careful reflection is left. Indeed, a glimpse of a possibility for a better future may be contained in the new techno-apparatus, and perhaps it is best to acknowledge these possibilities here in the beginning, since Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) has no desire to take the position of the neoluddites who believe that the techno-apparatus should be rejected outright, if not destroyed. To be sure, computerized communications offer the possibility for the enhanced storage, retrieval, and exchange of information for those who have access to the necessary hardware, software, and technical skills. In turn, this increases the possibility for greater access to vital information, faster exchange of information, enhanced distribution of information, and cross cultural artistic and critical collaborations. The potential humanitarian benefits of electronic systems are undeniable; however, CAE questions whether the electronic apparatus is being used for these purposes in the representative case, much as we question the political policies which guide the net's development and accessibility.

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Vectorial Empires 

01. These are precarious times. These are eventful times. Let us note some of the symptoms of this instability. There is September 11,and the prospect of a new form of American empire that uses September11 as its pretext. There is the global stock market slide, triggered by the collapse of American tech stocks, which altered the lives of chip-makers in Korea and Coltan miners in the Congo. These are instances of what I call weird global media events. They are events because they are singular. They are media events because they happen in a vectoral space of communication. They are global media events because they call a world into being. They are weird global media events because they defy explanation. They subsume every explanation as mere ripples and eddies in their wake.

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The Transborder Immigrant Tool: Violence, Solidarity and Hope in Post-NAFTA Circuits of Bodies Electr(on)/ic 

This polyvocal, collectively authored paper describes the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a border disturbance art project developed by the Electronic Disturbance Theater. The paper outlines the motivations behind the tool and elaborates a notion of Science of the Oppressed as a methodology for developing locative media projects in solidarity with social movements. A shift is identified from Tactical Media to Tactical Biopolitics in contemporary media art. Walkingtools.net is also introduced as a platform for sharing technical information about locative media projects in order to create an ecology of projects. Poetic sustenance, part of the Transborder Immigrant Tool's functioning, is discussed in a context of Inter-American Transcendentalism.

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A Virtual World is Possible: From Tactical Media to Digital Multitudes 

I.

We start with the current strategy debates of the so-called 'anti-globalisation movement', the biggest emerging political force for decades. In Part II we will look into strategies of critical new media culture in the post-speculative phase after dotcommania. Four phases of the global movement are becoming visible, all of which have distinct political, artistic and aesthetic qualities.

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Dawn of the Organised Networks 

At first glance the concept of "organised networks" appears oxymoronic. In technical terms, all networks are organised. There are founders, administrators, moderators and active members who all take up roles. Think also back to the early work on cybernetics and the "second order" cybernetics of Bateson and others. Networks consist of mobile relations whose arrangement at any particular time is shaped by the "constitutive outside" of feedback or noise.[1] The order of networks is made up of a continuum of relations governed by interests, passions, affects and pragmatic necessities of different actors. The network of relations is never static, but this is not to be mistaken for some kind of perpetual fluidity. Ephemerality is not a condition to celebrate for those wishing to function as political agents.

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Out now: Art Leaks Gazette 3: Artists Against Precarity and Violence 

Resistance Strategies, Unionizing, and Coalition Building in a Time of Global Conflict and Contradiction.

This third issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette brings together art workers dealing with these urgent questions about models of organizations, unionizing, and strategies of resistance, and helping us to illuminate new ways of production and coalition building in international and local environments.

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The Legitimacy of Illegality 

Webcasting often is seen as an alternative for experiments which would not be able to get a licence for ethertransmissions. The difficulty projects and broadcasting initiatives encounter when trying to get legal airspace has caused a limited view of the possibilities of working within the ether as such. It is already clear that connections between networks like the internet and the ether can be most interesting, but this is of course not the only reason to have a look at the possibilities of broadcasting more closely. The ether is still the easiest way to reach large numbers of people fast. We should always be aware it is there when we need it.

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Human rights, testimony, and transnational publicity 

In the period between the end of the cold war in 1989 and the events of September 11, 2001, human rights became the dominant moral narrative by which world politics was organized. Inspired by the momentous political and cultural transformations taking place at the time, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the spread of global communications technologies, promoters of human rights discourse optimistically predicted that a transnational public sphere dedicated to democratic values would emerge (We now know, of course, that such predictions were wrong, as early post cold war hopes gave way to the harsh realities of contemporary globalization).

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Bodies of Fear in a World of Threat 

They wanted the Germs; they got 'em. - Darby Crash

The use of the symbolic abstraction of fear as an exchangeable sign has always been a helpful means to justify and manifest the most perverse needs of authority invested in the expansion of militarized orders and the erasure of individual autonomy. But in the United States after the 9/11 attacks, fear reigns supreme as a fundamental unit of exchange across the entire political, economic, and military spectrum.

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The dark side of Camping 

Camping can be so nice. Crawling out of dewy plastic in the early morning, with a pinch of sleep still in your eyes, braving the unbearably hot sun, yet invigorated and ready to take on the day with as much indifference as possible to the ongoing struggle with nature. Surely everybody knows that the secret of success is to fight the laws of petty bourgeois civilisation with minimal equipment and therefore gain a flexibility that is capable of suspending the otherwise ruling power relations for a clearly defined amount of time.

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My Postmodernism - My '80s 

Filmmaker and activist Gregg Bordowitz's passage through the 1980s mirrors the course of AIDS activism in that decade. From the very first ACT up demonstration in New York to the triumphal storming of the FDA headquarters outside Washington, DC, he deployed his art in the battle against AIDS. Bordowitz leads off this two-issue series of personal chronicles of the decade, recounting his experiences as an activist and guerrilla filmmaker at the forefront of the fight.

"Art does have the power to save lives, and it is this very power that must be recognized, fostered, and supported in every way possible."
- Douglas Crimp, introduction to AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism (MIT Press, 1988)

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The XYZ of Net Activism 

It's time to create the pop stars of activism,
the idoru of communication guerrilla,
it's time to threaten and charm the
masses by the ghosts coming from the
 net, to play the myth against the myth,
to be more nihilist than infoteinment!
                                  - etoy -

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