Building Cultural Sustainability in the Digital Age


AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.

On 19 April 2014 Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed author, filmmaker, cultural critic and musician Astra Taylor about imagining new models for digital media that reflect truly revolutionary cultural values.

Although she does not attempt to provide specific solutions, we appreciate her impulse to work collectively on developing them and we are struck by the simple elegance of her observation that the tech ‘revolution’ has not been all that revolutionary—yet.

Frequent visitors to Antidote as well as our growing network of invaluable collaborators will already be familiar with our obsession with this issue and our own efforts at cultivating a more cooperative rather than competitive spirit in the production and dissemination of culture and information. As we emphasize repeatedly, we won’t overcome the prevailing commercial media model by imitating its most pernicious attributes (in way, we have been painfully reminded of this once again by the fall from grace of Chris Hedges. Competition, ego, position leverage, fetishizing status…need we go on?).

Astra Taylor takes us a few steps further in this thinking by identifying a few more of these attributes and inviting us to imagine, more concretely, what we would like to see in their place.

“‘Innovation,’ ‘disruption’ and ‘openness’ are all terms that can be twisted to serve business imperatives.”

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Unschooling, the Sixties, and Today’s Left

Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio‘s 3 June 2006 episode and printed with permission.  Listen to the full interview, replayed in March 2014 (due in equal part to Astra Taylor’s prescient statements and her recent reappearance into sociopolitical discourse; more on that soon), here.

1999 is between 1969 and 2006, numerically speaking

1999 is between 1969 and 2006, numerically speaking

“I’m fascinated by the way the Right has appropriated the methods of the 1960s Left.”

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