Skip to content

Play and Protest

Earlier this month I had a great time at the conference “The Internet as Playground and Factory.” I focused on the “factory” presentations, and I’ve had a bit of trouble digesting the “play” side of the conference (such as the Bureau of Workplace Interruptions). At first some of the interventions reminded me of the bizarre juxtaposition of activism, appropriationism, and absurdity in this Seether video:

But on the other hand, the same style works to brilliant effect on this ACLU “Demand Your Dot Rights” campaign. And I imagine it’s about the only way to get a larger number of people to think about topics like the ones Sheldon Wolin discusses in Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. As Mackenzie Wark puts it, “The real world appears as a video arcadia divided into many and varied games. Work is a rat race. Politics is a horse race. The economy is a casino. . . . Games are no longer a pastime, outside or alongside of life. They are now the very form of life.” When people no longer care much about privacy, they need to be shown how its lack can directly undermine their “reputation score” in the game of life.