Defamiliarizing the Cart: Art as Interventionist Practice in the Age of Cyberdelic Consumerism


Abstract of Defamiliarizing the Cart: Art as Interventionist Practice in the Age of Cyberdelic Consumerism, by Martim S. Galv√£o, Degree A.M., Brown University, May 2017. This paper is a collection of research and practice related to artistic interventions in capitalist society, with a focus on current modes of digital consumerism their relationship to altered states of mind. The project traces the history of the advertising industry and its ties to the production and distribution of cultural media. The development of new mediums such as radio, TV, and the internet throughout the 20th century guides a conversation about the restructuring of time through technology, specifically how it has become compartmentalized into ever finer slices. The paper then delves into the 1990s, during which time the introduction of the internet created an attention economy by disrupting the time-based scheduling of mass media advertising. Faced with an ever-present now, advertisers developed new tools for reaching temporally destabilized consumers. The rise of social media made it easier to track and model consumer behavior, with platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter further disturbing the notion of privacy by creating walled-off web environments where data collection is mandatory. Algorithms are then used to convert this data into a multitude of virtual selves, each modeling our behavior for some specific purpose. In the second part of the paper, a parallel history of artistic resistance to the commodification of culture weaves its way through the photomontages of John Heartfield in the 1930s, to Guy Debord and the Situationist International movement in the 1950s and 1960, to the culture jamming movement of the 1980s and 1990s, and finally to the current landscape of interventionist artists engaging with virtual spaces, hidden structures of power, and the pervasive digital consumerism of the 21st century. The complex relationship between critique and financial survival in capitalist society is also addressed. Finally, the paper closes with an overview of my own work as it relates to this lineage of experimental artmaking and cultural critique. Three recent pieces, including my thesis project AD2CART (2017), are discussed in terms of compositional process, theatrical and performative considerations, critical discourse, and the role of technology in my work. A short conclusion calls for new methods for artistic intervention and the defamiliarization of our interactions with giant corporate platforms.
Thesis (A. M.)--Brown University, 2017

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Galvao, Martim Schneider, "Defamiliarizing the Cart: Art as Interventionist Practice in the Age of Cyberdelic Consumerism" (2017). Music Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.