This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : occupy-wall-street

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Defining Radical Media: Thoughts on moderating Paper Tiger Television’s 30th anniversary conference panels

For the last few months I have been thinking about what I’m going to say while moderating Radical Media Then & Now, a panel happening at Paper Tiger Television’s 30th anniversary conference. I want to make the concept and execution of radical media projects accessible to everyone — academics, punks, activists, filmmakers, parents, teens, etc.

“It is one thing to critique the mass media and rail against their abuses. It is quite another to create viable alternatives.” — DeeDee Halleck, co-founder of Paper Tiger Television

“Radical, alternative media has one thing in common. It is that they break somebody’s rules.” — media scholar John Downing, author of Radical Media: Rebellious media and social movements (1983)

My intention is that the audience, the panelists and I will all brainstorm together to define radical media and what the future of it will be. We will share examples of radical media projects and I want to discuss how radical media overlaps and informs traditional media.

I can’t stand panels that aren’t interactive or treat the audience like they don’t know anything about the topic. I love engaging with people because it’s a learning experience for me too. It HAS to be informative AND fun. 🙂

Thoughts On Radical Media

My #1 goal for participating in this panel is to help anyone paying attention to figure out how to use radical media in their own lives to create positive change for THEMSELVES, their community and the world. That requires understanding what radical media means to them and what they are already doing in their own lives that they can use to understand the concept and the steps to creating and supporting radical media.

Radical media falls under the scope of alternative media, which differs from mainstream media along one or more of the following dimensions: their content, aesthetic, modes of production, modes of distribution, and audience relations.

There are several definitions of radical media out there. For some media professionals and academics, it’s greatly informed by how they define what ‘radical’ is. The term ‘radical’ is associated with dissent and opposition to established norms that are perceived as natural and legitimate within multiple contexts and these contexts can cover a wide variety, ranging from politics to fashion, from ethnic to gender, from sexual to religious contexts.

Also, radical media is about the form as well. Video as a medium is not inherently radical. It was a radical medium for expression in its early stages but now its the norm for sharing visual information. However, the combination of imagery, sounds, texts and other elements can be radical media (such as Paper Tiger TV!). A recent example of that is the video projections during Occupy protests in NYC.

Video projections as a medium are no longer radical (corporate events often feature projected imagery) but VJs often use their content and the form to share radical messages, which is radical media.

The human body can be a form of radial media — you can write messages on your bare body and display them in a context that is radical, the way that FEMEN does.

You can subvert traditional platforms to create radical media, such as blogging sites like Tumblr, where WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT curates a visual narrative of Occupy themes and stories.

POC Zine Project, a grassroots non-profit org I founded in 2010, explores materiality as a tool for social change. The zine format and aesthetic has been co-opted by corporations so it’s not radical as a medium but the content, production and distribution process often is. With POC Zine Project, I raise awareness about the great zines people of color are making and the topics being addressed within them. We sponsor and produce events that bring together people from all walks of life to celebrate diversity, DIY values, social good, art and music.

So, I really don’t want to get caught up in battling over one agreed-upon definition of radical media. For me, radical media is creating content and experiences that challenge the status quo and usually are part of a larger social justice goal. It can subvert existing forms or be entirely new forms.

A final example I’ll share of radical media is by Mark Horvath, videos about real homeless people across the country. Mark — who was once homeless — started the project in 2008 and since then he has become an internationally recognized activist and ambassador for the millions of individuals and families who reside in shelters, motels, tents along the streets and under highway bridges across the country.

Here’s a trailer for a documentary about Mark’s story:

Mark is an incredible example of a person who subverted traditional forms (video, social networking platforms, etc.) to create radical media that has changed his life and the lives of others.

What he is doing — and living — embodies radical media. I am excited to facilitate conversations about the future of radical media and learn more about cool radical media projects.

Bottom line: I’m a doer. I learn by doing. I understand the importance of discussing radical media but I am honestly more interested in making it and sharing it with others. Radical media should be a tool in your arsenal to use in your daily life as you see fit.

If you want to learn about more examples of exciting radical media projects (I didn’t give them all away here 😉 hehe), come to the panel! Details below.


Here is the Facebook invite with more details:

Here’s a 30th anniversary clip that is an overview of Paper Tiger Television’s history:

Their 25th anniversary doc is very informative too.

I asked PTTV to utilize the #PTTV30 hashtag so that anyone can follow along during the radical media events. They will also livestream my panel here:

Friday and Saturday, February 10 & 11, 2012
6:30-9PM (there will be a keynote, screening and my panel).
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor, New York City
Admission: Free

People To Watch

I’m looking forward to meeting the panelists in person and learning from them:

• Jamilah King, news editor at, where she writes about media, politics and technology

• Jennifer Pozner, media critic, founder and executive director of Women In Media & News

• Andy Bichlbaum of YesLab, a genderless, loose-knit association of some 300 impostors worldwide who agree their way into the fortified compounds of commerce.

I’m also moderating the media intensive component on Saturday from 10:30AM – 12 PM. It will consist of succinct, fast-paced and provocative presentations by four leaders on the key topics of the convention:

• Media Justice & Media Autonomy -Martha Wallner
• New Media Activism & Movement Building -Pablillo Jose and Isaac Wilder
• Collectivism & Collaborative Culture -Jesse Drew
• Media Materiality & Aesthetics- Shannon Mattern

About Paper Tiger Television

An early innovator in video art and public access television of the early 80’s, PTTV developed a unique, handmade, irreverent aesthetic that experimented with the television medium mixing together art, academics, politics, performance and live television. PTTV, founded on the ideal that freedom of speech through access to the means of communication is essential in a democratic society, regularly exposed the hidden agenda of the mainstream media and questioned the powerful grip of corporate influence on media content to become the first nationally disseminated public access television program. Over the years, thousands have enjoyed the intelligent, irreverent, ultra-low-budget antics of PTTV.

PTTV produced Paper Tiger Reads Paper Tiger Television not only out of love and respect for its history of creating radical critiques of mass culture and politics, but from a desire to continue supporting and providing innovative leadership for documentary filmmakers, artists, media literacy educators and the social justice media movement. Archival footage, hand-crafted animations, video shorts and interviews are brought together in this documentary which serves as a catalyst for conversations on new directions in creative use of the media.

Recommended Reading/Viewing

I’ll add more links here later today but here are a few to get you started:

Reality Unreeled – critical look at reality tv (34mins) – featuring Jennifer Pozner

Maple Razsa & Michael Hardt Read Riot Porn (15mins) – critical look at normative activist video

Detroit Preview (11:25mins) weaves together segments from an upcoming PTTV production

Explore more links at the bottom of this page.


While moderating the Meet Me at the Race Riot: People of Color in Zines from 1990 – Today panel last November that I co-produced with the Barnard Zine Library and For the Birds Collective, I organized the structure of the conversation to keep the audience involved.

Based on what I accomplished there, Paper Tiger Television — the seminal non-profit, volunteer video collective that works to challenge and expose the corporate control of mainstream media — asked me to moderate their panels on radical media.

If you know of a great recent example of radical media or are working on a project you define as radical media, share in the comments.

5 Rad Things – Filmmaker Edition: Smartphone gadgets, world’s largest use-generated feature film and moooooar

figure from one of my altars

Happy Dia de los Muertos weekend! While many celebrate Halloween, I’m going to participate in another tradition and document examples of altars, sugar skulls and other spiritual artifacts. I’ll share the photos and some video next week.

In the spirit of filmmaking and film love in general, here are 5 Rad Things happening at the intersection of DIY, crowd-sourcing and low-budget awesome movie making.

Capta: Best $25 you’ll ever spend

Have you ever been at an event and kicked yourself for not bringing a second camera? Or, have you ever wanted to record yourself with your smartphone from a different angle but couldn’t pull it off without having Inspector go-go Gadget arms? Capta is a new device that I have invested in and am looking forward to experimenting with. From the team: “We set out to create a hybrid accessory for smart phones that would be elegant, functional and universal. Capta was primarily designed to be a tripod mount and has developed into an amazing hybrid accessory that allows you to do much more with your smart phones.”

Watch for yourself and dream of the possibilities, particularly with the impressive video quality on the iPhone 4S (captures full HD 1920×1080 footage, now with image stabilisation):

Check check check it out

If you go to their Kickstarter campaign and pledge at least $25 (the $20 pledge level sold out — hurry!), you’ll get one of these bad boys. For a $60 pledge, you will receive ONE exclusive Kickstarter black anodized Capta with green print and green pad, one multi purpose suction cup mount and one black PU multi-purpose sticky pad. AMAZING! Big thanks to Corvida for turning me on to this quite handy, low-cost product!


On My Radar: Co-optation of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy movement has not only gone global — it’s gone mainstream. MTV is creating a reality show about it, The (gasp) New York Times is finally doing balanced reporting on it (although this piece on “getting fat” by protesting is beyond ridiculous) and people are finally starting to (cleverly) poke fun at it.

I am taking a holistic approach and feel that all of this coverage — good and bad — is great for the movement. People can decide for themselves what’s worth paying attention to. In my ongoing research of how people are engaging with each other on Occupy topics globally, I have found some hilarious and sometimes inappropriate examples of how people are exploiting and co-opting the movement for their own personal and financial gain — as well as just for the lulz.

Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street Tumblr/Film

Salon recently did a Q&A with the founder Steven Greenstreet, who defended his project:

“In NO way do I ‘deride’ feminism. I do, however, deride hate, slander, and wasted opportunities. So many ‘feminists’ have been ranting about acts of violence that should enacted on me, using the word ‘fuck’ a lot, and Jill Filipovic (who wrote the Feministe article on me) is a self-declared ‘hater.’ …I’m also not going to apologize for calling these empowered women ‘hot.’ They knocked me off my feet.”

The backlash from the feminist community (I hate saying that but it’s essentially what it was) reminded me why I have such an ongoing love/hate relationship with being identified as a feminist. I, Daniela, as a self-identified feminist, was not offended by this Tumblr. I thought it was silly but also eye-opening. It reminded me of the power of sexuality. There will be people who look at this blog for the hot chicks but who end up learning a little something.

If the only coverage of Occupy was about hot chicks, I would have a problem — but that’s not the case. Feminists cannot control who uses the word “hot,” and if I had made a Tumblr exactly like this (as I woman), I suspect things would be different.

Let’s take it all with a grain of salt, shall we? The Tumblr is most definitely NOT the same as “Girls Gone Wild.” It’s clearly a celebration of (his definition of the label — I have my own) “hot women” participating in Occupy events. Free speech is what it is — you can hate his Tumblr and write a million blog posts about it but he has a right to continue working on his project and I’m just thankful that he’s obviously coming from a (even if misguided) positive place and exploring a facet of the movement that people DO care about. Everyone cares about hotness — if you say that you don’t, you’re lying and you should stop turning my blog into a house of lies.

Here’s my “I stand with Occupy Wall Street” video, by the way. I think I look pretty hot in it too 😉

The best thing about the Occupy movement for me is that it’s a leader-less movement not affiliated with any political party and no one person represents what it’s about — you represent YOURSELF. You don’t represent Democrats or Republicans, men or women — you represent YOU. So share your story, talk about the movement with people and take this time to help build the world you want to live in. Be accountable for your own shit.

Artists promoting their “soundtrack” for the movement

This always happens (9/11, any war, etc.) but for some reason I’m more interested this time around. Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine has attended protests in LA and NY played original songs for protesters. They seem to love it. I think he’s an example of an artist with a history of activism who genuinely cares about Occupy — while promoting himself.

Here he is speaking with Keith Olbermann about the role of music and culture in the Occupy movement:

I am a Tom Morello fan and think he’s the real deal. Another artist who is benefitting from the additional attention is Talib Kweli — an amazing artist who is suddenly being discussed on simply by associating with the Occupy movement. I don’t think Talib is being a culture vulture — I do think he’s being smart about combining his activism with his music career.

“I’m Getting Arrested” app
This app — inspired by Occupy events — for Android allows you to tell family, friends and even your legal team where you are, reports CNET. It’s available as a free download and in several languages, a nod to the global reach of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Quadrant 2, Inc. is Artist / Technologist Jason Van Anden’s software development company. I am sure the press mentions are helping their business while their free app helps protesters. It’s a win-win situation involving co-optation, which helps to explain why I don’t think all acts of co-optation are bad.

“Occupy” merch on Etsy

Occupy may be a leaders-less movement — but it still comes with necklaces, t-shirts and other swag thanks to the crafty merchants on Etsy.

Occupy merch on

I highly doubt each of these merchants is donating 100% of their profits to the Occupy movement so this is a classic example of co-opting for personal profit. Do I think this is bad? No. Do I think they should donate a portion of their profits to the movement? Yes. So until Occupy attains non-profit status and trademarks “Occupy,” these merchants are legally free to produce as many “Occupy” branded products as they want — but I hope they consider what it takes to fuel a movement and kick a few bones towards the Occupy fund.

Come on, guys. Do the right thing. Make a donation to the Occupy funds in your area.
With liberty and justice and silkscreened t-shirts for all.

And last but not least: People getting laid through Occupy!

Oh, Craigslist. You are the portal through which all weird shit travels.

Wall Streeter Wants to Bang Occupy Wall Streeter-m4w-40
“Yes, I see you everyday protesting, which I realize is you just craving the attention that I will give you. Why sleep on the cold streets, whining about money that you don’t have, when with one simple click of your mouse and email you can have all you desire. Its that simple.”

And another:

Occupy me.- w4m-28 (Financial District)
“Gorgeous, sexy female trader seeks a hot and bothered 99%’er to occupy her all night long. Let yourself be exploited through deeply taxing work. Resist passionately until your voice is hoarse. Succumb and fall asleep wrapped in my Sferra 1,000 thread count sheets, then make me espresso at 6am before I leave to master the universe. Repeat. Welcome to the 1%. Occupy me.”

I think it’s even more hilarious that these Craigslist gems showed up on my radar thanks to Business Insider. Their coverage of Occupy has been the most random and hilarious stuff I’ve seen so far!