The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors’ and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’
– Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
The avant garde is dead, or so the story goes for many leftists and capitalists alike. But so is postmodernism an outmoded paradigm in these times of neoliberal austerity, neocolonial militarism and ecological crisis. Rejecting ‘end of ideology’ post-politics, Vanguardia delves into the changing praxis of socially engaged art and theory in the age of the Capitalocene. Reflecting on the major events of the last decade, from anti-globalisation protest, Occupy Wall Street, the Maple Spring, Strike Debt and the Anthropocene, to the Black Lives Matter and MeToo campaigns, Vanguardia puts forward a radical leftist commitment to the revolutionary consciousness of avant-garde art and politics.
action. McKenzie Wark addresses Žižek’s work in his writings on the Anthropocene. 2 For Žižek, the issue of global warming is not one that can be solved by limiting one’s analysis to the social forces and relations of production. Whereas Wark proposes a new kind of proletarian culture, one might wonder what the potential is for a new Proletkult today. For this I turn to recent writings by Sven Lütticken and Yates McKee and address the shift from the 1960s to the present, from the Situationists to OccupyWallStreet, where transformations to cultural praxis raise
the evolving relationship between ICTs and contentious politics in the contemporary era. The role of digital media in social movements since 2011 is analysed, using exemplars such as OccupyWallStreet and the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa later labelled the ‘Arab Spring’. Third, the chapter explores the evolving role of digital media in contentious politics in Northern Ireland. Data from organisations such as Ofcom are used to empirically investigate the news consumption practices of citizens and levels of public trust in professional news
Counter-power in photography from slavery to Occupy Wall Street
The visual commons: counter-
power in photography from
slavery to OccupyWallStreet
If global visual culture summons up a world of surveillance, drones, rendition and
annexation, I want to begin with a reminder: we were there first, on the commons,
claiming the right to look.1 The right to look was and is a horizontal process, producing the visual commons that has become photographic (Mirzoeff 2011). This
photography exists in the moment I claim the right to look, and grant that right
to others without reservations or guarantees
Still and moving images are crucial factors in contemporary political conflicts. They not only have representational, expressive or illustrative functions, but also augment and create significant events. Beyond altering states of mind, they affect bodies, and often life or death is at stake. Various forms of image operations are currently performed in the contexts of war, insurgency and activism. Photographs, videos, interactive simulations and other kinds of images steer drones to their targets, train soldiers, terrorise the public, celebrate protest icons, uncover injustices, or call for help. They are often parts of complex agential networks and move across different media and cultural environments. This book is a pioneering interdisciplinary study of the role and function of images in political life. Balancing theoretical reflections with in-depth case studies, it brings together renowned scholars and activists from different fields to offer a multifaceted critical perspective on a crucial aspect of contemporary visual culture.
taken by many, a new social assemblage emerges: at first ephemeral, but if attractive and persistent enough it becomes a new centre of social gravity, twisting social trajectories and forging new patterns of social flows. On a patainstitutional level, an alliance of collectives, NGOs, progressive institutions, media outlets and channels of formal and informal communication created the conditions of possibility for OccupyWallStreet. These networks reflected the ripples made by the Occupy movement, reverberating in future political campaigns, like Bernie Sanders’ in
of fashion that organises its daily operations. And projectarians do in fact often rise to this challenge, → repurposing the circulation for the sake of what Martha Rosler termed the ‘artistic mode of revolution’, responding to the global wave of occupations from the early 2010s (Rosler 2011 ) (→ C is for curatorial mode of production/revolution ). Rosler keenly observed the radicalisation of bohemian hipsters, previously cherished by neoliberal propaganda as useful idiots of gentrification, who during OccupyWallStreet became politically active, protesting
-garde confrontation. 8 The populist assumption within socially engaged art that the 99% is directly opposed to the various ideological state apparatuses, plutocracy and corporate domination is one that can suppress politics rather than deepen it. As Badiou puts it:
the OccupyWallStreet movement’s slogan ‘We are the 99%,’ with its supposed capacity to unite people, is completely empty. The truth is that what we call the West is full of people who though not constituting part of the 10% that make up the ruling aristocracy, do however provide
‘familiar old places’ of struggle. In the US, in the years after OccupyWallStreet, it seems that the movement is increasingly becoming aware of the need for more effective and sustainable institutions. Rather than signal the demise of collective resistance, these protest events speak to the virtuality of the past and of possible futures.
Sholette’s notion of dark matter practices is further explored in It’s the Political Economy, Stupid , an exhibition curated by Sholette with Oliver