I really enjoyed reading Catherine Saalfield’s piece On the Make: Activist Video Collectives. Saalfield offers a first-hand account of what it means to truly work as a collective, giving the reader a unique look into the chaotic, yet essential, on-goings of Damned Interfering Video Activist Television (DIVA TV). Saalfield stresses the importance of remaining true to the collective, stating “Here protest is process, communication is our form of resistance, and everyone has a say (p. 27).” Despite the struggles DIVA TV encounters due to its non-hierarchical, free-flowing, and informal structure, the organization remains true to itself. Just how chaotic video collectives can be, is very effectively, and humorously, conveyed in Saalfield’s work, which follows the agenda of a video collective’s meeting.
DIVA specializes in its production of quick-and-dirty media, using the same medium—television—to fight back against the dominant, corporate-controlled mass media. DIVA, like PTTV and TTL, sprung from the collectives movement. Yet unlike TTL, DIVA has chosen to stick with its, although counterproductive, structure as a true collective. Saalfield ultimately demonstrates that the more institutionalized a collective becomes, the more its message gets bogged down and weakened by its corporate approaches. Still, Saalfield recognizes the great advances of such organizations, such as those of TTL, that have been made in areas such as AIDS activism.