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Re: <nettime> Media Squares: On the new forms of protest and their media
Snafu on Fri, 16 Sep 2011 02:39:16 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Media Squares: On the new forms of protest and their media, int. seminar, Friday September 30, Amsterdam

Hi Eric:

the seminar sounds interesting as usual, but I think that the blurb does not make justice of the fascinating title, which suggests that "the medium IS the square." This proposition is in my opinion much more interesting than a more traditional take on social movements media as extensions of social movements praxis.

Let us assume for a second that the act of occupying a square is in fact an act of disintermediation that follows and complements the great disintermediation of the Internet. As Franco Berardi puts it, we are now entering a phase in which "the general intellect is looking for the erotic and social body that has been lost in the process of virtualization and precarization." We have spent way too much time in front of computer screens. This has increased our cognitive abilities, decreased collective bargaining power, and cut the feedback loops that turn for example a rich intellectual exchange IRL into a pleasurable bodily experience.

If this is the case, then we should not concern ourselves primarily with the media that draw the masses to the squares. Rather, we should begin our analysis from the forms of embodied communication and social organization that occur within the medium of the square. These may include the language of hand signs in mass assemblies; the spatial distribution of people, tents, gazebos, banners, and stages; the manifold collaborations (and conflicts) among collectives, committees, and affinity groups; and the molecular forms of communication that escape aerial shots, radio and TV coverages, even activist micro-media. There is so much more going on in each of these Media Squares than all the media can possibly tell.

To be sure, the Medium Square is still filled with media of all sorts and kinds. But the function of disembodied media seems to be in this context more prosthetic than creative. Traditional media--including digital media--enable these movements both to reach beyond their locale and connect components that do not always communicate IRL. However, the fulcrum and kairos of these media still lie in the Media Squares. It is in the square-as-medium that communication intensifies as the affective and bodily dimension of thoughts unfolds to make worlds that cannot be perceived on a computer screen, a radio, a TV set. Such communication is not truer nor more authentic than mediated communication. It is simply richer as it contains a kind of information that has not been reduced to a set of probabilities, that mobilizes the five senses, and in which signal and noise have not been separated.

All of this is to say that if Media Squares are becoming the event of our times, then such an event calls for new modes of reading its emerging properties. Perhaps it even calls for a relocation of our conferences and programs in the very Media Squares we are beginning to approach, as scholars and activists, from many different angles.


On 9/14/11 7:08 PM, Eric Kluitenberg wrote:

A  N  N  O  U  N  C  E  M  E  N  T

Media Squares

On the new forms of protest and their media

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