I want to go back to Lievrouw’s discussion that highlighted the often unacknowledged but also very clear connections between social movements of the past and those we are aware of today. Today, it seems like there are more social movements and more innovative ways of challenging social constraints but Lievrouw helped me see things a little differently. Yes, the easy-access and cheaper nature of our technology today makes it easier for people to use technology in ways that perpetuate their beliefs and movements but social movement’s “ready appropriation and adaptation of popular media technologies and content to confront and intervene in mainstream culture and politics” has been around since the days of Dada and the Situationalist International (30). The ideals that fueled these movements of the past have resurfaced and guided new social activists in their push for change in many ways.
Today, ‘art for more than just art’s sake’ has become highly popularized and prevalent as activists express their frustrations and challenge those things they feel limited by through their artistic expression. The graffiti and murals we see as we drive through cities or the art we call “modern” that appropriates found objects to make statement pieces are all extensions and newer re-imaginations of methods used by social movements from decades ago. There are even direct parallels between the instigators for social movements of the past and the struggles we are facing today. Dada hope to “how to re-imagine artistic practice in this age of media and technological warfare” and, in my opinion, this is something I think about everyday (31). Today, our current obsession with technology and the threat and poisonous nature of technological warfare are constantly being discussed and examined.
Though the times have drastically changed and so much has occurred, our issues seem the same just to a different degree. Our patterns reflect the human tendencies to repeat past mistakes and our proneness to obsessive behavior that soon proves cause for concern. Additionally, many of these issues that keep resurfacing are regarding technology and our fears surrounding what the next step of technological progress could do to further harm our mindsets or society as a whole.
Not only have the issues remained similar but the ways in which social movements try to combat them has also remained generally unchanged. Considering this, the notion that struck me most was the idea of the “interventionist” who seeks to interrupt or alter existing conditions, to subvert common-sense or taken-for-granted meanings and situations” (68). With Dada, we saw “deliberately public events, propaganda, and provocation” and today, “activist projects online ‘push against’ existing sites, events, and practices” (69). The exact tools of the fight (technology, media devices) may have changed or become more ‘advanced’ but the methods and the thought process behind the strategies inseperable. I think that this is a very important and useful thing to keep in mind because we have so much to learn from our past and those who have fought the fights of the past that could potentially lead us to a more productive future.