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<nettime> Technologies of Resistance: Transgression and Solidarity in Ta
Miguel Afonso Caetano on Wed, 31 May 2006 08:04:09 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Technologies of Resistance: Transgression and Solidarity in Tactical Media


Dear Nettimers:

I have recently finished a M.A. dissertation about
Tactical Media that I've talked about here a few years ago
(www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0311/msg00063.html).
I'm sending you here the English version of the abstract
and the table of contents. In the thesis, I make some
criticisms of the concept of tactical media in terms of
its current validity. Also, in the second part I cover in
detail some projects of the vibrant brazilian tactical media
scene: Metareciclagem (www.metareciclagem.org) - who has
received an honorary mention in this year's Ars Electronica
(www.aec.at/en/prix/honorary2006.asp) and the now deceased
Projeto Metáfora (http://ogum.metareciclagem.org/metafora).

Since Nettime's 10th aniversary meeting is happening right now
in Montreal, I think it would be good to start a debate here in
the list about the actual relevance of tactical media in the
age of Web 2.0, which has embraced (co-opted?) much of the same
DIY ethos in places like Flickr and MySpace. On the other side,
we're also living in the midst of the "state of exception"/War
against terrorism where every subversive activity is considered
suspicious - the bioterrorism paranoia case against CAE.

Judging from the brazilian example, I think that it is becoming
more adequate to think about tactical media in peripheral
countries like Brazil and India where there's a sense of more
severe urgency in social transformation, of reappropriation of
technology by the people.

Best regards from Portugal,

Miguel Caetano


Technologies of Resistance:
Transgression and Solidarity in Tactical Media

Miguel Afonso Caetano


Resulting from the convergence between media, technology, art
and politics, tactical media are a set of cultural practices
and a theoretical movement which started in Europe during the
first half of the 90s, having spread to North America until
the end of the millenium and, afterwards, to the rest of the
world. Initially taking advantage of video camcorders but also,
later, of digital technologies such as CD-ROMs and the Internet,
the producer of this kind of media acknowledges himself as as
a hybrid, performing simultaneously the role of an artist,
activist, theorist and technician.

These subversive and/or creative uses of information and
communication technologies by individuals who normally don't
have access to them are characterized by experimentalism,
ephemerality, flexibility, irony and amateurship. Based on the
distinction between tactics and strategies developed by Michel
de Certeau and continued by David Garcia and Geert Lovink, this
dissertation examines the way tactical media present themselves
as "media of crisis, critique and opposition". By applying
a theoretical analysis of some collectives, we intend to
demonstrate that the protest tactics of these media production
forms represent a position of permanent struggle against a
concrete and explicit opponent (nation-state, supranational
institution or transnational corporation).

After addressing the dangers that this antagonist model of media
as a weapon of resistance can lead to, we propose an alternative
perspective of tactical media built on an empirical analysis of
two brazilian projects, Metáfora and MetaReciclagem. Finally,
we argue that these and other grassroots initiatives adapt the
practices of subversion and resistance visible in the activist
collectives of developed countries to the local settings of
a peripheral country like Brazil. By fostering technological
reappropriation for social transformation, these groups unleash
the creative and communication capacities of these communities,
towards their self-sustainability and autonomy.

Keywords: tactical media, strategies, media activism, alternative
media, hacker, free software, technological reappropriation,
recycling, Brazil.


Table of Contents
Introduction

  9
    Methodological and Epistemological Notes
                                                     12
    Dissertation Plan
                                                             17
1 - Elements for The History and Characterization of Tactical Media
                                     21
1.1 - Genesis of The Movement
                                                        21
1.2 - Main Definitions
                                                   25
1.3 - Theoretical Approaches
                                                      27
1.4 - Distinction Between Alternative Media and Tactical Media
                                        35
2 - Genealogy of Informational Mobilizations
                                   42
2.1 - 70s and 80s
                                                 45
2.2 - 90s
                                                   51
2.3 - Mediactivism: From The Right to Information to The Right to The
Self-Management of Communication   54

3 - The Influence of The Free Software Movement and of The Hacker
Ethic                                     60

3.1 - The Free Software Development Process
                         69
3.2 - The Hacker Ethic
                                                             72
4 - Tactics and its Theorerical Metaphors
                                                   75
4.1 - Tactics and Strategies in Michel de Certeau
                                      76
4.2 - Tactics as Détournement
                                     79
4.3 - Tactics as Rhizome
                                           83
4.4 - Tactics as Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ)
                      87
4.5 - Tactics as Swarming
                                        92
4.6 - Tactics as Multitude
                                         98
4.7 - Tactics as Smart Mob
                                     103
5 - Tactical Media Practices
                                                      110
5.1 - Culture Jamming: Semiological Guerrilla
                                        110
5.2 - Hacktivism:  Cyberspace's Counter-power
                                117
5.3 - Artivism: Crítique and Subversion in net.art
                                              129
5.4 - The Indymedia Information Network: Open-Source Journalism
                                  144
5.4.1 - IMC-Portugal: A Small Case Study
                  152
6 ? Contributions For a Critique of The Concept
                                                168
6.1 - "The Alt.Everything of Culture and Politics"
                                           168
6.2 - The Specter of Cooptation by Capital
                                           170
6.3 - The Eternal Return of The Technological Sublime
                                              172
6.4 - The Impossible Subversion of Media
                                             175
6.5 - The Rhetorics of The Enemy and The Terrorist Metaphor
                                               178
SECOND PART
1 - The Brasilian Digital "Jeitinho": "Gambiarras", "Mutirões" and
"Puxadinhos"                       188
1.1 - Mídia Tática
                                                           189
1.2 ? Contratv
                                                             195
1.3 ? Re:combo
                                                          195
1.4 - Free Radios: Rádio Muda
                                              196
1.5 ? CMI-Brasil
                                                          198
1.6 - Brazil, A Hacker Nation
                                                      201
2 - Metáfora Project: Chaos and Order in a Collective Intelligence
                                   205
2.1 ? Events and Projects
                                                      210
2.2 - The Participation in Midia Tática Brasil
                                               216
2.3 ?The Attempt to Create a NGO and The End
                                 217
2.4 - Leadership and Motivation in a "Chaorder"
                                          222
3 - MetaReciclagem: Reappropriation of Technology for Social
Transformation      226
3.1 - The Replication of MetaReciclagem's Methology
                               233
4 - Analysis of Survey Data
     239
4.1 - Profile of Metáfora's and MetaReciclagem's Collaborators
                            239
4.2 - Opinions Towards Metáfora and MetaReciclagem
                          243
4.2.1 - Political Motivations of The Projects
                                              243
4.2.2 - Distinction Between Digital Inclusion and Social
Reappropriation of Technology             244
4.2.3 - Evaluation of Strenghts and Weaknesses
                                        247
4.2.4 - Personal Visions About Metáfora and MetaReciclagem
                       249
Final Conclusion
                                                              251
Bibliography
                                                                  258




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