Activism and Fiction (TV documentary) Favorite 


Jan 6 2012



On 6 January 2012, Metrópolis (TVE 2) broadcast "Activismo y Ficción", a report directed by Enmedio members Leónidas Martín and Núria Campabadal. It looks at a series of creative projects that lie somewhere between fiction and social activism.

The paramount concern of fiction is, was, and always will be the feelings, beliefs and values of human beings. The projects shown in this programme meet this requirement 100%, but they do it their way. While you could say that French nineteenth century realists set out to paint what they saw, these projects between fiction and social activism set out to do what they see. They seem to be saying: we're sick of looking, it's time to take the images and live them. That’s just what the superhero Superbarrio does, for instance… An ordinary man who loses his job and his house in Mexico City and decides to become a character of his own devising: a masked wrestler with the power to confront the politicians responsible for property speculation. The same goes for Unemployed Man, a comic book character thought up by a couple of kids who were sick of the financial crisis and decided to turn it into a comic strip packed with social superheroes. Fictional characters who soon leapt out of the pages of the comic book and started to turn up in demonstrations and Occupy camps against the capitalist crisis all across the United States. Rather than trying to convince viewers to accept what they see, the artistic projects in “Activism and Fiction” charm or even hypnotise them into suspending disbelief and participating in the social conflict as told by them. This is the case with Palestine Avatar, a group of young Palestinians who shocked half the planet when they turned up in a colony in Gaza to demonstrate against the occupation of the Israeli army dressed up as Na´vi, the good guys from the film Avatar. These guys turned themselves into fiction to occupy our screens and awaken our desire to change the world we live in. Reverend Billy with his Church of Stop Shopping does much the same thing when he adopts the guise of one of those mad preachers who dominate American television programming and transforms many of the Christian myths and stories into missiles to destroy consumer society. In general, fiction consists of delirious projections that emerge in the space between the author and the receiver, but the projects in this program clearly focus on the people who are at the receiving end: the spectators. This perspective gives spectators credit for much more freedom than critical schools of thought tend to do. The creators of these projects don’t think an image can ever represent everything, which is why Anonymous, in a kind of gesture of possession, takes over the face and body of somebody else and operates under this other appearance, adding an ingredient that images always lack: action.

Directed by Leónidas Martín and Núria Campabadal. Music: Filastine Graphics: David Morgado Archival material: Deep Dish TV, Bob Jaroc and Andy Ward, Scott Robinson, Rob Vanalkemade, Glenn Gabel, Friends of Freedom and Justice BILIN. Acknowledgements: Enmedio; Not an Alternative!; Jason Jones; Anja Steidinger; Oriana Eliçabe; Vanesa Varela; David Proto; Scott Robinson; Mark Read; Albert Clemente; Democracy Now; Arkham Comics.

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