[-empyre-] The Collaborator

the agenda of the person using it. "Collaborator" in many languages stands
for a sympathizer with Fascists in Germany.

As indeed it does in Norwegian, my mother tongue. I wonder, would this negative concept of "collaborator" be applicable to those media professionals -- art directors, designers, moviemakers, artists -- who take money from the actors of the dominant image culture (Nike, Gucci, McDonald's) to create for them a look of coolness and desirability.

I've been in this position myself, and it is not very comfortable. As the outsider with connections to the "underground culture" (the ultimate hip), you have knowledge that the corporations don't. But they are quick to learn, as long as people like yourself are willing to sell it to them. Nike built a great campaign ("The Secret Tournament") around underground marketing techniques like grafitti and the appropriation of venues for street sports. The document outlining it was written by people savvy in the culture of tagging, knowing that the illegality of tags normally means gives them the authority of being "real", i.e. not manufactured by a corporation to make you buy products.

This transfer of knowledge from the underground to the dominant culture is a time-honored tradition, and is only possible due to the "collaboration" of actors close to the underground. An underground they're ultimately selling, piece by piece. But then again, is there still such a thing as a mythical "underground"?

Marius Watz - Amoeba / Unlekker marius--at--unlekker.net


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