The Materiality of Radical Media (2012)

I was invited to talk about the material dimensions of “radical” media at the “Designing a New Rrradical Media and The Future of Media Activism” design challenge, hosted by Paper Tiger TV and the Vera List Center at The New School. You can find my slides here, and a video of our panel here.

What is radical media? What has it been in the past? What can it be in the future? What is media’s relationship to social justice and movement building? Paper Tiger Television, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and the School of Media Studies at The New School for Public Engagement present a two-day conference to celebrate, reflect and build on thirty roarin’ years (and counting!) of media art and activism.

In 1981, Paper Tiger Television (PTTV) pioneered a truly radical public access show, raising awareness amongst workers in the communication industries of the economic, political, and social power structures perpetuated through the profit-driven mainstream media. Ever since then, the collective has been making fun, yet incisive video that demystifies the information industry and provides a platform for underrepresented perspectives. Collaborating with activists and artists, PTTV videos take many forms—from critical readings of the mass media and popular culture, to traditional style documentaries on social justice issues. Thirty years later, how can we harness collaborative culture, critical analysis, participatory technologies, and aesthetics to incite social change? What content and platforms can we create that respond to the limits and possibilities of the ever-shifting contemporary media landscape?

We invite artists, activists, scholars, and media makers, movers and shakers of all stripes to explore these questions. Participants are challenged to collaboratively design prototypes for a new rradical media, building on the ideals of non-hierarchical-participatory culture, critically analysis, activism and innovative aesthetics. A broad cross section of individuals, working together with varies proclivities, interests, and abilities, opens up the potential for something truly revolutionary to develop.