Re: [-empyre-] Do You Still Own Your Reality? (forwarded from Geri Wittig)

Yes, thank you Randall, very valid point. That's something I've been trying to reconcile for a long time myself. I was involved as an artist with ActUp in the early 90's and did a lot of political art in the 90's related to such U.S. domestic issues as the Telecommunications Act (media concentration) and international issues such as the Hong Kong handover in '97, but with the explosion of global information technologies in the past decade I began thinking there needed to be new strategies that weren't so didactic, etc. I've been to lots of art and activism discussions, actually recently went to one a few weeks ago up in Northern California - one of the key points that was made there was the need for not being over the top and hitting people over the head in a humorless way and also communicating to people on a personal/emotional level. What you at DAT do does embody humor and I think that is one of your strengths, but I think my negative reaction when I read some of your statements is some of it seems like preaching to the choir and perhaps holds a condescending tone that might not be helpful. But of course I could be wrong, as I'm not really sure who DAT has been reaching in terms of audience.

I agree with Tobias and think "stealth" was probably the wrong choice of words.

At 12:18 AM -0400 10/9/04, tobias c. van Veen wrote:
Although sometimes I feel the stealth approach, unless as disguised as the
ultimate model, the mythical Hashasheen, is simply an excuse for faking the
chameleon and reaping the benefits of the system while espousing its

What I mean instead is to work to communicate in a way that is not in a confrontational/didactic way that builds resistance to hearing, but in an expansive way that is stealth in that one attempts to fully understand what makes those you're trying to be in dialogue with tick and using that knowledge to be more effective.

To point to a work that I think has been very enlightening in these technologically-savvy times, I would say Josh On of Future Farmer's "They Rule":


To Geri and the rest of the empyre list:

Elaborate on the proposition of a "stealth" approach to confronting the current political environment and its players who partake in elaborate mechanisms of public deception and media manipulation.

What is the 21st century solution?

How can artists engage in effective mediation in these increasingly, technologically-savvy times?


I think there's a very clear understanding of the power of the media and has been for a long time in academic, publishing, art, media, etc. fields. I just don't think this "rhetoric" is effectual, in my opinion it's not shedding any new light. I think this strategy echoes a political activist art practice that worked well in the 80's and early 90's, but we're in a different even more media savvy time that I think demands an even more stealth approach.

geri wittig

The statement was posed rhetorically, clearly not everyone is asleep...

The problem is: 45% of the country can't be awakened from their hypnosis. They will vote for Bush even if he is campaigning for the apocalypse (which, by the way he is). If the rest of us are searching for ways to confront our "nation of robotic brethren," to quote Abe Golam, we must have a better understanding the power of the media as the opiate of the masses.


From: Geri Wittig <>
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 08:35:17 -0700
To: soft_skinned_space <>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Do You Still Own Your Reality?

I completely understand the sentiment of this post - the Bush opposition
movement in this country has been critiquing the power of the misinformation
and fear mongering that comes out of the Bush administration - this is not a
new observation and has been duly noted for years. I watched the
Cheney/Edwards debate and had the same analysis of Cheney's uncanny ability
to hypnotically put forth inaccuracies that an uninformed public would take
at face value without question, but to lump all of "America's reality" into
one basket is a disservice to the many in the trenches who have been
fighting the good fight to oppose the Bush administration in all of it's
varied negative policy impacts upon the world. For example, in these last
few weeks of this campaign, the work that many grassroots voter registration
efforts have been doing are showing results - the late voter registration
has been surging. A friend of mine who recently moved to North Carolina, a
Republican stronghold, informed me that late voter registration is running
60% Democrat, 12% Republican. Yes, we need to continue to critique and point
out the insane "reality" that the Bush administration is trying to pull over
the uninformed American public's eyes, but we need to also acknowlege where
the work in action is gaining some ground. On a psychological level it's
going to be important to help boost any momentum that is being gained by the
Bush opposition, as it's going to be very important for getting out those
left leaning voters who do not support Bush's policies, but who haven't
voted in years because they've become disillusioned with the system and have
gone into inaction. Critique is vital, but without action and
acknowledgement of the successes that that action may be attaining, the
critique is futile.

geri wittig

 (((((((((( We the Blog Update: Do You Still Own Your Reality? ))))))))))

 October 07, 2004

 The Republicans are heightening the attack, ramping up their spin
 strategies to reinforce disinformation in order to fool the country
 into re-election.

 Straight out of the playbook from Orwell's 1984...

 They continue to retool their highly refined doublespeak tactics to
 maintain a stranglehold on the reality of unsuspecting Americans.

 Have the Republicans co-opted your reality?

 According to columnist Tina Brown in the Washington Post discussing the
 VP debate:

 "Cheney found a more primitive way to bluff with a bad hand... In a
 culture of blatherers, Cheney intimidates with his silences, his
 stingers, and above all his awesome capacity to stare down the evidence
 and assert that black is white."

 Despite the fact that this week, the administration's own Paul Bremer,
 Don Rumsfeld, and the weapons investigator Charles Duelfer have all
 declared the reason's for going to war were deeply flawed,  as well as
 the so called follow-up plan, Bush and Cheney not only stand their
 ground, the tighten their tenuous grip on a fictional narrative
 designed to disguise their true ambition to control the oil-rich middle

 The real issue in this election though, is America going to wake up to
 the dream (or nightmare) it finds itself in? Can we lift the veil on the
 disinformation pouring out of the White House. Can we take command of
> our own reality?

Or has America's reality been permanently hijacked by the Republicans and their media propaganda machine?

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