USA TODAY – An Event-Logic of the American Avant-Garde

USA TODAY – An Event-Logic of the Recent American Avant-Garde

 [this is section 3/3 of a longer essay entitled “Aucun retour possible – Towards an Event-Logic of the Avant-Garde”: in Transferts, appropriations et fonctions de l’avant-garde , Cahiers de la Nouvelle Europe no. 16, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2012. :

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La révolution, comme la vie qu’elle annonce, est à réinventer.

Just as the avant-garde story resurges in unexpected activations, like Lettrism in Paris in 1945, so it returns in all-too-familiar defeats and the traumatic collapse of prospects. After some years of knock-on, the revolutionary openness of post-’68 situations in Europe and America closed down again. The fight to keep things open led vanguard formations in some places (Red Brigades, Baader Meinhof, Weather Underground) to violence and compounded the simple trauma of defeat with their own deep moral implication in the resulting demise of liberatory struggles. The eclipse of revolutionary prospects, and hence of avant-garde action, was longer and deeper because of this. But it was never total, as it wasn’t even after tragic events in the 20’s and 30’s. Threads are kept because people live that long, and because systems of oppression continue to be felt.

Aside from very directly interested parties, the Lettrist/Situations story remained largely unknown outside of France, even to art historians of that general era and to otherwise fans of the avant-garde. In general, discussion of the avant-garde went on in the mode of its overness (e.g. bürger)[1], or of its recuperated still-goingness (e.g. foster).[2] Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried et al. had for decades operated a brilliant machine of avant-gardish discourse utterly ignoring all repudiations of their field of study coming from central figures of that field of study. Forward positioning on a front of formal innovation was all the avant-grade these career critics needed, and there would always be plenty of that. “Avant-garde” found so much continued employment in its first and second senses, enshrining the historical moment and milking new art styles, that there could be generalized amnesia or ridicule of its third sense, which declares the first two void without it. This third sense is the radical sense (but mainstream to the historical avant-garde) that avant-garde means forward on a front of revolutionary struggle. Demonstrably not forward on a front of struggle, or positioning in a struggle with no eye to revolution, is not avant-garde, says a core tradition of voices from the generally-accepted, widely-loved, historical avant-garde.

So on top of the collapse of revolutionary and avant-garde prospects during the 1970’s was the defeat-encrustation of a discourse that voided the revolutionary in discussions of revolutionary art. This happened for reasons. The defeat of hopes aroused in the late 60’s and early 70’s installed both the brutal de facto of uncontestable free market capital and the academic invalidation of “totalizing” notions wherever they occurred, in “master narratives”, theories of revolution, any plan of escape. Anti-communist jingoism in the United States (still alive and well today) saw direct persecution of socialist and anarchist thinkers, and subtle but effective suppressions within the historical narrative as taught at school and in universities. The notion that revolution can only instill a new domination became commonplace, and dead-ended all chains of thought towards change. TINA, Thatcher’s famous slogan gloating over the defeat of the left in Britain, “There Is No Alternative”, was by the 1990’s widely internalized by the most forward artists, not to mention the general population. This is Hakim Bey in 1991:

The slogan “Revolution!” has mutated from tocsin to toxin, a malign pseudo-Gnostic fate-trap, a nightmare where no matter how we struggle we never escape that evil Aeon, that incubus the State, one State after another, every “heaven” ruled by yet one more evil angel.[3]

Bey’s project of the TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone), has roots in the DADA-Surrealist-situationist cycle, but was anti-avant-gardist in the sense that it denied all prospects for revolution, and located its actions precisely off the front of struggle with prevailing conditions, in a zone overlooked because it is a gap in the grid. Burning Man may be the best it gets.

Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), who in the 90’s advanced a more developed critique and pursued a more committed search for possible fronts of engagement, nevertheless had a similarly defeatist assessment. Famously, they also diagnosed the moment as holding no potential for revolution,[4] and in particular saw no prospects for effective action in the streets:

CAE has said it before, and we will say it again: as far as power is concerned, the streets are dead capital! Nothing of value to the power elite can be found on the streets, nor does this class need control of the streets to efficiently run and maintain state institutions.[5]

The “Electronic Civil Disobedience” they advocated instead identified the internet and information infrastructure as points of engagement where enough leverage could be exerted to mount a viable struggle with the state and capital. More directly engaged with the situationist legacy than Bey (who cribs psychogeography in his formulation “the psychotopology of everyday life”), CAE’s viewpoint can be understood as an attempt to adapt thinking on resistant cultural action to the society of the spectacle analysis, updated for a more advanced stage of technocratic empowerment that the situationists had seen coming. The information&media layer is seen as primary in a radical orienteering that believes the geographic layer to have become inoperable. But also that believes revolution to be now impossible: “After two centuries of revolution and near-revolution, one historical lesson continually appears—authoritarian structure cannot be smashed; it can only be resisted.”[6] Where Bey replaces revolution with the non-confrontational uprising of a TAZ, CAE lowers its aims to disturbance, and shifts the front of struggle to the digital plane:

Addendum: The New Avant-Garde

CAE fears that some of our readers might be getting a bit squeamish about the use of the term “avant-garde” in the above essay. After all, an avalanche of literature from very fine 2postmodern critics has for the past two decades consistently told us that the avant-garde is dead and has been placed in a suitable resting plot in the Modernist cemetery alongside its siblings, originality and the author. In the case of the avant-garde however, perhaps a magic elixir exists that can reanimate its corpse.

Then what kind of group configuration will gain the most far-ranging results, in terms of disturbing the political/cultural landscape? This is the question the CAE tried to answer in this essay. To repeat: cellular constructions aimed at information disruption in cyberspace. The problem is access.[7]

The defeatism of these decades did not prevent a good number of groups from pushing ahead with the pursuit of effective avant-garde engagement, though the push was not always forward. A number of journals had sprung up in the 60’s and 70’s either inspired by L’Internationale Situationniste or joining in the intensified dialogue of that period, and others continued it into and through the great lull of the 1980’s. In the 60’s there was Spur in Munich, The Situationist Times from London, Drakabygget and Situationistisk Revolution in Denmark, provo in Amsterdam, Subversive Aktion’s Anschlag in Germany, Black Mask in New York, The Rebel Worker out of Chicago, then Heatwave and King Mob Echo in London. Between 1970 and 1989 the Chicago Surrealists published four issues of Arsenal. From Bremen there were three numbers of Neues Lotes Folum between 1975 and ’78, and, more consistently, the Berlin-based Unter dem pflaster liegt der strand ran between 1974 and 1985, fading over this time from a probing anarchism to new age esotericism. In London the punk anarchist collective behind Class War published from 1983 through to 1997, quitting then, unable to move beyond “smash the rich” as their tactical platform.

Even where the theorizing slowed or scattered or stalled, certain practices had taken root in the wider avant-garde imagination or were reappearing there spontaneously through the 70’s and 80’s. In particular détournement, the one practice never repudiated by the situationists, underwent a remarkable evolution. Just looking at the American scene, there was the Billboard Liberation Front (BLF) in San Francisco, who from ‘77 waged classic campaigns subverting billboard messages.[8] Starting in the 80’s there were the Guerilla Girls[9], and Ron English.[10] And since ’89 there has been Adbusters, promoting anarchism-lite, anti-consumerism and détournement in the pages of its high-gloss magazine available on commercial newstands.[11] In the 90’s, ®TMark[12] brought potentials to a new level with their online clearinghouse for funding and inspiring acts of creative sabotage, like those of the Barbie Liberation Organization. Then in the 2000’s the Yes Men became celebrities with their “identity correction” stunts, involving detourned websites and spoof speaker appearances at industry conferences and press events.[13]

By the 1990’s situationist ideas were clearly on the comeback, as were ambitious undertakings of many kinds. Objective conditions had evolved to the point where theory of the spectacle was nearly self-evident to anyone with a little self-reflection growing up on mass media, and the privatization of public space had advanced to a point where principles of critical “unitary” urbanism came up spontaneously in neighborhood anti-gentrification organizing and in larger movements like Reclaim the Streets. Behind these developments were the steadily converging experiences of many dispersed issue movements, from feminism to environmentalism to anti-nuke to AIDS activism to Black power to antifa and anti- or alter-globalization, all of which began to see a common enemy in the anti-democratic hegemonies of internationalized capital. Here again, in the wealthier parts of Europe and North American, a front of opposition was emerging to the global state of affairs. When marchers in Seattle, having found common cause against corporate globalization agendas, managed to shut down the 1999 WTO ministerial meetings, dealing a humiliating, concrete setback to the agents of pan-capitalist integration, the defeatism and impotence that had fogged resistant activism for decades seemed to lift. A new wave of effort and engagement was stimulated, drawing on already rich currents of cultural practice and a long history of avant-gardism, whether explicitly known or not.

One fruit of this reprise d’armes, this clearing of despair, and one venue for the discussion of revolutionary tactics and strategy going forward was the Journal of Aesthetics and protest, begun in L.A. in 2000. The field they were starting from, who started the JOAAp, was one of cultural production reconfigured along the lines of updated critiques; critiques of art and critiques of political action. Failures of revolutionary ideology, failures of specific figures or formations (including Debord and the SI), failures of whole categories of engagement (e.g. the street, e.g. the white male leader) were acknowledged and being integrated. New models from Latin America and other third world struggles were informing new approaches, approaches informed also by the analyses of feminism and minority struggles, and supplied with the anti-hierarchical organizing know-how of generations of anarchists. After 1999, revolution in the heart of the West was not as patently unthinkable as it had seemed in the 80’s, though still it was a fool’s mission to think it. For many, JOAAp and the direct action networks proofed in Seattle, were a way to think it.

Staffed by creators critical of art, the journal accepted at the outset a collapse of practices the avant-garde event logic declared inevitable, “the collapse of political and aesthetic practices into the singular field of “media” as a function of globalization.”[14] It is a collapse the SI had announced, when Debord wrote of the “civil-war phase” in which “all known means of expression [would] converge in a general movement of propaganda.” And it is a collapse whose recognition is determinant for avant-garde positioning, in an era that already has this threshold behind it. In the conversation they helped restart, designations like “cultural producer”, “cultural activist”, and “artivist” emerged to escape the deadening reach of words like “art” and “artist”. In the field of cultural action JOAAp served in the early 2000’s, “tactical media” emerged as perhaps the most compelling new term, most promising in its focalizing of new forms of engagement.[15]

Writing in JOAAp showed that the avant-gardism that was being reframed needed first to be reclaimed. George Katsiaficas’ article in issue 3, from June of 2004, takes the task of restoring a lost memory of the avant-garde. His piece, “Aesthetic and political Avant-Gardes”[16], attempts the double recovery of retelling modern art history with the radical politics reinserted, and of tracing the arc of avant-gardism beyond its usual terminations in the early 20th Century. While valuable and attentive, his account shows the thin spots in the state of knowledge. Katsiaficas’ account presents a very blurred view of the mid-century movements, bundling provos, situationists and Subversive Aktion into a single sentence with no commentary, and giving Fluxus unmerited credit as an influence. His tracing of the “contemporary avant-gardes” leaves off with the Yippies, and a word on May 68. The “now” chapter of avant-gardism seemed still to need writing.

If front formation can be observed in the field of cultural struggle dating from Seattle, the front that formed there was nearly instantly neutralized, flash-frozen in the political lock-down of 9-11. While a broad global movement had taken shape in response to neoliberal globalization, with summit-hopping protest actions and processes like the World Social Forum making headway, from September 12 it was clear the state and capital had just massively strengthened the hand they would be using to deal with civilian dissent from now on. Resistant production, critical engagement, tactical actions all sought footing in a field warped under the constant magnetic violence and bureaucratic despotism of the word “terrorism”. The anti-war effort brought millions of people together in coordinated actions around the world, and forged important bonds, but effectively captured the thrust of this solidarity in spectacular gestures of protest whose forms were conventional and whose focus was mandated by the perpetrators. Once again, anti-war mobilization proved an effective diversion from radical agitation against the underlying conditions.

One obstacle to opening a genuinely revolutionary front of cultural action in this period was the lack of a viable revolutionary subjectivity within which large numbers could understand themselves as co-agents in a unified movement. Common-notion thinking on mass social change, especially in the United States from whose children much has been hidden, is still hampered with the deadness of 19th Century concepts and the toxicity of their 1950’s vilifications. Who stands with the proletariat? Who is the proletariat, Dude, some cop in Terminator 2, or are you some kind of communist? The French coinage, “precariat”, and Hardt and Negri’s “multitude”, from their 2000 bestseller Empire, emerged to partly and provisionally fill this gap, but it was not just a word that was needed. Rather, intuitive, lived identifications were lacking that could locate majoritary experience in clear opposition to the minoritary, in fact oligarchic, formations that rule things to the majority’s detriment. After a couple generations of atomized identity politics and postmodern critical theory, never mind the external assaults of McCarthyism or the neo-liberal consensus, unifying frames like “the proletariat” or “the working class” were near useless, and labels of distinction such as “vanguard” deeply suspect. Indeed, this situation rendered the notion “avant-garde” itself nearly unuseable, just as a resurgent radical politics was again finding it indispensible.

New experiences, new values, and ripened modes of social awareness were forcing the gestation of new senses-of-self for the kind of spread-out identities we take in this world, differently figured options for identifying in collectivity and towards social change. Guattari and Negri put it this way in Les nouveaux éspaces de liberté, which in the early 1980’s was their search in darkness for the front, processing the histories and assessing the field, at a moment when Negri was still in jail for his involvement in the Autonomia movement, and the revolutionary was everywhere in retreat:

Dans ces conditions, l’organisation des nouveaux agencements prolétaires ne saurait concerner qu’une pluralité de rapports au sein d’une multiplicité de singularités – pluralité focalisée sur des fonctions et des objectifs collectifs échappant aux contrôles et aux surcodages bureaucratiques, dans la mesure où elle se développe précisément dans le sens d’une optimisation des processus de singularités concernés. Ce qui est donc en cause ici, c’est un multicentralisme fonctionel capable, d’une part, de s’articuler aux dimensions diverses de l’intellection sociale et, d’autre part, de neutraliser activement la puissance destructrice des agencements capitalistiques. Telle est la première caractérisation positive de la nouvelle subjectivité révolutionnaire. Ses dimensions coopératives, plurielles, anti-centraliste, anti-corporatiste, anti-raciste, anti-sexiste…exacerbent la capacité des singularités. C’est seulement de cette façon et uniquement dans le registre de ces qualifications, que les luttes prolétaires pourront reconstituer des fronts de lutte cohérents et efficaces.[17]

The search for functional multicentralisms characterized much of the effort of advanced formations seeking a mode of cultural action that could impact potentials for a major change. One very robust symptom of this development boiled up in Chicago, in the heart of the Bush years, in a particularly intense season of grouping and actions from about 2000 to 2005. Brought together toward the end of this period in a printing called “Trashing the Neoliberal City: Autonomous Cultural practices in Chicago from 2000-2005”[18], the activities show a uniquely dispersed mode of occurrence. Not the serial production of an artist or art group, not a specifiable movement shared semi-formally by different artists/projects that have joined it, more like a fad or a rash, an occasional festival, citywide, over several years, in insurgent actions on multiple fronts, with overlapping focus and cumulative impacts. Emily Forman, Daniel Tucker, Nato Thompson, Josh Macphee and the late Dara Greenwald were among those involved in the activities. But artist and group identities were often purposefully discarded in the process of these events, either by sharing the con-subjectivity of collective production and authorship, or by disbanding or shedding an established group identity on the verge of it becoming a brand or losing its relevance. Under project names like “Counterproductive Industries”, “The Department of Space and Land Reclamation”, “Autonomous Territories of Chicago”, “Feel Tank”, “Artists Against Artist Housing” and “pink Bloc”, a wide range of individuals involving broad networks and diverse communities joined in actions addressed to a reception outside the art context, and targetting agitation on the conditions of life under neoliberal globalization. Many of the projects originated in anti-gentrification activism, and many could be described as “self-organized attempts to create alternative public spheres through the reinvention of protest and the creation of other spaces for democratic convergence.”[19]

These projects in Chicago, like the period they speak of more globally, show a ripening critique of current conditions approaching a total critique, together with a maturing of the group form to function more non-hierarchically, or multi-centrally, more positively prefigurative of the alternative social order its members desire. They show that, post-Seattle, the streets are in fact alive and ripe for agitational engagement, even if taking space today is first of all effective as an informational act, as itself a media disturbance.[20] They display a new confidence that the contradictions in advanced capital can be made clear and denounced, and an engageable front established against prevailing conditions. Methods of legislative contestation, media preemption, community organizing, critical urbanism and creative direct action merged in a scatter-plot of positionings, collectively, cumulatively avant-garde. What was missing was the revolution.

2011 brought news. December, Tunisia. January, Egypt. February, 100,000 protesters take the Wisconsin state capital. Athens already in revolt since 2010, and on May 15 Spaniards took the puerta del Sol. Then on September 17th, New York: students and activists seized a semi-public square near Wall Street, set up a commune, and had a situation. For months. On October 15, Occupy Wall Street and the Indignados invited the rest of the world to join them in a global day of action, launching hundreds of more encampments around the world. By November, there were nearly 800. [21] A model of radical, spontaneous grassroots activation, based in direct democratic decision making and the reappropriation of space for civic use, had been hatched and propagated on a broad, international scale. Issues were forced into the public debate, and onto the table in local and national elections and policy fights, that had been invisible and unspeakable before, issues going to the heart of how global power is organized. Huge numbers of people suddenly, intuitively identified with a powerful collective designation, “the 99%”, pitting them against the oligarchic financial elites. And on the streets there was strength in numbers like hadn’t been seen in 70 or 80 years: activists and labor unions successfully shut down ports all up and down the pacific Coast, and Oakland hosted the first general strike in the US since 1946. By winter most occupations in the US and Europe had been evicted, but groups remained active, proliferating initiatives in many directions and in many places, and coordinating internationally towards intensified efforts in the Spring.

So, who was there? I mean, from the avant-garde. If the front is a party, who showed up? Well, disproving the many convincing arguments for their irrelevance, Adbusters was there; a little hilariously, since they had been trying for decades. The veteran post-situationist start-up did in fact, with a simple poster and a lot of timing, manage to spark a rebellion. And its membership has since been involved directly in the General Assembly process, and from without, devoting much of its print and online publishing to the movement, with regular “tactical briefings” issued in rather classic avant-garde form, though with a soft, West-Coast touch.

The street artists were there. Shepherd Fairey famously remade his Obama Hope poster to say Occupy. Banksy showed up, at Occupy London, though oddly with a piece that made you feel like you were in a museum. Reverend Billy was there, in New York, and London, too. The crowds were happy to have a familiar face. The Tactical Magic Ice Cream Unit[22] was there; I saw them on livestream[23] on the day of the Oakland General Strike. The Yes Men were there. They started the Occupied Wall Street Journal, using internet self-funding and volunteered talents, and later launched Josh Macphee was there, from the start, with his posters and the Just Seeds collective, and other cultural producers related through JOAAp, the Chicago projects, Seattle, the Social Forum process and many kindred networks.

“Occupy Hope” Shepard Fairey, Nov. 2011. “Money Talks Too Much”, Josh Macphee, Sept. 2011.

Was CAE there? Certainly their ideas were in the knowledge bank; their thinking on tactics and organization.[24] And certainly Anonymous was there, the most notorious and high-profile manifestation of the “electronic civil disobedience” CAE had been expecting. Anonymous, in fact, shows up as one of the most compelling, if not most significant, spectacles of revolutionary cultural action in this moment. Occupying the multicentral moment among many others, Anonymous lent its weight to Occupy, and borrowed its grandeur; where the “they” here indicates a memic network identity with a coordinating core within a self-organizing, open membership. Their actions learned a purpose in the movement as it gathered, though their directions within it have been their own. As cultural action, what Anonymous launched was a viral campaign romance of insurrectionary heroism, Robin Hood Zorro in a Guy Fawkes mask, calls to rise up hacked into the graphics segue of a primetime newscast, anyone in a mask and a computerized voiceover speaking with moral authority in everyone’s name, anonymous. The group’s slick video missives, with state-of-the-art production elements, make quality the main guess of authorship, though in reality anyone could be behind them. The meme of complete horizontality in the form of a single ubiquitous mask-identity captures a widespread tension in this revolutionary moment. The promise that everyone is included already, combined with the nervousness about who you’ll meet when you finally go down there.

The role Anonymous took, with its video posts, was that of relaying the call, focalizing revolutionary identification, providing an amount of credible (digital) threat, and pushing <<plus loin!>> when there was any question as to “How far?” In the best instances the anonymous producers do it with a skill in scriptwriting and delivery that restores poetry to the revolution, while the many worse instances give a needle-in-the-haystack, hall-of-mirrors kind of feel to the search for the “real” ones. The poetry here, one style of revolution emerging, keeps the SI in mind as a key point of orientation. Allure and seduction are vital skills of rhetoric pressed into civil (revolutionary) service. Crimethinc is another collective that mobilizes behind an aesthetically high-tuned production, and a cranked-up rhetoric of situationist seduction. And they were there, too, in 2011, particularly identified with Occupy Oakland and West Coast groups.

Of all these, which brand or strategy, which artist or activisit, or which balance of the two, should we count as avant-garde, and which not – this is not a useful question. What is being fought for, where is the front of struggle, how to join it, who else is there and which ways are forward, – these are useful questions. The word avant-garde, the artworld accounting behind the word, can usefully be forgotten in favor of the activations that give or update its meaning. Where? not What? should be the form of any thinking spent on the avant-garde, in days like these when clearly there are options for taking part. During the occupation of Zucotti park, one clear answer to Where? was the Direct Action working group. Acknowledged in the reporting to play a more leading role than other working groups in this “leaderless revolution”, the Direct Action working group was the germ center for much of what would happen as OWS. The march on the Brooklyn Bridge, actions at banks, anti-foreclosure actions, the events that would make OWS known to people and bring the most immediate of its impacts were decided by brainstorming, critique and consensus in a group made up of volunteers and reporting to the General Assembly. The production of these events, in collaboration with chance and the momenta of current history, and the tactical media management that helps the meaning of these events hit home, these are assignments that have fallen to the avant-garde since the times of Constructivism and DADA. Requiring divergent skill and knowledge sets, the job drew artists, activists, organizers, publicists, theorists, technicians, and more into an event-based process of co-authoring history. What was constituted was an avant-garde de facto, a front line of cultural production with revolutionary ambitions, mixed in among the reformist ones. But an avant-garde up-to-date, one of many, non-hegemonic, one center in a multicentralism striving to be functional in the name of changing everything, together.

.   .      .

Inherent in the notion of an avant-garde is the irreversibility of its gauge of positioning. The vector of a cultural effort need be neither straight nor singular nor without setbacks for this to be asserted: to occupy a position once surpassed is to not be avant-garde.

Il n’y a, pour des revolutionnaires, de possible retour en arrière.

It is stunning the degree to which this is disregarded by fans.

The avant-garde in this accounting of it, essentially an evolving terrain of claims of front-line positioning, is no corpse, as the art is that once embodied it. It is alive, and here, whatever you think of its chances. It is an actuality, constituted of movements and actions, now, where you can join it, and why don’t you? In tracing it all the way from Zurich to Zucotti park, from DADA through the SI and into our now where alone the notion can matter, without ever dropping its actuality, we put the lie to Bürger’s memorialism – showing that the show has gone on – and dismiss Hal Foster’s reframing as irrelevant to the actual avant-garde, which, neo or not, has gone on where he has not, outside the market academy of bourgeois art. To Bürger’s “only Berlin” Foster rejoins, “But Rauschenberg, and Andrea Fraser”. This is ridiculous, but it isn’t DADA. Because they meant it when they said it. “DADA stands on the side of the revolutionary proletariat.” We are the 99%. And the 99% is the avant-garde. Come on down Hal Foster, this is world revolution and the price is right!

[1] peter Burger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, tr. Michael Shaw, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota press, 1984.

[2] Hal Foster, “What’s Neo about the Neo-Avant-Garde?” in The Return of the Real: the Avant-Garde at the End of the Century, Cambridge: MIT press, 1996.

[3] Hakim Bey, T.A.Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, poetic Terrorism, New York: Autonomedia, 1991 (1st 1985), p.99.

[4] For a detailed treatment and qualification of this point, see Gene Ray, “Art Schools Burning and Other Songs of Love and War”, Left Curve #30, Oakland 2006. Online at

[5] Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Civil Disobedience and other Unpopular Ideas, New York: Autonomedia, 1996, p.11.

[6] ECD, p.24

[7] ECD, p.27-8.







[14] Former editorial statement on the website, since removed,

[15] For a good view into the emergence of this discourse, see the website of Next 5 Minutes, the International Festival of Tactical Media, begun in1993. Essays from their last conference in 2003 can be found here:

[16] George Katsiaficas, “Aesthetic and political Avant-Gardes”, Journal of Aesthetics and protest #3, June 2004. Online at

[17] Felix Guattari and Antonio Negri, Les Nouveaux éspaces de liberté (orig. 1985 Éditions D. Bedou), Fécamp: Nouvelles Éditions Lignes, 2010, p.108-9.

[18] Trashing the Neoliberal City: Autonomous Cultural practices in Chicago from 2000-2005, eds. Emily Forman and Daniel Tucker, Learning Site, Copenhagen, 2007. Online at:

[19] Trashing, p.3.

[20] In this, current experience confrims a principle expressed by the SI; here Raoul Vaneigem: “Urbanism and information are complementary in capitalist and <anti-capitalist> societies; they organize the silence.” Raoul Vaneigem, <<Commentaires contre l’urbanisme>>, Internationale Situationniste #6, August 1961, p 34.

[21] This database posted on October 18th in Scoop.It! documents 766 occupations as reported in mainstream sources:


[23]Global Revolutions was the place to go for livestream coverage early on in the occupations movement. Tim poole’s coverage became very important later, and has continued at

[24] E.g. in Digital Resistance: Explorations in Tactical Media