Re: [-empyre-] The Collaborator

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"?

I would position the 'underground' as the site of what Martin Buber termed "genuine dialogue" -- the site of inspiring and inspired / energized exchange between two human beings -- or in the case of larger communities, the distributed/collective sites of exchange between each individual (a network). Once one steps away from those sites (and leaves the actuality of participation), then there is a parasitic dynamic (taking but not giving) -- which is a core component of re-production and re-creation. Basically corporate entities seek to re-produce the reality of that energized exchange, but in the end they make only a hollow shell -- form with no substance, action with no embodied experience. The phrase "you had to be there" always springs to mind when confronted by the multiplicity of re-creations and re-productions that we are confronted by. "Experiences" attenuated (and largely amplified) by a heirarchic social structure whose existence is based on a process of concentration of energies and a consequent re-distribution of those energies in a 'collectively' mandated form such as (Guy DeBord's) spectacle -- the hollow amplified social event...

I think this is a fundamental reason for the insistence, in the deployment of 'tactical media', to avoid at all costs, the bulging EYE of PR, public media -- as this is the very same mechanism that drains 'genuine dialogue' of its soul-full power.

tech-no-mad::hypnostatic::teaching at for awhile
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