A question of Tactical Media’ drawn from David Garcia and Geert Lovink’s article ‘The ABC of Tactical Media’ (1997)

o Tactical media participate in events and aren’t impartial

o They aren’t restricted to alternative media. Tactical media ‘disrupts’ the “rigid dichotomies that have restricted thinking in this area” (Garcia et al.1997)

o Temporary connections to new media e.g. local TV, theatre, street demonstrations etc allow us to engage in contemporary politics

o “Tactical media can be defined as the appropriation of mass media hit-and-run tactics’ media campaigns which are often short-lived in nature… attempts to reverse the one-way-flow of communication and power and give some of the control back to the public.” (Tactical Media, 2008, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia, viewed 4th Oct)

The Media Hates Hillary

o What does this essentially mean for contemporary politics? Is this the new media that appears to be monopolising our consumption of news?

Tactical media as culturally influential

o “Symbolises a verite for the 90’s”– have we gone back to the hand-held cameras to appear more authentic, and consequently believable?

o Tactical media are media of “crisis, criticism and opposition”.

o “The identity politics, media critiques and theories of representation that become the foundation of much western tactical media are themselves in crisis” (Garcia et al.1997)

The Italian Media Jacking Movement

What defines Tactical media?

Information forums

Information forums

o First theorized and put into practice during the “Next 5 Minutes” festivals in the Netherlands in the early 90s” (Meikle 2002: 119)

o “Tactical Media practices are marked by an ongoing attempt to experiment with the dynamics of media dissemination of information, searching for the most effective way to bypass the obstacles created during the diffusion of such information, in order to reach an audience…can help activists attract the attention of the mainstream media, as well as…convey their message in a way that is intelligible to the audience. (http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/pattern.pl/public?pattern_id=740)

o Has as its typical heroes: “nomadic media warriors, pranksters, hackers, street rappers and camcorder kamikaze’s” (Garcia et al.1997)

o Tactical media’s way of thinking “are widely seen as carping and repressive remnants of an outmoded humanism” but are also described as a “qualified form of humanism” (Peter Lamborn Wilson)

o Would this suggest that tactical media is a qualified form of individual communicative action in terms of contemporary politics in particular?

So what does this mean for us?

o “Consumers use the texts and artefacts around us” tactically and in “far more creative and rebellious ways than had previously been imagined.” (Garcia et al.1997)

Krzysztof Wodiczko

Krzysztof Wodiczko

o Artist Krzysztof Wodiczko looked at the way that the weak make use of the strong in tactical media. The oppressors were “shown as becoming centreless, by moving fast across the physical or media and virtual landscapes”

o The “rebellious user” is defined as the consumer, and is seen as tactical. However the “presumptuous producer” is defined as the revolutionary and is seen as strategic. Both these roles are important when defining tactical media, which often leads to effective communicative action.

o An “awareness of the tactical/strategic dichotomy” as a class of “producers who make the creation of spaces, channels and platforms central to the practice of tactical media”

Creative action?

o Tactical media are based on mobility in the “vast media landscape without betraying their original motivations”

o “reproducing and recombining information and media, mixing physical productions such as street happenings and public art with parodies of corporate and government communication products, borrowing language and formats to recast business and political messages” (http://networkedpublics.org/tactical_media)

o Government communication products, borrowing language and formats to recast business and political messages (http://networkedpublics.org/tactical_media)

o The ‘Agencies’ based in Barcelona project, “YOMANGO,” “combines guerrilla communication, culture jamming, civil disobedience, and corporate sabotage.



o San Precario attempted for creative as well as communicative action through appropriating religious tradition with processions and marches which had contemporary meaning for today’s workers and “functions as a rhetorical device to move into the public awareness of the changes in the conditions and forms of work” and consequently having influence on contemporary politics.

o Stephen Duncombe argues that protests are merely a strategic and tactical myth employed by the media to guarantee the involvement of large numbers of people in “trying to work out a new society”.

o “Spaces to plan not just improvise and the possibility of capitalising on acquired advantages, has always been the preserve of strategic media” (Garcia et al.1997)

Some food for thought.

o http://www.guerrillagirls.com/ – reinventing the ‘f’ word: feminism

o http://www.bewareofthegod.com/?cat=1 – “musing upon the impacts and aspirations of religious literalists in the public sphere”

o http://www.getup.org.au/about/holding politicians accountable on important issues.

o http://www.theyesmen.org/


-Duncombe, S. ‘Politics in an Age of Fantasy’, in Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, New York and London, The New Press, 1-27, 184-191

-Garcia, D; Lovink, G. 1997, The ABC of Tactical Media’ available at www.sarai.net/resources/event-proceedings/2002/tactical-media-lab/abc_tactical.PDF

-Meikle, G. 2002, Future Active, Routledge

-Tari, Marcello; Vanni, Illaria. 2005, ‘The Life and Deed of San Precario, Patron Saints of Precarious Workers and Lives’, in Fibreculture Journal, Fibreculture Publications (Iss 5), available at http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue5/vanni_tari.html

Tactical Media, 2008, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, viewed 4th Oct

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=vmM2j8P55SA&feature=related, viewed 4th Oct

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvmdh6TOeHM, viewed 4th Oct

http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/pattern.pl/public?pattern_id=740, viewed 4th Oct

http://networkedpublics.org/tactical_media, viewed 4th Oct

www.globalannenberg.com/images/uploads/juris.edgehill.infotopics.doc, viewed 4th Oct

http://www.guerrillagirls.com/, viewed 6th Oct

http://www.bewareofthegod.com/?cat=1, viewed 6th Oct

http://www.getup.org.au/about/, viewed 6th Oct

http://www.theyesmen.org/ , viewed 6th Oct


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