if the death of the author is the birth of the reader, then what is the death of the press? the birth of "fake news"? the academics have been warning us about the death of the real for decades. what will grow from its corpse?
a lot, we'd wager::: heaps of histories squirming along ideological lines, a million and one apocalypses, fifteen minute revolutions, and on and on.
when nothing is certain, anything is plausible.
...but there are so many choices!
how do we choose to tailor the curtains of our realities? undoubtedly more of it that we would like to admit comes down our cerebral chutes via narrowly targeted marketing. advertisers no longer work to create mass desire for singular products and people, but rather shine a spotlight on a thousand tiny desires breeding in the dark corners of our solitary bubbles.
our data points come to define our reality more and more, and as we fragment further and further into a multiplicity of desire-bits, content providers are more than happy to throw up any old rumor worth its weight in keywords. advertisers couldn't care less where their ads appear as long as the clicks keep flowing.
how do we break out? probably using our bodies. posting, marching, singing, writing, drawing, dancing, swaying, fighting, being bodies in the world, but how do we know what is worth it and what is just another ad?
we are calling on artists to help our understanding.
we invite creative efforts in any medium that explore metafictional filter bubbles, clickbait culture, ideological hacking, crowdsource science and social media literacy.
(n); a zine
(n) a term coined by my friend Sailor
(n) great idea idea you have with a buddy smoking a cigarette late at night, the kind of thought that can only happen through conversation, usually on a porch, away from the party, that helps you make sense of your current existential crisis
(n) a collection of images, text, ideas, photos, calls to action, instructions, lists, diagrams, musings, quotes, etc. dealing specifically with the topic suggested
This issue, the theme is: RADICAL COMMUNICATION
(this is going to be a long one, so hold on.....)
As some of you may know, I currently work at an organization whose main source of funding covers a Public Access TV station. Everyday I encounter "media" and televisions. An object I haven't had in my house for years. I remember radical high schoolers tagging buildings with "Kill your TV" when I was younger. TV was always a tool conceived for brainwashing...so I had thought.
But there wasn't always cable television--much of it started like radio--with antennas broadcasting programming to receivers in your homes. As long as you had the device, you could use it--no need to pay into a subscription. There wasn't a lot to choose from, only a few channels, for a limited amount of hours per day. But soon, cable was invented--originally to help reach rural and mountainous areas that struggled with a signal from antennas (cough google fiber). This provided a larger stream of programming to be available, and the cables could hold more. More shows, more channels, more commercials, more noise.
But there were many optimists in the group, in the early 1970s, who saw cable as a unique tool to help communities exchange important information. They talked about cable in the same way we think about the internet now. A stream that moves back and forth from user and consumer and generator of content. You can read/watch/listen, and you can share. They idealized content created that would be relevant to specific non-profits or community group causes, local art performances, or documentation and sharing political meetings in city hall. Each neighborhood would have its own broadcast center where folks could upload whatever they wanted with Free Speech as a main cornerstone. Of course, this didn't happen, at least not in the way they dreamed.
In Portland, there were 2 stations built. Comcast, the benevolent provider that they are, gave our organization a budget to buy state of the art equipment, air to broadcast, and a right to free speech (in theory--more so after safe harbor hours). But they also clipped Community TV producers wings--you can't make any money off of the programming you create, everything is non-commercial. However, this is incredibly limiting, because the skilled labor who would make quality productions cost too much or don't have the time to commit. This is a big reason why Cable Access TV isn't taken seriously. BC of the "quality" of what the video looks like and because it is typically fringe/outsider thoughts and values that aren't subject to a review of "peers" or objectivity like real TV and journalism is (NOTANYMORE, FAKENEWSCNN??POSTTRUMP) You're also asking community members to exist outside of a system that Comcast wholly created--in both the cause, symptom, and medicine for capitalism and power structures, while still creating content to "express themselves" inside of it.
Public Access TV still exists. But now, so does the internet. However, everyone killed their TV already. And memes, youtube vlogs, and puppy videos are more popular than ever. True, news travels faster, important ideologies shared across the globe, real life networks are able to be congregated irl through the power of online media.
And yet! We're threatened to lose it all. Through hacking, government censorship, witch hunting, an end of funding, or even something as mundane as downed power lines.
We also have all seen the shit storm of communication that the internet has brought too. We used to talk to people and have meaningful conversations, now we begrudgingly "like" their status updates on getting engaged. Headline news comes from tweets (I remember when news organizations started using tweets from common day folks instead of getting sound bytes on the street and knew we were in trouble). ISIS recruits a majority of their members online and through social media. Not to mention, we're creating profiles on ourselves online everywhere for someone (government, spy, criminal, ex-girlfriend, etc) to do sketchy shit with your information. ENCRYPT NOW! They all say....
But, IRL in less than a week--people are taking to the streets. With signs, with their voices, with their bodies. To protest a future they don't agree with. Aside from the tens (hundreds) of thousands of people projected to protest in DC on January 20th. What will our actions outside of that represent? Physicality in the streets surely must be better than ranting on Facebook. Will we collectively reach a larger audience through national TV news coverage that will infiltrate those rural mountain homes that so tightly cling to their hope of a return to normalcy of greatness?
How can we be intentional with our voices, with our bodies, with the mediums we use or don't use to share the ideas we believe in--and also turn them into real effective/affective actions.
I want to know what you think! Cause obviously I'm v conflicted on how types of media and communication can change the world. So, send me your thoughts, ideas, philosophical wanderings. or maybe you have a screenshot of a really important conversation, or can transcribe a meeting with a friend. Or maybe you tell stories through photography or video, IDK. Or maybe you're doing some protesting soon. I wanna know your experience. Let's figure this out together.