Through youth programming, personal artistic practice and web design the Midnight Media Coup is developed a multi layered tool for not only analyzing but also creating a history based on a multitude of experiences.
The following blog contains explaination, process and analysis as well as additional media components of the development of both the curriculum and installation.

Entries in re-mapping our (his)stories (8)

MMC Against the NPIC

One of the primary goals of the founding of the Midnight Media Coup is that I want to form the Coup as infrastructure for creating independent media within the goal of working within direct opposition to capitalism, including the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.

Capitalism cannot fix what capitalism has created. The greed that is created by a capitalist system is directly responsible for the inequities, which are necessary for the functioning of the system. Our desire to always be at the top, to be the exception; but, the rags to riches story is not sustainable.

Currently, BP is attempting to clean up the mess that their greed has created; the effects of the oil industry in that area are not new, and will probably be felt for decades if not centuries to come. At the same time, Oil Companies in Northeastern PA continue to rob the area of its natural resources while poisoning the area and the people who live within it.

We watch Verizon attempt to convince us that a tiered system of Internet access, that would deny the power of new media, of Internet and of voice to low-income people is a positive step in the free market place. Everyday companies attempt to purchase our identities, our bodies, our souls. The draw us in with fancy advertisements, and promises to make our lives better, easier, to bring us everything we want quickly without penalty. But time and time again we must remember we cannot buy happiness.

What we see everyday is a system that teaches us to equate citizenship, equality and worth with money. Yet, by the nature of classic economic scarcity, it is impossible for the majority of people to buy that citizenship.

The very nature of capitalism depends on concentrating power among a small group. It depends on scarcity. It depends on inequality.

The goal of liberal interpretations capitalism is equality, but what I seek is equity. There is no equity in the capitalist system.

“From their inception foundations focused on research and dissemination of information designed ostensibly to ameliorate social issues – in a manner, however, that did not challenge capitalism” (Smith 4)

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex is a product of a system of non-profits that are captive to the capitalist system they seek to cope with. Instead of working towards legitimate change these non-profits create band-aide solutions thus continuing to ensure that they have a solid base of need to serve. This is not always due to conscious effort, but rather manufactured ignorance to the complexity of capitalist systems as well as the underhanded controlling of funders and those at the top to ensure they stay at the top. The very nature of the free market blinds us to the dangers of oppressive systems.

The Non-Profit industrial complex is held captive to the grant funding systems that provide these NGOs with the money necessary to survive in a capitalist economy. These funders are connected to power, money and influence. In the book, Selling Out, Alexandra Chasin examines the relationship of capital to citizenship and specifically the evolution of identity based on capital within the Gay community.

“Capital does not stay inside the boundaries of identity-based communities. Neither does it stay inside of national boundaries. Like mercury to mercury, capital tends to go to capitalists, wherever they are, sloughing off the traces of any identity it might temporarily appeared to have bourne.” (Chasin 52)

As movements become co-opted, buying into capitalism and confusing greater capital with equality their messages and ability to control their message becomes co-opted by these forces. And we are stuck once again attempting to destroy the master’s house with his tools. Capitalism cannot fix what capitalism has wrought.

Fundraising Update

So far I have raised roughly $650 dollars to go towards the completion of this project!

This is great! I could not have done it without everyone who helped me along the way. Over the weekend my indiegogo fundraising campaign ended. It was no big deal, I barely noted the occasion. I realized a while ago that I was not going to meet my goal, but I am satisfied with the results of the campaign and the money I have right now.

The original project budget (the dream budget) is about $4,600, however, there will be ways for me to continue if this goal is not met. For one, I have started finding deals on items, such as the projector that was found by technical director, EJ, that only costs $100 instead of the originally projected $300. Additionally I expect that as time unfolds I will find other ways to trim the budget. My current barebones budget lies at $1100 and I believe that goal is easily do-able and I feel confident that I will not only meet it but exceed it.

I have also begun applying for grant funding from sources such as the Social Venture Fund at Hampshire College and Do Something, and organization that donates seed money to many youth produced projects regularly. In the near future I will continue to apply for grants as they come up.

ALSO RIGHT NOW the project is entered in the FACT Social Justice Competition:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE become a fan of the project and support this work! There are many benefits if my project does well in this contest such as consultations and funding for the project (that could potentially fund the project in full!)

Soon I will move the online fundraising component of my project to LongTail, a crowdfunding site promoting socially minded projects. While the website is still in it's beta form it will be going fully live soon and I am excited to be working with the founders of the site to host and promote the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories project.

I want to thank everyone for helping/participating in this project so far! There is SO much more to come!


The Story Box

The storybox is the physical embodiment of the Re-Mapping Our (his)Stories archive. The storybox is being created inside the frame of an old television, with turning channel knobs and plastic wood paneling. They storybox is equipped with a touch screen, camera, microphone, speakers and a projector. Using the storybox people will be able to browse the archive, create/input stories and present stories to large groups.

I believe that the TV represents a form of classic American (in reference to mainstream culture in the US) imagery. The television is a centerpiece of “modern” family life. A central location for information, family gatherings, and entertainment; however, the TV only works one-way, we are told what to watch. There is no choice in the content that comes to us and we have very limited options in relation to input. Everyday the media brings us gradually more consolidated messages. These messages tell us everything from how to look to how to think especially in relation to how we see ourselves.

Summary of the 4 Session Curriculum!

Introducing Community Histories:

Establish and understand a sense of community.
Create an audio track
Understand the importance of history
Understand the importance of everyone’s voice

Creating a collaborative audio track!

What is your story?

Understand that there are different portrayals of the same history/events
Create a community history timeline
Create some kind of visual media

Timeline of our own histories!
Making short video clips of our stories!

Creating a (his)Story

Listen to someone’s history
Collaboratively create a media history.

Creating our own media (his)story based on an in-session interview with a community member!

Sharing (his)Story

Reflect on the process of gathering and creating histories
Come up with a plan of action to display history work

Creating displays for our own (his)stories!