Above: An old man uses the internet – could he be “the Anonymous”?
TL;DR Version: What is Anonymous? a) Internet Vigilante Group? b) Internet Hate Machine? c) Millions of web-surfers with black-humour and an appetite for the offensive? d) Hackers on steroids? e) All of the above.
˙ǝʌoqɐ ǝɥʇ ɟo ןןɐ (ǝ :ɹǝʍsuɐ
From Lulz to Liberation by Michael Toledano
Like so many old people, overwhelmed by the complexity of the internet and lost in an eternal struggle to comprehend “the google” the mass media doesn’t quite know what to make of Anonymous.
Keeping true to their spirit of lazy journalism and political censorship, outlets like CNN, the BBC, and Fox have declined to provide a proper explanation of the group’s make-up, purpose, or structure. Reporting on sporadic waves of Anonymous arrestees or uniformly mislabeling Anonymous as a finite collective of “cyber-pranksters,” “cyber-terrorists,” “hackers,” “cyber-criminals,” or “hacktivists,” the mass media is already exploiting Anonymous as an abstract cyber-threat—a phenomenon which is more worthy of fear than explanation.
Network is a 1976 feature film revolving around a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System. It picked up four academy awards: best actor, best actress, best supporting actress, and best original screenplay. Its main character Howard Beale, a long time news anchor, is fired due to poor ratings. In his last week, desperate and losing his mind, he announces he’s going to kill himself on air. As he devolves into strangely prescient lunatic ranting, his ratings skyrocket and his stay on the air is extended.
While the film has certainly aged – most notably in the naive hegemony of television as a medium that smacks of a pre-internet era – it remains funny and astute satire. Most surprising is the early islamophobic paranoia about “The Arabs.” Give the “best of” reel a watch, it’s only about 18 minutes long, or go for the whole film. Links after the jump.
This is the first of what will probably be a five part series of articles on art. They are an attempt to translate a lecture I gave last winter on the state of the contemporary art market into a series of short essays. Part one is going to focus on what we mean when we say the word “art.”
“Modern art is merely the means by which we terrorize ourselves.” – Tracey Emin
This article opens with a request: take a minute to come up with a definition of art. If this seems like a daunting or impossible task—an assignment given at art school in hell—just bear with me.
Above: A grain vendor in Nanpo-dong market in Busan, South Korea. Part of Michael Fraiman’s photo essay, “Crowd Control”.
If you want to buy an apple in Busan, you have basically two options. You can go to a department store—Lotte Mart, Hyundai, Shinsegae—which are 12-floor goliaths offering everything from Gucci products to a park on the roof. Your other option is a street vendor, a wizened old Korean who will offer often-bruised produce surrounded by flies.
There are literally hundreds of street vendors in Busan, crammed together in outdoor markets under large, colourful umbrellas. Meanwhile, Shinsegae’s Centum City—the record-holding largest department store in the world—comes complete with a cineplex, fitness centre, art gallery and four-floor golf course. On the first floor alone there is a Gucci, Hermes, Prada, Armani, Burberry, Chanel, Cartier, Tiffany & co., Salvatore Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Louis Quatorze, Starbucks (one of three in the entire complex), Ermenegildo Zegna, Bottega Veneta, Yves St. Laurent, Coach, Dior and Piaget.
Above: This political debate will entertain you beyond what is reasonable.
In what John Stewart aptly labeled an “Amerigasm,” the first-ever Tea Party Republican Presidential Debate has refined the science of TV democracy. CNN, on Tea Party Express buck, has done away with standard TV debate form. Incorporating elements of reality TV, particularly in its many introduction sequences, the debate swaps political discourse for high-octane entertainment.
Packed into this TV extravaganza was an extended performance of the star-spangled banner, a red-white-and-blue, star-covered arena of democracy (assembled for the occasion), a radically conservative crowd, and eight All-American potential presidents. Only the word “politics” displayed meaninglessly behind the candidates, or the occasional interjection from Ron Paul, remind us that this game show is somehow more important than all others.
Street artist Shepard Fairey became a household name during the 2008 Presidential election when he designed the Obama Hope poster, skyrocketing him into every piecemeal lefty’s heart. But is his work actually a trustworthy political tool? For some time now, those with a critical eye have found Fairey’s political beliefs wanting.
Recently, the artist ran into this sentiment on the streets. On a trip to Copenhagen, Fairey painted several murals around the city. One of them was the above “peace dove” mural, which was painted on the site of former Ungdomshuset (or, youth house), a long time rallying point for Danish leftists. The building was controversially cleared out by the government in 2007, but it is still a sore spot for the radical community—as demonstrated when it was vandalized with the words “No Peace! Go Home Yankee Hipster!” The tense situation was exacerbated by a local newspaper’s misreport that the mural was funded with municipal money. Fairey then worked in co-operation with the RaxArt Collective, former inhabitants of the youth house, to change the lower third of the mural to include images of riot police and the words “Nothing Forgotten, Nothing Forgiven.” Nonetheless, Shepard Fairey and one of his friends were attacked several days later outside his gallery opening (THE GUARDIAN). Fairey himself wrote a detailed response to these events, which contains such aphorisms as, “Just as I’m opposed to U.S. xenophobia and insensitivity to the rest of the world, I’m opposed to xenophobia toward Americans from the rest of the world. Saying all Americans are imperialists is like saying all Arabs are terrorists.” (HUFFINGTON POST). To give Fairey some credit, he doesn’t sound like a bad guy—but he clearly fails to understand how his actions (stepping into a deep-seated local conflict that he doesn’t really understand) are in fact a form of cultural imperialism.
Above: Surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel on the set of Robinson Crusoe.
In this short statement from Film Cultures, Luis Buñuel talks about the unique power of cinema and gives popular film a smack-down.
A Statement by Luis Buñuel
1. In none of the traditional arts is there such a wide gap between possibilities and facts as in the cinema. Motion pictures act directly upon the spectator; they offer him concrete persons and things; they isolate him, through silence and darkness, from the usual psychological atmosphere. Because of all this, the cinema is capable of stirring the spectator as perhaps no other art. But as no other art, it is also capable of stupefying him. Unfortunately, the great majority of today’s films seem to have exactly that purpose; they glory in an intellectual and moral vacuum. In this vacuum, movies seem to prosper.
Bursting through her front door with a shopping bag on one arm and a purse on the other, Cheryl makes an enthusiastic candidate for a Microsoft home invasion. The domestic space of her living room is replaced, much to her apparent delight, with the commercial space of a windows store.
“What do you say we go shopping?” asks the lone PC salesman who lingers in the space of her former living room.