The MEDIASCAPE section explores the current trends of media landscape.
It investigates how the mainstream broadcasters work, looks at how the big
media groups get to form themselves and explores their influence on social
imagination. Moreover, it introduces the strategy of reverse engineering
of media: trying to reach an understanding of the underlying business processes
and use tactics of subtle penetration - a strategy which often yields unexpected
In the ‘90s, as a result of the liberisation and deregulation of the communication market in general and of an incredible sequence of fusion and synergies, an exclusive ‘club of media giants’ appeared on the scene. A first-class member of this club is obviously Rupert Murdoch, who’s at the centre of “Outfoxed”, the documentary produced and directed by the American filmmaker Robert Greenwald. This work destroies the supposed impartiality of Fox News, the jewel of the Australian tycoon empire. The film, which had cost 300,000 $ and had been made in four months, was at first distributed by volounteers throughout the U.S. and soon became an Amazon DVD best-seller - and in August 2004 it was eventually screened in theaters. It thus represents in itself a great example of how you can build an alternative to traditional forms of distribution.
Since September 2001, our mediascape has been subjected to a flood of information,
as the US administration started “selling” its audience the
“war on terror”. The journalist Danny Schechter
plunged himself for weeks into the uninterrupted stream of propaganda. He
patiently gathered all the newscasts from major networks and turned them
into the film Weapons of Mass Deception, which shows how
American people perceive war differently from the rest of the world - if
compared, for example, to the the Al Jazeera audience, the Qatar media network
which spoiled the plans of Bush’ administration on war information.
And talking of the Arab satellite channel, we’d also like to spend
a few words on the documentary “Control Room”,
by the Egyptian director Jehane Noujaim, a work which Mediascape, being
a partial and incomplete map, doesn’t screen but strongly reccomend.
On the contrary, we will screen the grotesque portraits of Arab people according
to Hollywood with Planet of the Arabs, a hilarious cut-up
by Jacqueline Salloum, a media-artist of Palestinian origins.
And from Salloum’s de-constructions we’ll move to the strategy
of reverse engineering and the techniques of communication guerrilla with
Info Wars, an Austrian production by Parallel Universe.
One of its protagonists is Jon Johansen, a Norwegian young man who’s
been charged with copyright violation for having designed DECSS, a DVD player
software; and then there are the Yes Men, a team of artist and militants
who tricked the W.T.O. Web site, there are net-artists as the Ubermogern
group, who designed a project for trading votes online, and finally there’s
etoy, a group with a ‘corporate look’ who challenged the on-line
company eToys by declaring the Toywar, one of the greatest and more fascinating
campaigns of digital activism in the history of the Net.
WARS - J. F. Sebastian, Austria, 2004, 90', Beta SP
J. F. Sebastian
• Monday 9 8.15pm