At the Occupy Oakland rally today, at noon, this is what I saw with my camera:
This is what a guy standing next to me saw with his paintbrush:
The painting’s not very accurate.
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Man! Tough crowd!
You should leave room for the possibility that the standing figure is a ghost that only the sensitivity of the artist could capture.
Fantastic! I keep thinking about space and representation and the struggle over symbols and symbolism. I had wanted to write something about the importance of symbolic (material) measures: the clearly laid out and named committees on a public sign at Occupy Baltimore, for instance, as opposed to the paranoid privacy of banks and government. The thought is not yet there. There’s something about how the symbolic, by which I mean representation, retains the texture of history. And this, for me, is one of the ongoing achievements of the Occupy Everywhere movements.
I’m struck by how few cameras are there. Reminds me in a backwards way of the WTO and A16 protests in 99/’00… even in those dark technological days there were times when the swarm of people with cameras around some tense encounter would outnumber 3 to 1 the non-camera’d protesters, police, and bystanders combined. It’d be like 5 riot officers and one dude with a bandanna over his face, surrounded by 200 people with cameras 6 inches from the action. Modern protest in the “global north” has always struck me as a bit referential or derivative or imitative — not trying to be critical, here, especially as it implies that only other protest is “real” — but seeing lots of devices at any event always creeps me out, not least because i was doing some radio/audio recording myself at the WTO protests -) … when the “media” (indie though it may be) outnumbers everyone else there, it’s a constant reminder to ask “for whom/what are we protesting?” and “why not put down my recorder and do something useful, instead?” So it’s nice to see a sane number of recording devices, here. 🙂
[…] The Dude—not Jeff Bridges, the original—visits Occupy LA. Aaron Bady has been all over Occupy Oakland. Chemical bomb tossed into Occupy Maine. MTV will air “True Life: I’m […]
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