Banquets, Blasphemy, and Grotesque Bodies

15Sep11

Paper presented at the MIT7 conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Even though the term “media activism” is often used to exclusively refer to the tactical media movement of the 1990s , contemporary media activism has in fact an extraordinarily rich history. Although research on this subject is limited, it is possible to identify media of resistance in every epoch of media history, or indeed to approach media history principally as a history of media of resistance. In their works on the carnival culture of medieval and early modern Europe, Mikhail Bakhtin (1984; image on the right), Rolf Johannsmeier (1984), and Piero Camporesi (1994) describe a wealth of forms of such media. They describe the cultures of carnival as a sophisticated and profoundly political range of counter cultural forms with a surprising capacity of sidestepping any kind of censorship.

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