Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Feedback loops, geodesic domes, and social cybernetics

Reading Mellencamp this week and listening to lecture today about the technological utopianism of the late-'60s and early-'70s, I couldn't help but recall "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace," a 2011 BBC broadcast by one of my favorite contemporary essay filmmakers, Adam Curtis. Episode Two of this fascinating three-part series dives into this era (zeroing in on the libertarian California Ideology that spawned Silicon Valley) and lays out a fascinating primer on the subject. Highly recommended.


Meat Cute

Potential triggers: Blood, violence against animals

Activist video

My video isn't an homage to Paper Tiger so much as an idea of what free, accessible, mass media production options look like.today. I think the euphoria of possibilities with new tools like this compares to what our readings describe as the social/technological utopia of early video. I created this video with the web-based software Moovly. It is not polished; it's intended to show how "professional" communication can be thrown together quickly with clip art and stock photos.

Trash Talk by Biayna Bogosian

watch Trash Talk!

Burn this M****erF***er to the ground. Paper Tiger Video

Paper Tiger - Reflections on FYF Festival

Camillia and Tina reflect on the police presence and Kendrick Lamar's set at the 2016 FYF music festival, held from Aug 27-28 in Exposition Park.

Paper Tiger TV Post - Cosmopolitan Magazine, an Investigation

Video here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Welcome to 585!

This is the blog for CTCS 585.  Welcome!  From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, the last decade has seen a variety of competing claims about the role digital media might play in activist struggles for social change.  Through a series of case studies that will center on issues of race, gender, sexuality, privacy, and class, the course will explore the ways in which digital media intersect with and possibly reconfigure activist practice in the twenty-first century.  This class is also a practicum of sorts, so students will be asked to engage with media making tools and exercises in a variety of contexts.  Theory and practice will be integrated across the semester, and each mode of expression will be valued.  Throughout the semester, the guiding frameworks of the class will be those of cultural theory, digital media studies, feminism, and critical race theory, and we will constantly link our exploration of old and new technologies to investigations of social change, aesthetics, and efficacy.

As we collectively shape the contours of the class, I hope that we will address questions like the following: "How do technologies shape our sense of self and other?", “How does technology impact social organization and forms of community?”, "What continuities exist between activism before and after the web?", "What potential do tactical media offer activists?", "How do digital activism and other forms of activism intersect?", and "Do digital media enable new ways of imagining social change?".

We will also explore the impacts of digital media on strategies for organizing through the exploration of concrete case studies. In order to explore issues of organizational strategy, consensus building, and deliberation, several weeks of the semester are as yet unmapped.  Students in the course will collectively author the contours of these sessions, deciding upon four case studies, assigned readings, hands-on activities, and other materials. We’ll talk more about this process in the next few weeks.

Finally, the course takes seriously the notion that digital media are re-jiggering the relationship between theory and practice, illuminating new possibilities for activism, art, and daily life.