Lets start with fragmentation of audience. Lets consider it an obvious mechanic operating in the current global theater. What then? How are we to look at the "symbolic and real battle space" without a tone of bitterness? Has there not been a great failure here? I would hope we can reach the end of the second Bush administration with at least a little dignity.
We must admit in all honesty, that we did not "turn the tide of the war". The global power structure has remained relatively unchanged since before "virtual sit-ins" and "tactical media" were considered. New Media has brought no new social empowerment, and political art has had no significant global political effects. We are not without our successes, as artists and as activists, but on the global scale, the human race did not shift much in the last 20 years on account of our efforts. So then, to speak of the spectacular, we must take an honest look at the institutions that ARE effectively using persuasion within the global theater. Who are these actors? How can we use what we know of aesthetics to compete with them globally? How can art enable real social change? Advertisements, for instance, must convince the audience, specifically when the audience is NOT receptive. They must lure, seduce, manipulate, even coerce their audience into agreement. They create channels to deliver their messages on a mass scale and to precise demographics. They collude with non-media actors to create (sometimes inaccurate) self-reinforcing hegemonies that maintain the success of their strategies over years. They respond to the audience immediately, often becoming a sort of mirror to the demographics' testing patterns. They utilize falsehoods as easily as truths. They utilize exclusion as strategically as inclusion. They are well- research and field tested. On the other hand, most works in political art and activist media are rhetorical, satisfied to simply "raise awareness", not challenging nor seductive, preachy or merely themed by the work's political stance. The best and most precise political art, eg. virtual sit- ins, would work even more effectively as quick support and response tactics, ie. as components of larger campaigns. The most successful institutions on the global scale maintain their relative positioning through a structure of control which increasingly becomes informational, digitized and icon-ized. These structures are write-able or manufacturable by informational artisans, by those that make the most convincing of media. This is already how these systems operate: in advertising, in public relations, in business and politics, in war, and in "the matrix". Maybe a good place to start for artists, would be to consider how art works within demographics? How does art "make life better" for each of our many fragmented audiences? # 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]