All posts by brian

cute cats

Platforms are become the way we connect on things that interest us and the once these platforms reach a critical mass it becomes harder to try to control which is the beauty of tools like this for activists. These platform also become a platform of speech. This critical mass of people using the internet to post pictures of cats doing cute things, I for one have enjoyed every second wasted looking at cats all day, but that has also sparked a new movement of free speech. When we have something like the internet and so many people use it the government cannot completely shut down the internet because not only will those using this tool for activism be outraged, but so will people using this for cute cat pictures as well.

internet free-for-all

These readings on fab fi’s diy internet in Afghanistan comes at a very interesting time in the United States as well as the world. I don’t know if everyone in this class is aware but there is a internet censorship bill pushing through the US house of representatives called SOPA or stop online piracy act, but it does much more harm than good, not not just harm to US citizens and companies but those around the world as well. These readings are also coming a day after the voices of the occupy movements around America have been stifled. I find it interesting that we seek to improve the speech rights of dissent in other countries but fail to uphold the same values to our own citizens. Although the internet is a wonderful education tool and I do feel this is a great way to share knowledge with those around the globe but in the case of the suitcase internet which is much more of a tool for speech, this feels like a very top down approach to it. By this I mean that it is a foreign government sponsoring the free speech of another countries citizens and I feel movements like this coming from the people are more effective.

new forms of protest

DDOS is virtual sit in, and as lives are increasingly played out in an online setting, new forms of protest are becoming a new way to gather masses. Where new forms of media arise, there is potential for exploitation, but there is also potential to use this media for the betterment of society. Although loss can be incurred when groups of people attack institutions it is also important to notice that this can happen with any form of protest. The general strike in Oakland as part of the occupy movement blocked one of our countries main ports and this cost a supposed 8.5 million dollars in business, but it also brought the issues of the protestors to the forefront of media attention.

Some might argue that this is negative attention for the movement but this reminds me of one of the protestors interviewed during the London riots and i thought was really well stated. The young man from Tottenham was interviewed by a NBC representative the reporter ask if the young man thought the rioting actually achieved anything. to which the young man replied “Yes, you wouldn’t be talking to me if we didn’t riot would you? Two months ago we marched to the Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press, Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”
One look around and you would now find dozens TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere.

reading response interventionists

Well This article pretty much says it all. Its hard to think of something they didn’t cover, it’s almost a summary of all the readings we have done this semester. I think its true that you have to working within the system not around it. Often satire can get lost in the culture as commodity and we have become so used to advertisements that it can be hard to take a critical approach without seeming to have to much alignment with the consumer culture. It is almost disheartening the way it talks about gentrification, because it is definitely something that I have witnessed. It seems that artist’s move into a space because of cheap rent and soon after it becomes an area that is quick to commercialize.

Users Guide

Reading the piece about the users guide was relate able back to previous reading and discussions in class.  I particularly thing that this relates to ethical spectacle discussed last week as well as the talk and Ivan Marovic’s Otpor where it is important to make poetic statements through actions such as the placing a bat and a barrels in the center of a square and having headlines like “police arrest barrel”.  The action of putting faces on the shields of activists so when cops hit them with their batons it paints a compelling picture.  It is important to know your tools and think what does this do and how does this tool work and to then think of how else can this work.  All the tools existing to us can be combined and remixed to paint beautifully poetic pictures.  The other thing I got from these readings is how popular culture and fuel these movements through memes.  Popular culture is the best way to reach people where they exist and it can help people to be more aware of the happenings behind the scenes.  I think it is also easy to consider art as beautiful pictures as much of society currently does but to me good art challenges the status quo.  I have heard good designers solve problem’s good artists create them, and to me, it is less a matter of creating problems and more that they enlighten others to see problems as they exist.  Its easy to take these problems in a far too serious way but but people don’t want to be depressed thinking about problems, so I think making these participatory and fun can truly bring about lasting change.

Duncombe/ Boyd

these reading resonate with me now both as my past in punk culture and i feel they resonate with the current events happening around occupy wall street.  I think its an important note to be skeptical of commercial interests trying to join the bandwagon of occupy(whatever).  We have already seen this happen to some extent, I have heard of commercial interests trying to use this movement to push and sell their products.  It is also interesting the correlation to culture being that it is both a tool to bring us together and a divisive tool which separates us based on our differences.  Interesting that the first example given is of the Sex Pistols as a punk movement but later points out how the sex pistols was formed out of commercial interests in the first place.  However more interesting to me is the push and pull of punk rock for some to remain true to the DIY rebellious culture around punk and still some adopt the commercial watered down form of the same.  I am reminded of the dead Kennedy’s tape i remember seeing growing up where one side of the tape was intentionally left blank and said something to the effect of use this side to record your own and destroy the record industry.  I think it is also important to note that in the other reading sometimes it is all about hype, the narrative and telling lies.  One thing I take from rap music that i find very intriguing is the fact that rappers always claim to be number 1 or the best rapper alive.  Regardless of whether this is a true statement or not it is easy to swallow and and if repeated enough becomes more easy to swallow.  This is true that a good story can make a lie more believable, and hype is a good thing.  It reminds me of a friend who told  me about this rumor he started that ariel pink was going to be playing at his bar after his set at the venue down the street.  This rumor was just a rumor, but he said either way if it happened or didn’t happen people would show up and they would be talking about it.  sort of how even bad publicity is good publicity.  It would a) get people to show up b) get people to talk about the bar. andi think it is very important.

#OWS

I am so glad we were able to congregate as a class at the occupy wallstreet demonstrations last week.  I know it was important for me as well as others to see first hand some of the things we have been discussing and reading in class.  I also feel that it is in line with Boal’s Theater’s objective, to actively involve ourselves in our issues.  Not to be cliche but it was truly an example of walking the walk.

theatre for the oppressed

I think that it is very important to be able to put yourself in another persons shoes.  In order to become an effective activist one needs to see what its like for the other side or sides.  it is important to see how things are and know not only why there are this way but to understand effective ways to change them.  I think the Theater for the Oppressed does a good job of actually doing this.  It is easy for us to discuss and try to picture this but it is even more effective to act out the scenario to see these shortfalls that occur.  This not only will help discover both sides of the full picture and actually put ourselves in others’ shoes but it is a creative way to discover the possibilities for success and failure.

Free as in Freedom (maybe beer)

I think that it only seem natural that code would be categorized in the realm of free speech, and that the open source software movement is a wonderful example of this.  It seems to me that today nothing is original and nothing is new, and at the same time it is all new because even though it has been done before not every element can possible be the same, right down to the person who created it.  This makes me think of this site called “Everything is a Remix” it points out the quote uttered by Isaac Newton “we stand on the shoulders of giants”  which he is often attributed to but its interesting that he did not come up with this quote. and a similar quote to Picasso good artists borrow great artists steal.   The open software movement i believe is a new way of our society helping each other out and creating things that previously would have been huge undertakings but seem taking for granted today and i think it is great.