[ Graffitti Research Lab tagging the NSA - Verizon "merger" in NYC following the Congress' amendment to FISA Act on July 9th, expanding Prez Bush's demand for expanded eavesdropping authority. Full Story. ]
Latest news regarding GRL is that co-founder James Powderly is one of The Beijing Six, now being held in custody in China. From the ANAT ( Australian Network for Art and Technology) press release:
“Using an updated version of the L.A.S.E.R. Tag system … James had planned to “project the message ‘Free Tibet’ and additional messages that would have been three-stories high” said colleague Nathan Dorjeee.
Reports state James and his associates were detained before they were able to use the stencil, although a ‘Free Tibet’ banner was later displayed briefly by five other American artists before they too were detained.”
The Beijing 6 site is quick to point out that “Americans get 10 days jail, Chinese grannies get one year forced labor, and Tibetans get shot” where protests are concerned. Given that Powderly’s actions are quite a spectacular and tactical art of free speech, there’s a chance to focus new attention on the situations in China and Tibet, particularly throughout the art world. Media coverage includes NY Times, Boing Boing, and Democracy Now.
Being a pioneering lab for high-tech culture jams and tactical media should prove to be like stepping on a hornets’ nest for authoritarian regimes, and GRL has already taken some quick steps to use the showdown as a means to project the issues through the internet.
YOU CAN USE Web banners for freeing the Bejing 6 here and more general: Students For A Free Tibet and Freedom for Tibetans (see fotos) and pic below. And updates on Powderly and crew are provided by Free Art And Technology (FAT).
But this is just a primer for a far deeper examination obviously beyond just these six Americans (and eye-candy laser beams) and for pushing the information AND the action further. A difficult task with the speed of the internet info flow, where something, usually in juicy visuals, blips on the radar one day and is gone the next. It will take a widening participatory effort and various new angles of persistence… and tangibility.
As Naomi Klein’s article recently revealed the Olympics are being used to unveil Police State 2.0, which is a transnational collaboration. Perhaps the news which can be more UTILIZED by US as PRAXIS CREATIVES, is that it appears that the activist+art world will also be making it a test site of our own. For, shall we call it : Global Citizen Solidarity is Everywhere and On The Rise! … And UNCONTAINABLE! Nor does the movement end simply cause the Olympic showtime comes to end.
Free the Beijing Six … and the 5.4 Million Tibetans! ( population # based on wikipedia Tibet entry). Now, how do we takes these memes* outside the virtual box!? And even beyond the region of the Himalayas, beyond China, similar perhaps in the way the Zapatista’s story becomes an inspiration, a model and part of the peoples’ toolbox around the world ?!
Having just re-read a very abridged Wikipedia entry on Tibetan history, there are claims that between the 1960s and 1980s, as many as ONE MILLION Tibetans were sent to labor camps. Some kind of Truth and Reconciliation between China and Tibet is inevitable and long overdue. And it now becomes increasingly important to spread both the history and the repression occurring today beneath this massive PR campaign through which China attempts to pump their sterilized Spectacle, and their version of what the prototype Future City and State should become.
And beyond news, sport, spectacle, and counter-spectacle, what might we do to set the stage for XL Terrestrials who do not compete for shiny useless medals and platforms for flexing patriotic muscle, but construct environments that sustain The Real global interactive game of shared and autonomous territories and its 6.6 billion inhabitants ??!
Lets first untie the Olympic mentality, this ballast of power and class and geographic-divider mechanisms! This shit’s SO OBSOLETE! Lets detach ourselves from stupid nationalist pet tricks, from flag-waving laps around a swimming pool to guns, tanks and missiles at the borders, because we either play the Real global game or the odds are high we won’t survive.
* re: Memes, A useful term/paradigm coined by Richard Dawkins, but a truly arrogant Fucker! The XL Terrestrials certainly do not ascribe to his fanatical belief system (i.e. his RELIGION) of western science and rationalist/reductionist methodologies. A fantastic theme for poetic deconstruction we’ll try and address in a future Podopolog article: The role of the so-called “secular humanists” in the Darwinian-fueled delusions of science, progress and social evolution in the corporate-capitalist-OxFORDian sector.
If this theme has already wet your appetite, read Terry Eagelton’s review of “The God Delusion”. Bravo!