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Tactical Media

2009
Author:

Rita Raley

Tactical Media

The first book to focus exclusively on the tactics and goals of new media art activists

Tactical media describes interventionist media art practices that engage and critique the dominant political and economic order. Rather than taking to the streets, the practitioners of tactical media engage in an aesthetic politics of disruption, intervention, and education. In Tactical Media, Rita Raley provides a critical exploration of the new media art activism that has emerged out of, and in direct response to, postindustrialism and neoliberal globalization.

Tactical Media is smart, original, well-grounded in the field, and a pleasure to read. It is everything a book should be.

Alexander R. Galloway, New York University

Tactical media describes interventionist media art practices that engage and critique the dominant political and economic order. Rather than taking to the streets and staging spectacular protests, the practitioners of tactical media engage in an aesthetic politics of disruption, intervention, and education. From They Rule, an interactive map of the myriad connections between the world’s corporate and political elite created by Josh On and Futurefarmers, to Black Shoals, a financial market visualization that is intended to be both aesthetically and politically disruptive, they embrace a broad range of oppositional practices.

In Tactical Media, Rita Raley provides a critical exploration of the new media art activism that has emerged out of, and in direct response to, postindustrialism and neoliberal globalization. Through close readings of projects by the DoEAT group, the Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Civil Disobedience, and other tactical media groups, she articulates their divergent methods and goals and locates a virtuosity that is also boldly political. Contemporary models of resistance and dissent, she finds, mimic the decentralized and virtual operations of global capital and the post-9/11 security state to exploit and undermine the system from within.

Emphasizing the profound shift from strategy to tactics that informs new media art-activism, Raley assesses the efficacy of its symbolic performances, gamings, visualizations, and hacks. With its cogent analyses of new media art and its social impact, Tactical Media makes a timely and much needed contribution to wider debates about political activism, contemporary art, and digital technology.

Tactical Media

Rita Raley is associate professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tactical Media

Tactical Media is smart, original, well-grounded in the field, and a pleasure to read. It is everything a book should be.

Alexander R. Galloway, New York University

Tactical Media contains many insightful and illuminating moments.

Afterimages

Raley’s survey of tactical media is an important and timely contribution to digital media studies as scholars, artists, and activists work to understand the future of progressive politics.

Digital Culture and Education

The work is a timely contribution to wider debates about political activism, contemporary art, and digital technology.

Public Art Review

Tactical Media is a fascinating text and an incredibly rich resource of discussions and case studies of tactical media.

Media, Culture & Society

Original and wide-ranging.

Technology and Culture

Theoretically sophisticated, well argued, and full of compelling examples, Raley’s book is a pleasure to read and a valuable addition to work on new media and critical theory.

Criticism