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U2 wrote this.

Written By: daveski on September 16, 2009 3 Comments

Seriously. And you, too, blogged before blogs, if Uve ripped (remember when paper was real?), cut (and scissors?) and pasted (glue?), mixed (batter) and burned (have DVD drives eliminated your inner pyromaniac, too?).

Sure, metaphors for all the cool stuff we can do with digital tools to images, sounds, videos and the like always seem to pawn off the real world, then leave that world behind after techno-life moves on. I mean, when was the last time you really “hung up” your phone?

So with metaphors. We probably think even less about how the subversive aspects of cutting up reel tape, pasting magazine photos, gluing onto building walls, and, yeah, even burning stuff may be getting lost in the ‘writing’, ‘playing’, and performance that we do more and more on computers, in computers, by computers, through computers, to computers.

People like me.

And, like,




Long-time Bay Area renegade under/onground cut-n-paste media artists Negativland made a visit to the campus the night before last, in the person of Mark Hosler, at the Berkeley Center for New Media -sponsored Art Technology Culture Colloquium. I just learned about their work then, and in case U didn’t know about it either, you might want to check Negativland’s site, Google’em, YouTube’em, or better yet, check out their live radio performance “Over the Edge”, on Berkeley’s own KPFA 94.1, every Thursday starting at midnight.

But here’s the deal. I don’t think liking what Negativland does is going to be helped in the long run by liking Negativland (although it doesn’t hurt!). The real question, that I didn’t really get a sense from in what was otherwise a very cool, edgy and thought-provoking presentation by Mark, is what are the avenues to digital subversion in 2009? That is to say, now that media content is so (much more) freely shared across the internet, how can digital media be used to disrupt discourse as usual and realize an art form that productively lies in its form as much as it lies in its content? When all the corporate-made tools on the market, and even the freely available WordPress platform this post was written on, encourage me to cut, you to paste, us to rip & burn, as long as we all click on ads and generate harvestable user data?

And maybe even more importantly, who & what are we protesting against?

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3 Responses to “U2 wrote this.”

  1. Usree Bhattacharya on: 21 September 2009 at 7:46 pm

    nice post.

  2. Youki on: 22 September 2009 at 6:13 pm

    a few days ago my wife and I were in the car and talking about the phrase “pull over” — as in to pull your car over to the side of the road. It makes no sense when you think about it, until we realized that it probably originated from pulling the reins of a horse in order to stop.

  3. daveski on: 23 September 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Usree: thx!
    Youki: yes…so did you hang up and pull over to have that discussion?

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