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Author Topic: culture jamming
sherpafish
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1568

posted 12 October 2001 07:36 PM      Profile for sherpafish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Combinations of image & text (mostly in ad form)are present in almost every environment that a 'modern' human haunts. From bedroom to bathroom, workspace to playspace, classroom to roadway. I'm trying to think of a single engineered space that does not call upon our perceptual screens in order to keep our thoughts our own, rather than just unconcious echoes of subliminaly inputed, pre-packaged 'thought-bites'. My question is; how does this overload of pre-formed opinion and unrefrencable information effect modern thought procecces as compared to the 'try-and-find-out-on-your-own' method of information gathering employed by our ancestors and those in 'less developed' areas? Can throwing one more contrary opinion into the perceptual mele affect positive change toword self guided thought, or is it ultimatly a deconstuctionist tool that strengthens the audiance's already strong screening filters?
From: intra-crainial razor dust | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1275

posted 14 October 2001 09:39 PM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like the topic.

Mind if we start by finding out your own views?


From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
sherpafish
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1568

posted 15 October 2001 12:00 PM      Profile for sherpafish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was hoping for some outside input LTJ. My view is essencialy pro-culture jam - stick those thought producing slogans up! But at the same time I do truly wonder if we are just further loading an overloaded beast of burden, us and everyone else in this culture(jam).
From: intra-crainial razor dust | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
sherpafish
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1568

posted 16 October 2001 12:13 AM      Profile for sherpafish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's hard to define exactly, but it has a lot to do with privacy - the right to walk into a bank or a mall or a sports stadium without having your picture taken, to work in an office without having your correspondence secretly recorded, to drive around without being tracked by hidden video cameras. It has to do with dignity - the feeling that you can move through the culturescape and feel like an individual, alive and unique, instead of a datapoint or content receiver or consumer drone. It has to do with reserving the right to beg out of the corporate panopticon.

Most people today are denied the enjoyment of basic cultural rights - their ideas and expressions don't matter. Media Carta says that you and I are entitled to a voice. To speak up about climate change, President Bush's energy proposal or Nike's labor practices. To walk into your local TV station and buy 30 seconds of air if the mood grabs you. To not just have the option of turning off your TV if you don't like the program, but to change the program; to feel part of the cultural process, hear the raucous choir of the voices of your neighbors, real people with something to say but nothing to sell. Because now you, and not the corporations, are in control.

Every age fights its own unique human-rights battle. The battle for Media Carta is shaping up as the human-rights battle of our age: a great personal, intellectual, social, cultural and legal struggle for the right to control our own minds.

This is a fight we cannot afford to lose (much less avoid). Half a dozen megacorporations already control the bulk of all planetary information flows. Global capitalism sustains itself with a massive internal machinery of propaganda. At stake is the ability to shape our own consciousness, our own future. This is a freedom fight worth breaking unjust laws for. It's worth headgames, meme wars, civil disobedience. So long as most of our communications channels remain in corporate hands, significant social change is impossible.

Economic institutions like the WTO, IMF and World Bank exist to govern international monetary flows. Now we need a United Nations based institution to govern global information flows; to keep the media megacorporations in check, to champion cultural diversity, and to enshrine "the right to communicate" as a fundamental human right in the constitutions of all free nations and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

- Kalle Lasn

found this in www.adbusters.org
the question of claiming a right to mental freedom is closely related to what I'm trying to understand here.
[ October 16, 2001: Message edited by: sherpafish ]

[ October 16, 2001: Message edited by: sherpafish ]


From: intra-crainial razor dust | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
krishna
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1242

posted 16 October 2001 02:41 AM      Profile for krishna   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps the single most important message to communicate is the need to TURN IT OFF, referring to the entire corporate mediascape - tv, radio, newspaper, magazines, billboards, clothing, salespeople, junkmail. Adding another message to an overloaded medium might even do this by being the straw that broke the camelīs back, i.e. maybe content of message doesnīt matter. I donīt believe in DoS attacks (filling the medium with garbage or copies of one political message, or blowing up a transmission tower) because that is abuse of putative commons and starts an arms race you canīt win against those owning all the resources.

What should the message be, in case the content isnīt ignored? I think self-referential messages like "you are the product" or things that satirize the medium itself, will cause recipients to mentally step back.

Another approach (time-jamming?) is to take direct action to help your friends (and they may reciprocate). Hold a party or event that is as unsponsored and delogoīd as you can manage, for example a hike in the woods, with only low-budget gear if anything. This gets them away from the TV, from hollywood movies, from consuming mass quantities in bars and from clubs where we feel pressure to dress for peerdom.

The same action may be appropriate as a solo effort, simply to clear your mind and give yourself space and time to heal and center. Remove yourself from the culture, rather than trying to impose your small mindprint on an ocean.

[ October 16, 2001: Message edited by: krishna ]


From: Ottawa and Rideau rivers area | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
sherpafish
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1568

posted 17 October 2001 11:55 AM      Profile for sherpafish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks Krishna. I like the self-referancial concept, but I think I like the blowing up of broadcast towers idea too!
Just a joke. Going solo is efective for one's self, and I do this as much as one working + living in an urban society can. Often I find that this is a passive aproach though, one must sit back and take in everything spewed at them while chosing to not contribute any feedback. Also I don't belive that leading by example works in our 'rugged individialistic' society, just my opinion. I thank you for yourfeedback, it is usefull, but what I think we really need is some medium of dialog between those who send out and those who are forced to recieve. Babble is a great step.

From: intra-crainial razor dust | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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Babbler # 554

posted 17 October 2001 11:58 AM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think I like the blowing up of broadcast towers idea too! Just a joke.

Hilarious.


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 17 October 2001 12:24 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What the graphics artists among us should do is de-logoize photos and put before-and-after pictures for others to download and print. Naomi Klein had someone do this for one of the photos in No Logo and it's quite... jarring.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Eric Ambrose Ward
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1778

posted 14 November 2001 08:17 PM      Profile for Eric Ambrose Ward     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Do you find that our bombardment by unsolicited messages tends to put us into a kind of trance. I find myself tuning out much of my sensory experience in advertising-saturated parts of the city so that I can keep to a line of thought.

But that tuning out exacts a cost: I may not notice important interesting beautiful or funny details about the city and its people.

This month I am in Nashville Tennessee. The billboard and franchise scene is much more intense here than in Canadian cities. Churches are in the logo and branding game as well -- each has a big sign out front with quasi-witty slogans(e.g. "Exposure to the Son may prevent burning", "Study for School, Work for Money, Pray for Life" and, ambiguously: "Jesus will never leave you alone"). A friend suggested that I read these as Christain culture-jamming, but I conclude that this is a case of PR colonizing the sense of the sacred.


From: Montreal | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trespasser
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1204

posted 14 November 2001 10:14 PM      Profile for Trespasser   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You know what else should be sacred? Time and organization of a film. The consistency of a good TV series or a documentary. I really receive the commercial breaks as a violation. Some TV movies and sit-coms are even created in a break-friendly manner, every quarter of an hour ends in a way that keeps people on their toes about what's going to happen so that the viewers wouldn't change the channel during the commercial break... Unbelievable.

One thing about billboard culture jamming. Some young feminist culture jammers write on the posters showing anorexically thin models comments like Please feed me!, which is a great idea. I've also seen a Coca-Cola billboard slogan Get a Coke Card Now changed into Get a life. Culture-jammers, multiply and spread!


From: maritimes | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 15 November 2001 03:28 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, as long as you're having fun, but don't expect to change anything.

Ultimately the sheer profligacy of advertising defeats its own purpose: there is so much of the crap, you can't register individual messages.

By the way, i'm unimpressed with the Adbusters magazine - far too slick and shiny; large on design, short on content and altogether too self-admiring.

Filtering advertising, blocking it, getting away from it as much as possible is all right for the individual, but not for the 'culture'. Do we even have one?
If culture is the belief-system, mores, style and artistic output of a whole population, then we are very close to having no culture, since most of us have not contributed - only received. By volume, advertising (that is, disposable messages about disposable objects) is enormously greater than the sum of our meaningful art, craft, music and literature. If we include social interaction in the definition of culture, then we may still have a viable culture.

Suppose we each concentrate on a logo-free social life. Never allow a product name into your conversation. Never compliment anyone on an article of clothing with the manufacturer's name on it (makers who actually sew or knit by hand are a different matter). Soak the labels off the beer bottles before a party and serve nothing pre-packaged. Make your own Chrismas cards. Don't buy the must-have toy or shoe for your child, and certainly not any of the tie-in/ mascott products.
Start a neighbourhood decoration program, where everyone is invited to add a creative, personal touch. Hold a concert, art exhibition of original work by local talent - no matter how unsophisticated.
You get the idea: concentrate on the real people in your real life.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
redshift
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1675

posted 15 November 2001 03:58 AM      Profile for redshift     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
nonesuch, i'm not sure that the desired effect isn't to overwhelm you.
studies of schooling fish show that they react to the position and action of the adjacent fish, not primarily to a threat.I was out for a walk above my place last weekend , and stopped to watch one of my neighbors working his border collies with a small group of sheep. as it happens i was thinking about something along this thread at the time, and i'd like to share it.
first the dogs never threaten the sheep, they generate a tension within the flock,but generally only one or perhaps two of the sheep can actually see them. the rest react to the lead action. the trick is that there isn't really a leader, there is only reaction to stress.the sheep actually react to each other.
the sheep don't react to the man except to avoid him as an obstacle, but the dogs follow him constantly with eye and ear.
mass media is utilized within our culture to generate stress which allows guidance through perceived threat and gratification.
its the core principle behind consumer capitalism. branding is a desired outcome of a subset within the defining culture, but I think, as Macluhan put it " the media is the message".
and that's why reacting unthinkingly is a baaaad habit.

From: cranbrook,bc | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
sherpafish
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1568

posted 15 November 2001 02:15 PM      Profile for sherpafish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
we are very close to having no culture, since most of us have not contributed - only received.

This quote actualy gave me a shiver... so true. The question is: How does one convince others that they can contribute outside of the lines society has drawn up for them already?
What little culture we do have dictates that we contribute while we're at work, and the rest of our time is for consuming the (rotten)fruit of our labour.
Of cource one can convince their self of this, but they are still stuck in our semi-culture that has no blank spaces for participant feed back.
I think I'm going to make big white stickers, for jamming purposes, that read "your comment here" along the top, with lots of room down below for people to vent on.

[ November 15, 2001: Message edited by: sherpafish ]


From: intra-crainial razor dust | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 20 November 2001 12:53 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I somehow neglected to return to this thread for a while.
Indeed, the fish/sheep analogy is apt. I guess they don't care which crap we buy, since it's all mass-produced in the same sweatshops; they only care that we keep buying and tossing lots of it.
And, even more, that we never suspect it could be otherwise. The context of our lives is thus defined and limited, so that we can't even speak or think in terms other than those given by the medium (labels and dollars).

What makes those British series (Heartbeat, Ballykissangel, Hamish MacBeth) about small towns so popular? Everything is clean! No billboards, no blinking neon signs... so restful. Don't you just long to move there?

The big white boards are a good idea. But don't be surprised if you get a lot of trite and vulgar input. Isn't that what walls have always been for? I enjoy seeing New York subway trains in movies, with all the graffiti on them: some people insist on adding to their culture. However messy, it's at least alive.
But how much nicer the world might be if people could clean things up instead of making them uglier.

Now, i'll have to look at the graffiti thread.

[ November 20, 2001: Message edited by: nonesuch ]


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
GulfAlien
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1259

posted 20 November 2001 02:01 PM      Profile for GulfAlien   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like to simplify these issues by thinking about how they are extensions of human society most simple organizational structure.

Think of a small tribe of humans 20,000 years ago. Everyone knew everyone else. They had a "database" of people's faces, habits, etc in their minds.

It would be impossible to tell the others "don't look at me" or, "don't memorize or analyse my habits". The truth is that it is a right for each person to know about the other inasmuch as it related to their survival, etc.

In a very real way, with so many people on the globe, in order to "look" at and to "remember" we must collectively use technological aids. Arguing against their use seems contrary to a basic human need to "know your fellow man".


From: Vancouver | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 20 November 2001 05:36 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, yes - we're here, aren't we? Sitting in isolation, thousands of miles apart, in front of lighted screens, talking to one another. This is a good thing; one of the technological tools we ought to keep.

And no, too - we are all too often isolated in crowds. We know the faces of (fictional) strangers in Hollywood better than those of our next-door neighbour. This, perhaps, we should keep only as a curiosity. And we know the spokes-dog for junk-food better than we know the person who repairs our car (on whom our life literally depends). This, we should certainly discard.

It's relatively easy to know everyone in a small town; it would be just as easy to become familiar with one's neighbourhood in a big city. But we are distracted by the distant and impersonal and inessential; by the aggressive and constant intrusion of the not-us.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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