This critical reflection on the work of the Raindance Corporation and Michael Shamberg and their manifesto, Guerrilla Television (1971), considers their video activism as a precursor to both YouTube and contemporary “participatory culture” and offers an important critique of these later forms. The essay traces the history of the Raindance Corporation and then considers Shamberg's media-ecological critique of broadcasting and defense of democratized video making, his later attempts at mainstream production, and his contemporary views on the rise of YouTube. It argues for the continuing relevance of Shamberg's ecological critique, suggesting that his concern for ecological diversity and grassroots control serve as an important warning against the uncritical valorization of sites such as YouTube. Guerrilla Television serves as a reminder that it is called YouTube, not YourTube.
Still Fighting “the Beast”: Guerrilla Television and the Limits of YouTube
William Merrin is a senior lecturer in media at Swansea University. He is the author of Baudrillard and the Media (2005), coeditor of Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories (2008), and coauthor, with Andrew Hoskins, of Media Ecology/Archaeology (forthcoming).
William Merrin; Still Fighting “the Beast”: Guerrilla Television and the Limits of YouTube. Cultural Politics 1 March 2012; 8 (1): 97–119. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-1572012
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