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the term coined in 1996 at N5Min festival

slidy. powerpoint


* definition: tactical media is a term to denote a form of media activism that privileges temporary, hit-and-run interventions in the media sphere over the creation of permanent and alternative media outlets.

Tactical media describes interventionist media art practices that engage and critique the dominant political and economic order.

see (


Roots of Tactical Media

one of the branches of “alternative media”;, Whole Earth Catalogue, The Well, conferencing tool, bulletin board, hypertext, project Xanada, Ted Nelson, etc.

in opposition to the biased media that is owned by businesses or governments with ulterior. As much as the art movements influenced the way tactical media is produced, one can find the goals and targets to be rooted in its relation to alternative media. Both are produced in order to reveal an alternate truth, and both strictly attack system, or representatives of the power.

Sovereign media:“.. insulate themselves against the hyperculture. They seek no connection; they disconnect. This is their point of departure we have a lift-off. They leave the media surface and orbit the multimedia network as satellites. These do-it-yourselfers shut themselves up inside a self-built monad, an “indivisible unit” of introverted technologies which, like a room without doors or windows, wishes to deny the existence of the world. This act is a denial of the maxim “I am connected, therefore I am”. It conceals no longing for a return to nature. They do not criticise the baroque data environments or experience them as threats but consider them material, to use as they please. They operate beyond clean and dirty, in the garbage system ruled by chaos pur sang”. They rose from the squatters movement and illegal radio in Amsterdam, about which they published their book Bewegingsleer (1991). Their main interest is in Media and Media theory, about which they write from a critical, speculative and often humorous perspective.

tactical media borrows from a number of art, political, and social movements.

Tactical media often aims to do the opposite of the media it penetrates:it shocks and reveals an antithesis.

Brian Holmes & Sholette, Gregory, “Civil Disobedience as Art Art as Civil Disobedience: A conversation between Brian Holmes and Gregory Sholette” from, Vol. 29, No.5, 2005.

* 19.century - Paris Commune, 1871 - alternative temporary walking paths cut through the walls by communards in the besieged Paris. detournement

* 20 century - boom of information and communication media - distribution channels, press, photography, radio, film, television

* 'Dada'

* 'surrealism': subversive - opposition to the mainstream false, culture, the concept of psychoanalytical approach, that a 'truer' experience that the present one is present - hidden. Tactical media also criticizes social, political and cultural elements of an establishment through its domain’s techniques.

* Lettrism

* Situationist idea of detournement,


“The Language of Tactical Media” from BalkonMagazine, Autumn 2002, No. 12 from []

To appropriate images and words from mass-culture in order to convey a new meaning, often going against the 'mainstream' media.

The appropriation of elements and the importance of aesthetics seen in detournement, as well see

* 'Anarchism', (counter culture) autonomous media Hakim Bey, [] Gilles Deleuze, free student radio in Paris 1968 Noam Chomsky- Manufacturing the consent




* 'Dissident movement' mainly in Eastern Europe, Latin America..70 ies - 90ies,


Videogramme einer revolution, Harun Farocki,Andrej Ujica 1989, []

* Political cultural opposition movement in Western Europe - Italy, Antonio Negri, Giorgio Agamben, Noam Chomsky, Franco Berardi..

'Radio Alice' pirate media [] []

Chomski,Manufacturing Content: []

* Geert Lovink

* Cyberpunk, A Cypherpunk's Manifesto

[]tales of cacophony


* hack, cut through, penetrate - active…link to the military tactics

Hacker Manifesto - 1986

* leak, wiretap, monitoring - passive .. social and political control apparatus and mechanisms

Telephone tapping (also wiretapping or wiretapping in American English) is the monitoring of telephone and Internet conversations by a third party, often by covert means. The wire tap received its name because, historically, the monitoring connection was an actual electrical tap on the telephone line. Legal wiretapping by a government agency is also called lawful interception. Passive wiretapping monitors or records the traffic, while active wiretapping alters or otherwise affects it.

* network, alternative network, ethernal network, clandestine network, guerilla network.

* to jam - culture jamming - pirate radio strategy to jam the frequency, as well the police technology to jamm the broadcast,

* broadcasting x narrowcasting.. minifm

* Tetsuo Kogawa alternative radio DIY. []

'Microradio manifest' []




richard serra: television delivers people,

* Negativland USA

* Heath Bunting HK

* Mark Dery USA

* Adbusters Canada

([]): the best culture jam is one that introduces a 'meta-meme', a two-level message that punctures a specific commercial image, but does so in a way that challenges some larger aspect of the political culture of corporate domination.


* Critical Art Ensamble

* 'Smart Mobs'




What makes media tactical?

Tactical media do not just report or describe events, nor do we claim to be objective or neutral, we are never impartial. We are not observers. We are participants.

We do not restrict ourselves to the symbolic. Tactical Media are about *real action* which requires the responsibility to act on one's propositions and suffer the consequences or reap the benefits.

Tactical Media are *Do it Yourself* or D.I.Y. media.

Tactical Media are what happens when cheap 'do it yourself' media made possible by the revolution in consumer electronics, are exploited by those who are outside of the normal hierarchies of power and knowledge.


Texts to read

* 1.Deep_Europe: The 1996 - 1997 edition A User's Manual

* 2. A Cypherpunk's Manifesto


* Now You're in My Computer: interviewed by Jaka Zeleznikar, []

* What is Communication Guerrilla, Autonome a.f.r.i.k.a., []

* Luther Blissett, XYZ of Net Activism [;jsessionid=374BFE8605993F121BCD2BFDCA4313CD?objectnumber=41573]

* Critica ArtEnsamble: Framing Tactical Media [] * Ricardo Dominguez interviewed by Coco Fusco, Electronic Disturbance * David Garcia & Geert Lovink, The ABC of Tactical Media * Nathan Martin of Carbon Defense League, Parasitic Media * Joanne Richardson, The Language of Tactical Media * RTMark interviewed by Sylvie Myerson & Vidyut Jain, The Art of Confusion * Sfear von Clauswitz, A Reaction to Tactical Media * McKenzie Wark, On the Tactic of Tactics [] Peter Lamborn Wilson, Response to the Tactical Media Manifesto

in CZ
tactical_media.txt · Last modified: 2018/03/21 17:21 by milos-vojtechovsky