edited by Annmarie Chandler and Norie Neumark – At a Distance : Precursors to Art and Activism on the Internet

Annmarie Chandler

book – The MIT Press – ISBN 0262033283
The ‘media activism’ was born well before the telematic networks and it has manipulated the media, first the electric and then the electronic one, with the same artfulness that now is celebrated in the best real time online actions, and quickly contaminating the art world also. This text tries to map out, in a collection of essays, a partial history of the collaborativepractices that involved network of artists distant in space or time. From satellite alternative television channels to the ethereal mail-art postal networks, the strategies that have targeted the mediatic mechanisms are a precious resource for the activist actions for two reasons: for demonstrating the feasibility of the projects, and for the accumulation of ideas able to effectively intervene in the pervasive outline of the mediatic corporations. This cross-section relates, with a few exceptions, U.S. works (mostly from the Bay area), that have to be contextualized in the subtle and fragile balance between the freedom of expression (1st amendment) and the sacral capital dogma. The many contemporary european practices from the numerous mediatic fake for manipulating the mainstream press (like the famous Italian Modigliani fake) to the Amsterdam pirate tv and radio in the eighties, would deserve the same documentation, to counterbalance a prolific production of overseas texts, that could blur many approaches and concepts as much important.