We all like to stand on the corpses of giants; it makes us seem taller, but one should note, that it makes the footing mushy. A superficial attachment of the historical limits of the situationists to a particular set of technologies or their social configurations is very old and very tired news, nor is it particularly accurate. The same condition of pseudo-agency, which the situationists described as "the spectacle"-once again: not a collection of images but a relationship among people mediated by images-can be seen to reign in the inter-passivity of the internet. What once reigned in the corridors of domestic architecture devoted to worshipping television, now reigns on the screens of laptops in Starbuckstm worldwide. The commodity form still reigns, but it reigns as information. Its masters may have become more shadowy, but they exist. What's the difference between banks of films, tapes, and servers?
Youtube has, in fact, become yet another parasitic distribution medium for the materials of the spectacle, the way tv became a distribution medium for cinema; Youtube is now a distribution medium for tv. There is "revolutionary" potential in the "new media"--it should never be referred to without quotation marks-, lest it be "naturalized" i.e. "reified"--remains. It was there in the "old media," but not in its dna, in its social use. It was just more difficult of access. And if you made something, the community of individuals who would see it, would likely be small as your work would get lost amidst the noise of the spectacle--advertising. While there is interest in the fact that your postage stamp sized video may be seen by hundreds of thousands, it will still be accompanied by the ads in which google or youtube embeds your material; like those "embedded" "journalists," who became "infected" by the spirit of the "mission." You remain part of the spectacle of pseudo-agency, just the way you did when you bought the star commodities advertised on tv. The difference is the more direct appeal to narcissism, in order to seduce you into producing the visual trappings proper to selling products--think of the cost saving to industry. The labor of commercial making has simply been displaced on to the "users" of Youtube, keeping in its familiar place the relationship between those who think they are consuming and those who are actually consuming them. We are again the authors of our own slavery. The search engines which make it possible for others to find your work on Youtube are simply the latest attempt of the basic motors of capitalism to observe the myth Marx refers to in a footnote to the beginning of Kapital: capital is predicated on the myth that buyers have an encyclopediac knowledge of commodities. Of course there is potential for subversion. The way google bombing can work, or browser sit-ins, or the way the do-it-yourself car ads were subverted for statements about the damage done to the environment, but the dream of being famous for 15 minutes--is it still that long, Andy?--is just another phantasm of the unconscious of capital. Plus ça change... Keith Sanborn # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: [EMAIL PROTECTED] and "info nettime-l" in the msg body # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: [EMAIL PROTECTED]