Search results for 'politics'

article

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.

Read

article

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.

Read

article

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?

Read

article

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."

Read

article

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.

Read


article

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)

Read

    article

    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.

    Read

    article

    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.

    Read

    article

    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).

    Read

    article

    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.

    Read



    campaign

    Critical Art Ensemble Defense Fund 

    The CAE Defense Fund was created in 2005 as a mechanism to raise funds for legal bills incurred by Dr. Steven Kurtz and Dr. Robert Ferrell in what its members argued was a politically motivated attack by the Department of Justice - one which threatened the constitutional and fundamental rights not only of the two defendants, but also of everyone, due to legal precedents that would have been set by an unfavorable outcome.

    In response, thousands of people worldwide organized demonstrations and raised money for the two men's legal defense through fundraisers and a variety of other grassroots efforts.

    www.caedefensefund.org

    Read



    article

    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)

    Read