Why does reality exist only when framed by a powerful TV network? Why is the course of events affected by the evening news? Collective imagery is not affected by the video evolution of mass technologies only, but also by the natural instincts of human kind. As what Aristotle called a “political animal”, the human being is inclined to set up collective narratives which represent the instinct of belonging to a kind. Let’s call them animal narratives. For this reason television is a “natural” medium, because it responds to the need of creating one narrative for millions of people, a single animal narrative for entire nations, similar to what other narrative genres, such as myths, epics and religious scriptures, did and still do. Television represents, above all else, the primordial feeling of belonging to one Kind.
War violence allows us to believe again in images of everyday life and images of the body – as well as advertising images. War is an imagery reset.
War has the ‘positive’ effect of redelivering us to ‘radical’ thought, to the political responsibility of representation, against the interpretative flights of the “weak thought” of semiotics and postmodernism.
Radical images are images that are still capable of being political, in the strong sense of the word, and they can have an impact on the masses that is simultaneously political, aesthetic and carnal.
How can we make an intelligent use of television? The first intelligent reaction is to switch it off. Activist collectives such as Adbusters.org (Canada) and Esterni.org (Italy) organise yearly TV strikes, promoting a day or a week’s abstinence from television. Can Western society think without television? It cannot. Even if we were to stop watching TV because of a worldwide blackout or a nuclear war, our imagery, hopes and fears would carry on thinking within a televised brainframe. This is not about addiction; the video is simply our primary collective language, just as once upon a time there were religion, mythology, epic and literature. We can repress the ritual (watching TV) but we cannot repress the myth. We can switch television off, but not our imagery.
For this reason, the idea of an autonomous videopoesis is not about alternative information but about new mythical devices for the collective imagery. In its search for the Perfect Image – the image that is capable of stopping the War, subverting Empire and starting the Revolution – the global movement has theorised and practiced video activism (from Indymedia to street TVs) and mythopoesis (from Luther Blissett to San Precario.
War porn issues a challenge to the movement: not to try and equal the horror but to produce images that target and awaken the sleepy body.
Watching cruel images is good for you. What the Western world needs is to stare at its own shadows.
If American imagery permits the drift towards fascism and offers an apology and justification for any kind of violence, our response can only be one of resistance and action, i.e., warpunk.
Warpunk uses warporn in a tragic way to overcome the self-censorship of Western counter- culture.
Warpunk is a squadron of B52s throwing libidinal bombs and radical images into the heart of the Western imagery.
Warporn Warpunk by Matteo Pasquinelli