Sources of inspiration and #occupy

Interview with Tony Credland from Cactus Networkcactus network creative activism belgrade mastazine We meet Tony at design conference in Belgrade, where he was invited with his colleague to give lecture on media design of #occupy and other movements. Kidnapping him from chance to listen further lectures in Serbian, we sat down for a moment to find out his ideas on creative activism, achievements of #occupy and media role. Tony Credland: "The main achievement of the occupy movement is that for more than a month it did manage to occupy the media. If you are ever going to change the politics big time, you have to have a discussion with a mass audience.  For a good three months it occupied the news in London and in New York. Now and again we manage to break out into a global or national discussion, and that is the moment where we need to act. The occupy movement have changed the political landscape in the sense that it has managed to change the mainstream media story from one of attacking poor people, to one focused on the bankers." T. C.: "One can say that #occupy was a creative form of protest – they didn't say „lets just march from A to B”. They took ideas from the past, for example, the climate camp camping at power stations, and they moved that concept into the city. The climate camps in England have been very effective with getting their message across. The #occupy movement has reached a similar effect by staying in one place for a longer period of time. The fact that they stayed for two, three months is quite impressive. I think they have lost a little bit energy now, and they rethink and say: "OK, now we need to change". Politics is engaging and we have to use our creative energies to engage others in new forms. It is the desire of artists and designers to use their skills creatively in political situations. It is possible to highlight quite complex issues by using creative means.        What is happening now In London, is that the Occupy movement are going more down to a grassroute level. They are learning from Spain and Greece, and I personally actually much prefer what happened in the #spanishrevolution, as it was a lot more community based and more grassroutes. The achievements of #occupylondon was mainly reaching the mainstream audience through the media, and in Spain there was a genuine mass movement.    In some ways I can be very critical to the #occupy, sometimes we are sitting on the edge of it. I think its a new generation and what we can do is to try to help out the way we can." Masta : "Due to the fact that #occupy  don't really have clear demands and share similar slogans and humour all around the world, do You look at them as an actual social movement or more like a copycat effect?" T. C.: "I think it has a lot to do with the media they use – all this Facebook, Twitter and others.  I think it confirms the idea of just involving people who have never been out and done it. I have tweeted it, so I have done it. And I think that's the way for 99% of tweets. And I think that's the problem of the modern social media – it takes away the engagement from you. For example, if You do something like indymedia, or media camp, there way you have to get involved and do it demands an amount of things You have to do, producing audio, radio interviews, You are doing video interviews, You are doing print newspapers, blogging and all these things. An that forces You to think in different ways.The ease of which the modern technology works actually tempts people not to do that – I have seen it how it works with #occupy movement – they just tweet something out and thing that they have dealt with that issue, that they have done it.  But what I say is – no, You haven't done it, all You have done is tweeted and lot of people have read Your two sentences. And there it stops, there is no further debate, well there is, but its not on your side, its not collected in one place. (..)" Talking about the endless struggle of media activism and diverse social movements, we realise that so far slacktivism has not killed the in-depth journalism, but being aware that "the field is open" (Slavoj Zizek) doesn't hurts. And it can be just couple of guys in a corner of demonstration, who inspires to carry on. –-CACTUS NETWORKThe  Cactus network started in 1989, influenced by mailart, collaborations  with artists across east/west Europe, our own politics and a boredom  with graphic designs cult of the personality. Their activities  range from producing spoof newspapers to explain and announce the big  reclaim the streets demonstrations in London, producing and distributing  30.000 copies of look-a-like mainstream newspapers, to setting up media  centres with Indymedia London.--Interview by Ruta Vimba and Julia Vernersson,supported by Step Beyond