15 years ago people were pegging digital tools as having the potential to change established systems and the dominant culture's influence in general. Until 2008, I didn't think it would happen. Obama's election was exactly what we had been hoping for when we first ran out to buy our first laptops in the late 90' hooking up our almost 256mb system to our phone lines and using the Internet. But the big revolution never came. Information wasn't changing our life styles or choices. We were too hypnotized by the glitz and overwhelmed by the plans we soon had to purchase to have the Internet. Storm clouds cleared when we elected President Obama and we were hopeful- then, we were not. In the last few months we have seen two governments toppled on the strength of Twitter, blogs, flicker, etc. People in Tunisia and Egypt shook things up and succeeded. Will things go array as they have here with conservative hew-haws holding on tight at all costs? Who would have thought that we would have lost the Net Neutrality War? The working class is still struggling everywhere and there are still starving artists. My Korean colleague died at the end of January because she starved to death. She was an amazing filmmaker and screenwriter who only had enough to pay the rent. Her thyroid condition made things much worse helping to sign her death sentence. To be honest, I would expect something like that happening here in the US. Our system of having artists help themselves seems to have spread.
In the latest essay I read from Digital Dialectic, “ 'We Could Be Better Ancestors Than This': Ethics and First Principles for Art of the Digital Age” by Bob Stein- the main point is to make tools accessible for everyone to make art, live, function because it is just unethical not to. Stein is a publisher and was part of the Voyager company who developed “Who Built America” a disc by the American Social History Project. Apple refused to distribute it with an educational bundle for schools when Voyager refused to edit the sections about abortion and gays (for Trekkies out there: can you see images of Captain Janewood refusing to comply?). The matter was resolved and Apple continued distributing it. I haven't looked up where Stein is now, but I don't think he is advising the president's people.
I naturally side with Stein on: keeping the system fair and changing the dominant culture's control over it, getting digital corporations to re-evaluate in bigger terms not just from the cash, Id and ego perspective, and to fight fight fight for what will make the world a better place from all aspects (spiritual, mental, and emotional).
Go get Linux!
Alicia Grullon's projects consist of performances and photography in public spaces. She is interested in the connections between art and activism. She has exhibited at Mount Holyoke College’s Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, Raritan Community College, Masur Museum of Art, the Peekskill Arts Festival, Samuel Dorsky Museum at the State University of New York at New Paltz, Hunter College Gallery and The University of Rhode Island. Awards include: Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art 2007-08, Chashama Visual Arts Award, Research Associateship at Mount Holyoke College, and Arts Council Korea International Artist Residency at Stone and Water Gallery in Anyang, South Korea. She’s participated in 2008’s Art in Odd Places Pedestrian and Jamaica Flux 2010 at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.