by Alia Lahlou
I think Jello Biafra's quote "don't hate the media, become the media" is really empowering because it moves beyond just 'fuck the media it sucks' to 'what can I do to improve the media, change the media, become the media. how can I use the tools available to me to publicize an issue I care about and share it with the world'
Garcia and Lovink (Anarchitexts 107) describe Tactical Media as "what happens when the cheap do-it-yourself media, made possible by the revolution in consumer economics and expanded forms of distribution, like the internet, are exploited by groups who feel aggrieved by or excluded from the wider culture. Tactical Media are never impartial, they are a media of crisis, criticism, and opposition."
They go on to say that the type heroes here are the activists, nomadic media warriors, the prankster, the hacker, and so on... who are the happy negatives, always in search of an enemy.
The people who created the website Radical Graphics have a lot of enemies!
Their homepage says: "The purpose of this website is to provide activists, radicals, revolutionaries, and otherwise left-leaning individuals, who are working to put together flyers, pamphlets, zines, propaganda etc., with high resolution graphics. Most of the images you will find are of an inherently anti-authoritarian, anti-status quo nature. Of course, everything depends on the context that the image is used. Some of the images are not radical in and of themselves, but they might serve a purpose for certain radical groups/projects."
Right now they have about 1000 divided into about 60 albums, that range from
The cool thing is you can both upload and download the graphics, so it really becomes a good sharing platform.
And as you can guess the views these graphics espouse are obviously to the left.
The other group I researched for this week is Improv Everywhere, a group of people who do a good job of creating the Temporary Autonomous Zones that we read about in Hakim Bey.
Their tagline is "We Cause Scenes." They're not exactly improv as their name suggests, as the scenes they cause are planned in advance. But certainly to the audience, who is just the people around them who become the audience unknowingly, it looks like improv.
They plan short musical-type scenes in public places like parks, supermarkets, subway stations, etc.
In creating joyous scenes in otherwise mundane spaces I think ImprovEverywhere really does create temporary utopias. Hakim Bey tells us these utopias are not built to last, they're transitory, it's a temporary uprising instead of the permanent Revolution.
He calls TAZ the encampment of guerilla ontologists who 'strike and run away,' and ImprovEverywhere's work they do may not be changing 'the system'- in terms of the state or whatever, but are definitely giving people something new and fun and unexpected in the middle of an otherwise normal day, and I think that's really cool.