David Garica on Sat, 2 May 2015 03:48:17 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Tactical Media Connections update: May 1, 2015

   Dear Nettimers, the 1st of May seems like a good date on which to give
   you a detailed update on -Tactical Media Connections- a program of
   public research which we launched in Amsterdam, last July. It was a
   response to the fact that many of the concerns and practices identified
   as Tactical Media in the 1990s have re-emerged with renewed urgency in
   recent years. Whilst at the same time we have been aware of kind of
   historical amnesia in which important projects, people and practices
   seemed in danger of slipping out of mind. This is worrying as important
   forms of renewal depend on collective memory and dialogue accross the
   generations and geographies.

   If you are interested to become involved in these meetings or the
   project described below please contact the projectors initiators Eric
   Kluitenberg and David Garcia.

   David Garcia
   Eric Kluitenberg

   Tactical Media Connections update: May 1, 2015

   A public research trajectory tracing the legacies of Tactical Media and
   its connections to the present.

   Tactical Media Connections is an extended trajectory of collaborative
   research tracing the legacies of Tactical Media and mapping the
   relationships between its precursors and its progeny. The program is
   realised through a series of meetings and exhibitions, culminating in
   the publication of a Tactical Media Anthology with contributions and
   dialogues ranging across generations and territories.

   Taken as a whole the project seeks to engage the many threads and
   practices that have emerged out of and relate back to the classical
   moment in the middle of the 1990s when Tactical Media was identified -
   not least through the renowned Next 5 Minutes festival series, when it
   came to be understood as a constellation of different yet connected
   cultures of contestation, operating at the specific intersection of
   art, media, technological experimentation and social/political
   activism. Central to the idea of Tactical Media was a nomadic movement
   between mainstream media channels, alternative cultures and dissident
   lifestyles by those groups who felt somehow aggrieved, misrepresented
   or otherwise marginalised in the wider public domain.

   Unlike the "social turn" and other manifestations of community arts and
   post-studio practice, that emerged in the 1990s, Tactical Media has not
   become another an art-world genre. Its scope and significance has gone
   far beyond the accepted confines of the art scene. This lack of
   rootedness in a single discourse means it has largely escaped
   institutional capture. It has however paid a high price for avoiding
   any kind of strategic grounding with a bad case of historical amnesia.
   This widespread amnesia has meant that the scope and achievements of
   this movement are frequently forgotten or overlooked, rendering
   important lessons unavailable to subsequent generations of
   practitioners and activists.

   In developing Tactical Media Connections, we have avoided fixed
   definitions, we are instead treating the moment when Tactical Media was
   initially named and described as a key reference point or rather a
   "point of lost origin", a temporal vector enabling us to move in two
   directions at once: On the one hand we can reflect on the precursors,
   without getting lost in history. On the other hand we can look towards
   Tactical Media's progeny and legacies, and their possible futures from
   an extended and more deeply informed perspective. As a framework it is
   designed to manage the extreme complexity we are unleashing. Exploiting
   this temporal vector we need no longer use the term Tactical Media to
   cover every practice that appears relevant. Rather this "point of lost
   origin" can be seen as one important moment of convergence in these
   evolving cycles of contestation and engagement, at a moment in time
   when anyone can `become the media' at the touch of a screen.


   The Tactical Media Connections public research project got underway
   with an international research meeting at Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam's new
   cultural centre, in July 2014. The meeting was  combined with a public
   debate on "Art and Political Conflict", organised in collaboration with
   Framer Framed, the gallery and exhibition agency at the Tolhuistuin.
   Since then activity has shifted to `behind the scene' activities. In
   the past months we have been developing the different `components' of
   our trajectory; the publication - a comprehensive anthology of Tactical
   Media; the first stage of a thorough upgrade of the Tactical Media
   Files online documentation resource; and preparations for a  series
   of public events and exhibitions to be organised in the Fall of  2016
   and Spring 2017 in The Netherlands and the UK.

   MIT Press confirmed as publisher for the Tactical Media Anthology

   We are delighted that the MIT Press has agreed to publish the Tactical
   Media Anthology, which is scheduled to launch in the second half of
   2016. The book as a whole will be ± 450 pages, as a full-colour
   edition, edited by Eric Kluitenberg and David Garcia in close
   consultation with Brian Holmes. Our ambition is to do justice to the
   full scope and significance of Tactical Media activity over the past
   three decades: connecting debates, controversies and experiences of
   various generations of artists, activists, media makers and theorists
   across different periods and territories, and relate these to the
   current situation, which might be described as the Post-Occupy /
   Post-Prism era. We see a particular urgency to revisit these debates
   and link experiences of different generations at this critical

   The publication will include among others contributions by Michael
   Dieter, Brian Holmes, DeeDee Halleck, Critical Art Ensemble, Mathew
   Fuller, David Garcia, Paulo Gerbaudo, Lev Manovich, Özge Celikaslan,
   Graham Harwood, Rodrigo Nunes, Saskia Sassen, Clement Apprich, Oliver
   Lerone Schultz, Caroline Nevejan, Daoud Kuttab, Konrad Becker, Brandon
   Jourdan, Seda Gürses, Cornelia Sollfrank, Geert Lovink, Marianne
   Maeckelbergh, Ned Rossiter, Eric Kluitenberg, Simona Lodi, Heath
   Bunting, Nat Muller, Felix Stalder, Ted Byfield, Julian Oliver, Danja
   Vasiliev, Mike Stubbs, McKenzie Wark, and others to be confirmed.

   Tactical Media Files website relaunched with reconstituted video

   The online documentation resource Tactical Media Files, originally
   launched in the Fall of 2008, has been rebuilt from the ground up.
   While design changes have so far been minimal, important work has been
   done to ensure the longer term sustainability of the resource. The site
   is an entry point to the extensive collection of materials around the
   practices of Tactical Media in many different places and aims to make
   them accessible for current and future generations of artists,
   activists, researchers and the general audience. An important part of
   the resource are the materials sourced from contributions made over the
   years by visitors to each edition of the Next 5 Minutes festivals and
   held by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam,
   where the physical materials remain accessible in their original

   The most significant  aspect of this renewal process is that the
   extensive video archive of the Tactical Media Files has been restored
   and can now be freely accessed across different viewing devices. In the
   next phase of development the emphasis will shift towards an overhaul
   of the visual design of the website and a further extension of the
   functionality of the video archive. We are also keen on exploring more
   experimental approaches to the materials contained in the resource and
   aim to work together with curators, artists, technical developers and
   theorists on this as part of our on-going research trajectory. More
   about that in future updates.


   Public event-series and exhibitions 2016 - 2017

   Agreements are in place with a variety of partner organisations for a
   series of public events and exhibitions to be organised in the Fall of
   2016 and early 2017, in The Netherlands and the UK. These events will
   include conferences and public debates, a larger screening event and
   public debate around the Global Uprisings documentary project, and two
   substantial exhibitions curated by Nat Muller and David Garcia in close
   consultation with Josien Peterse and Cas Bool, co-directors of Framer
   Framed in Amsterdam, and Mike Stubbs, director of FACT in Liverpool.
   The aim is to commission a number of new works which will  travel from
   The Netherlands to the UK and possibly beyond and will include
   screening events and workshops.

   In the run up to the final series of events we aim to organise a number
   of local development meetings or Tactical Media Labs, in the UK and in
   NL. These will act as local connection points for researchers, artists
   and activists who want to engage more actively in this project. If you
   are interested to become involved in these meetings or the project
   please contact the projectors initiators Eric Kluitenberg and David

   Partner organisations

   Partner organisations with whom initial agreements have been made so
   far include Cultural Center Tolhuistuin, Framer Framed, EYE Film
   Institute, the Institute of Network Cultures, The Showroom in London,
   FACT - Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Cool Mediators
   Foundation, and Bournemouth University's COLAB.

   Preliminary Research Questions:

   To guide this exploration we have formulated the following research
   questions during our initial meeting at the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam:

     * How can we evaluate the remarkable developments in what we indicate
       as the post-occupy / post prism era? How do they relate to longer
       term questions of engagement in public culture and the formation of
       new politics giving voice to the voiceless, in pursuit of a more
       open and equitable future?

     * How resilient and comprehensive do the definitions of Tactical
       Media proposed in the 1990s appear in retrospect today? Were some
       aspects missed or distorted by the classic definitions? And how do
       they speak to the present and present generations of activists,
       artists, thinkers, theorists, researchers, media tacticians, out in
       the streets and the networks?

     * Does the extensive occupation of popular social media platforms in
       the 2011 uprisings (or `movement(s) of the squares') signal an end
       of the "cyber separatism" of the Indymedia generation ? And does
       their extensive use of these platforms signal a new pragmatic
       populism for this generation's media activists? Have projects with
       great public impact, such as WikiLeaks, neutralised the critique of
       media intervention as being trapped in networks of insularity and
       semiotic corruption?

     * What role can the idea of Tactical Media and its progeny play
       during the inevitable periods of latency in the cycles of protest ?
       In this and other contexts can Tactical Media research help to
       identify new networks of resistance and change in the control

   To take stock, discuss and debate, and begin a more collective
   appreciation of these questions is what this public research trajectory
   is meant for.


   The Tactical Media Connections project and the preparation for the
   Tactical Media Anthology  are financially supported by the Creative
   Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund.

   Project updates are published a.o. on our blogs:



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