10 Terms and 3 Calls (August 23, 2007)
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
[ X ]
Origins of this content
This 2007 blog post is the second 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. Mediapraxis.org 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.

In "Media, Technology and Social Justice: How Do We Organize and Win? (Report)," the Center for International Media Action asks: "How can we counter trends of commercialism, privatization, decreasing public services and ongoing inequality? What would it take to get communities involved in media and community technology issues? Where are the opportunities for social justice in the media?"[cit]
These are the central terms related to media praxis and their related calls to action toward ThirdTube.

Marx. Those who make and control ideas make and control history. Cultural revolution is integral for social, political, and material transformation.

Access. A greater number of individuals from more diverse cross-sections of society need to make, see, and understand radical or expressive media.

Process. How you make and receive media is as important as the objects themselves.

Praxis: Thinking is less effective when it occurs in isolation from doing and without a stake in the world.

Technology. The machines we use affect what we can produce. But machines are never enough, as YouTube alone efficiently demonstrates. We also need:

Pedagogy. Also understood as a matter of access, it is always necessary to consider who is taught to be a media-maker—and with what orientation, skills, and values—and who is taught to be critical of the media, as well.

Producer: We need to expand the role of the artist/intellectual in society: who makes, when, what, and with which supports. This begs us to consider the difference between a politics of self-expression and that of cultural revolution.

Participant: What is the role of and who gets to be a viewer/critic, a participant, in media culture? Then, what is the role of emotion and identification?

Ethics: The lived power relations between humans that are mobilized by media production and reception are integral to its process and understanding.

Form. We are always debating: Do you need radical forms to convey revolutionary messages?

Calls to Action

1) Media praxis must integrate theory and practice with the local and global. A true femi-digi-praxis should lead and learn from conversations in real communities about the impacts, meanings, and power of the media. This should be done through site-specific and problem-based projects where we create solutions communally.

2) Working collaboratively and stressing and benefiting from the diversity of our approaches, training, experience, and positions leads to the best media praxis. We need to be brave enough to teach each other, to work past specialization, and to communicate in the variety of languages in which we are comfortable and trained.

3) We must model what we want to create: a media praxis supporting engaged citizens who participate in power sharing, or "creative democracy," radical pedagogy, ethical process, accountability, and social justice enacted through and about the media.