MPme: Variant of a Manifesta (August 27, 2007)
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
This 2007 blog post is the third of four manifestos that I penned to commence my blog called Media Praxis. It explicitly refers to the earlier political/film manifestos of soviet filmmakers/theorists Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, who were also thinking through the radical potentials of the new medium of their epoch: cinema. Like them, I tried to resolutely set forth my operating ideals, goals, orientation, and inclinations for thinking about radical media within radical media, including YouTube. is also the name of an earlier, related, online publication which I produced for and with another Pitzer class that sets forth ten chronological moments where media is theorized, by someone who is making it and as a vital component of political struggle. That site archives and integrates revolutionary theoretical writing, video clips, and related web-based activity.
"The art manifesto has been a recurrent feature associated with the avant-garde in Modernism. Art manifestos are mostly extreme in their rhetoric and intended for shock value to achieve a revolutionary effect."[cit] See more manifestos.

"Almost a century later Vertov's films still look revolutionary. And a contemporary digital video clip screened alongside them might not look so modern (or postmodern) after all. Created from documentary footage, Vertov's films represented an intricate blend of art and political and poetic rhetoric."[cit]

SCALE (2008) is my feature documentary about how "divisions and connections between and within the Left mark the contradictions of individual action, collaboration, media attention, and grassroots movements for social justice."[cit] It also deals with the related pressures of getting big and staying small.

One of my ten founding terms for this project is Marx. Those who make and control ideas make and control history. Cultural revolution is integral for social, political, and material transformation.
(After "WE: Variant of a Manifesto," Dziga Vertov, 1922, I write a manifesta about radical media, ThirdTube, on YouTube.)

I call myself MP:me (Media Praxis: Alexandra Juhasz)—as opposed to "cinematographer," one of a herd of macho-men doing rather well peddling slick clean wares.

I see no connection between true femi-digi-praxis (the integration of media theory, digital practice, and feminist politics in an historical context) and the cunning and calculation of the profiteers.

I consider expensive corporate reality television—weighed down with music and narrative and childhood games—an absurdity.

To the American victim-documentary with its shown dynamism and power disparities, and to YouTube's direct-to-camera dramatizations of so many individuals' personal pain or pleasure, this femi-digi-practitioner says thanks for the return to real people, the hand-held look, and the close-ups. Good, but disorderly, not based on a precise study of media praxis (the hundred-year history of theoretical writing and related political media production). A cut above the psychological drama, but still lacking in foundation. A Cliche. A copy of a copy.

I proclaim the stuff of YouTube, all based on the slogan (pithy, precise, rousing calls to action or consumption—or action as consumption), to be leprous.
- Keep your mouse from them!
- Keep your eyes off those bite-sized wonders!
- They're morally dangerous!
- Contagious!

I affirm the future of digital art by denying its present and learning from its past.

I am MP:me. I build connections to history and theory and interrelations between individuals and committed communities. With my small, cheap camcorder, laptop, and Internet connection, I make messy, irregular feminist video committed to depth and complexity.

"Cinematography," the earliest male tradition of sizeable machines, stylish form, and solo cine-adventures, must die so that the communal art of femi-digi-praxis may live. I call for its death to be hastened.

I protest against the smooth operator and call for a rough synthesis of history, politics, theory, real people and their chaotic, mundane desires and knowledge.

I invite you:
- to flee ...
the sweet embrace of America's Next Top Model,
the poison of the commercial send-up,
the clutches of technophilia,
the allure of boy's-toys,
to turn your back on music, effects, gizmos,
- to flee ...

out into the open with camcorder in hand, into four dimensions (history, politics, theory, and practice), in search of our own material, from our experiences, relationships, and commitments to social justice. Mp:me is made visible through a camcorder femi-digi-praxis: a small, handheld, retro video aesthetic connected to a lengthy history of communal, low-budget, political and theoretical media production—media praxis—begun by truly great cinematographers, men with movie cameras, politics, and big ideas.

Mp:me simply (post)-modernizes and feminizes WE's foundational praxis.