Search results for 'politics'

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Culture Board for Bulgaria 

A Body for Cultures in Ruin

For Whom It May Concern,

We would like you to read this document and respond to this idea. It was our wish and motivation to consider a format which could accommodate certain situations in which countries and cultures find themselves in these days. Ever increasingly, we are witnessing the phenomena of ruined nation states, crashing financial markets and bankrupt governments. So far, this is only interpreted in the usual journalistic way of reporting the political and financial aspects of the crises. But we, cultural workers, know better. It is only perceived as 'news'. Arts and culture in this situation are the last to be considered contemporary, sensitive instruments that could express the 'signs of the times'. First of all culture is a prime target of budget cuts and this has become the only language in which officials can speak. Art, by definition, is always in a defensive role and cannot make demands. We do not like to further the culture of complaint, nor is this the right time to dream up new utopias. We propose to radically face current global economic forces. We want to intervene in their sphere. Culture should not be left out: condemned to compensate for and be at the receiving end of this trauma.

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9-11 and After: A Virtual Case Book 

 The attack on the World Trade Center was--among other things--a stunning media event, and there was no shortage of analysis on mass media coverage. We saw no reason to replicate what others were doing. What no one seemed to be looking at closely was the significance of this ephemeral material that filled the streets and parks in New York below 14th Street or its relationship with the new media that was also flooding our lives.

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    From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising 

    While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue. The seeds of this spectacular mobilization had been sown as far back as the early 2000s and had been carefully cultivated by activists from across the political spectrum, many of these working online via Facebook, twitter, and within the Egyptian blogosphere. Working within these media, activists began to forge a new political language, one that cut across the institutional barriers that had until then polarized Egypt's political terrain, between more Islamicly-oriented currents (most prominent among them, the Muslim Brotherhood) and secular-liberal ones.

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    30 Years of Tactical Media 

    This is a short text [1] which appears in "Public Netbase: Non Stop Future. New  Practices in Art and Media" edited by the fine people at the New Media  Center_kuda.org, in cooperation with World-Information Institute / t0. This book was presented at Transmediale 2009 in Berlin.
    http://nonstop-future.org

    Tactical media as a practice has a long history and, it seems save to  predict, an even longer future. Yet its existence as a distinct concept  around which something of a social movement, or more precisely, a self- aware network of people and projects would coalesce has been relatively  short lived, largely confined to the internet's first decade as a mass  medium (1995-2005).

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    A Rift in Empire? 

    The antiwar demonstrations of February 15, 2003 proved it: theself-organization of free singularities is possible on a planetaryscale. And that was an event, despite all that followed. In amanifesto-text written just after those demonstrations, I used thelanguage of Negri and Hardt to say that the multitudes could create arift in Empire. In a context where the Aristocracy (the greattransnational companies) had been weakened by a string of financialdisasters, where the Monarchy (the political and military command ofthe earth) had fallen apart in serious dissension, I wanted toencourage the democratic action of the Plebe, against the scorn of theAmerican, British, Spanish and Italian leaders. It was a moment thathad multiplied the world's political stages, overflowing thetraditional mechanisms of representation.

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      Syrian Hands Raised: User Generated Creativity Between Citizenship and Dissent 

      As much as images of violence, civil war, and sectarian strife become prominent in the media narrative of the Syrian uprising, little gems of innovative cultural production, artistic resistance, and creative disobedience continue to sprout across the virtual alleys of the Internet. These creative gems are also the germs of a viral peer-production process at work at a grassroots level in the new Syrian public sphere. Such acts of creativity - mash-ups, cartoons, slogans, jokes, songs, and web series - are probably too small and inconsistent in impact compared to the horrific magnificence that shelling, bombing, sniping, and killing scenes that provide daily fodder to global television viewers. It is also challenging to discover them; in fact, as remarked by Tunisian blogger Sami ben Gharbia at the Arab Bloggers meeting in Tunis (3-6 October 2011), Facebook is not the most suitable platform for activists to store, archive, tag, search for content, and give it a context.

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      Unknown Quantity - Foreword 

      "Contemporary civilization differs in one particularly distinctive feature from those which preceded it: speed. The change has come about within a generation," noted the historian Marc Bloch, writing in the nineteen-thirties. This situation brings in its wake a second feature: the accident. The progressive spread of catastrophic events do not just affect current reality, but produce anxiety and anguish for coming generations.

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      The End of a Paradise 

      In tactical media circles the Amsterdam media landscape has long been treated as a Utopian model because of her free radios, open tv-channels and digital public spaces. The last few years this media paradise is under threat. How did this come about? And is it still possible to reverse this development? This is the theme of the Amsterdam Media Debate. Nina Meilof (The Digital City - DDS), Andreas Baader and Josephine (Radio Patapoe), Frank (Radio de Vrije Keyser) and media-activists Patrice Riemens, Geert Lovink and Menno Grootveld prepared the grounds for the discussion.
      The aim of the Amsterdam Media Debate during The Next 5 Minutes is to explain to the international participants that big changes are underway here. They may perhaps learn something from our experiences, but we would also like to try and find out what the differences are with other big cities and with other countries. What are these big changes and how is the situation at the present moment?

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      Talking about a Revolution: An Interview with Camille Otrakji 

      "If you've been following events in Syria, you'd know that the English-language press is mostly deeply critical of the Assad regime (while the Arabic press displays a slightly wider range of views). I thought it would be worth trying to present a minority report on the situation from a Syrian friend of mine, although, as you will see, he argues precisely that his position is actually held by a very significant majority (albeit a rather quiet and frustrated majority) of Syrians.

      Camille Otrakji is a Syrian political blogger based in Montreal. Although he tends to keep a low profile, Otrakji has been, for the past several years, at the forefront of many of the most interesting and influential online initiatives relating to Syrian politics. He is one of the authors and moderators at Joshua Landis's Syria Comment, and the founder of Creative Syria, a constellation of websites including Mideast Image (a vast collection of original old photographs of Middle Eastern subjects) and Syrian Think Tank (an online debate site hosting many of Syria's top analysts). Last year, Otrakji courted controversy with a new initiative devoted to the subject of Syrian-Israeli peace, entitled OneMideast.org. He agreed to speak with me about the latest events in Syria, and I'm sure that his views will generate plenty of discussion."

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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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      Transcending Post-Communism? 


      ?In Central and (South-) Eastern Europe the cultural landscape has entered the Post-Soros Era, while still awaiting the arrival of the widely expected EU patronage for the arts and the civil sector ?? (from the original description of the ?Enduring Post Communism? panel)

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        The ABC of Tactical Media 

        Tactical Media are what happens when the cheap 'do it yourself' media, made possible by the revolution in consumer electronics and expanded forms of distribution (from public access cable to the internet) are exploited by groups and individuals who feel aggrieved by or excluded from the wider culture. Tactical media do not just report events, as they are never impartial they always participate and it is this that more than anything separates them from mainstream media.

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        Distance versus Desire 

        The desire to transcend distance and separation has accompanied the history of media technology for many centuries. Various attempts to realise the demand for a presence from a distance have produced beautiful imaginaries such as those of telepresence and ubiquity, the electronic cottage and the reinvigoration of  the oikos, and certainly not least among them the reduction of physical mobility in favour of an ecologically more sustainable connected life style.  As current systems of hypermobility are confronted with an unfolding energy crisis and collide with severe ecological limits - most prominently in the intense debate on global warming - citizens and organisations in advanced and emerging economies alike are forced to reconsider one of the most daring projects of the information age: that a radical reduction of physical mobility is possible through the use of advanced telepresence technologies.

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        Media Without an Audience 

        Presence in the mediated environment of digital networks is probably one of the most complex phenomena of the new types of social interaction that have emerged in these environments. In the current phase of radical deployment (or penetration) of the Internet, various attempts are being made to come to terms with the social dynamics of networked communication spaces. It seems that traditional media theory is not able to contextualise these social dynamics, as it remains stuck on a meta-level discourse of media and power structures (Virilio), hyperreality (Baudrillard), or on a retrograde analysis of media structures deeply rooted in the functionality and structural characteristics of broadcast media (McLuhan).

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        Constructing the Digital Commons 

        March 2003

        Democracy can be understood in two notably distinct ways. In the institutional view democracy is understood as the interplay of institutional actors that represent 'the people' and are held accountable through the plebiscite; public votes, polls and occasionally referenda. The second view on democracy is radically different in that it sees the extent to which people can freely assemble, discuss and share ideas about vital social issues, organise themselves around these issues, and can freely voice their opinions in public fora, as a measure for just how democratic a given society is.

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