(edited by) Geoff Cox, Tatiana Bazzichelli – Disrupting Business: art and activism in times of financial crisis (DATA browser 05)


Autonomedia, ISBN: 978-1570272646, English, 256 pages, 2013, USA

As a provocative but systemic reaction to the constraints of the economic crisis, cultural activists have conceived a number of their own counter-acts, which have materialised in theories, artworks, actions and productions. A radical approach has been always present in the DATA browser series (this is the 5th book), which started in 2004 with a specific editorial focus: editing anthologies of texts “at the intersection of culture and technology”. This latest volume fits perfectly with past editions and contains a remarkable collection of texts from a variegated typology of contributors; twenty researchers in total, mostly artists and philosophers familiar with new media art circles. Capitalist dynamics are addressed through the key element of language, considered both as a powerful tool of finance propaganda but also as a potentially lethal weapon against it. The cultural activists involved assume the role of active agents, while the artists can be easily recognised as subversive innovators, being relatively free to perform within the same system. Their platforms and actions are undermining established business values, forging different values and challenging even the most popular interfaces with the potential “commodification of everything,” as, for example crowdsourcing – one of its most influential examples. One of the goals of the book, to elaborate forms of language that could wreck the semiocapital, seems to have been accomplished: this is a functioning manual for disruptive innovation.