Saturday, June 09, 2007

If the Label Fits, Wear It

This video is an interesting case of a particular rhetorical move in which images are divorced from their explanatory labels, as is the case with many artifacts of digital news. In the era of metadata, when large numbers of people are tagging images and thinking about issues that once only librarians and archivists think about, it may seem somewhat counterintuitive to suggest that labels are only labels. This film also obviously plays on Samuel Huntington's trope of the "Clash of Civilizations," which has been important in Internet discourse about the Middle East since September 11th.

Fans of street art also probably recognized how the graphic identity of the two female protagonists of the film are shaped by the wheat paste aesthetic of sites like the Wooster Collective. Note that the filmmaker includes a shot of stencil artist Banksy's graffiti on the Israel-Palestine wall. It's an interesting case of how the digital often meets the situated and tangible in contemporary political art.

Perhaps more remarkable is this video from the young YouTube critic who chose to feature the "Stop the Clash of Civilizations" video . . . even if, as an old-timer, I can say with some authority that this kind of independent youth journalism has been peddled ever since the nineteen-seventies, when I was one of the subjects of a book called Listen to Us! from The Children's Express.

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