Saturday, May 13, 2006

activism

Artmargins has a terrific article, Memoirs of a Video Activist by Joanne Richardson that I have been reading for a couple of days here. Doing what sounds like sometimes grudging and confusing work in Romania, she's written an insightful piece on a country where media conditions are probably even more grim than in the US and with a lot of appropriately reversed roles and reactions. But more than that, she's got a lot of good solid reflections on activism and how it relates to the whole process of creativity. I put some choice quotes below I hope not too haphazardly.

By valorizing the confrontational posture of warfare and dividing the world into enemies and allies, militancy gets caught in a vicious circle that mimics rather than subverts that which it opposes.
[snip]
We tend to idealize self-organization as a sign of freedom, and to equate freedom with exercising our rights and limitless possibilities. In reality, freedom is not only the joy of discovering our creativity and latent capabilities, it’s also the terrible burden of responsibility and hard work, which is why many people prefer to cast it away.
[snip]
Making film politically means investigating how images find their meaning and disrupting the rules of the game, whether the game is Hollywood mystification or activist propaganda. It means provoking the viewers to become political animals, to reflect on their own position vis a vis power, to entertain doubts and to ask questions. By contrast, a lot of contemporary video activism is really propaganda in reverse. While the content differs from the mainstream press, the form and function is often preserved. Propaganda puts forward its position as natural and inevitable, without reflecting on its construction.

1 comment:

  1. These are pretty choice indeed. excellent points all round. I've often complained that so much of what I see as 'activism' is just plain old self serving platforming intended for a chosen group of people in the hopes of approval by those same people.

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