Thursday, April 3, 2008

In Response to Cammaert's "Jamming the Political: Beyond Counter hegemonic Practices"

I found this essay difficult to read due to the immense amount of theory discussed in comparison to actual concrete examples. Despite this, a quotation by Deleuze and Guattari caught my interest:
“ the metaphor of the rhizome, 'establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences and social struggles' (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 7).” (Cammaerts)
Upon reading this I thought about how cultural jamming does in fact create connections between symbols and larger organizations or concepts. Specifically I thought about false billboards like the ones discussed in class. When I see something like an advertisement for Apple, I constantly relate the symbols I see to other issues in life. Currently there is a Mac advertising campaign portraying a young adult as representative of a Mac and an older 40-something year old, slightly overweight, and simply uncool-looking man as a PC. Upon viewing there is a connection made between youth and the mac, which leads me to believe that not only is owning a Mac is representative of my age, but also that Apple as a company is “younger” than those companies making pc’s. The genius behind this idea is that it should work for all ages because older people would want a mac to look or feel younger, and the youth would want a Mac because Mac is more representative of their age and generation. Although this ad campaign is not an example of cultural jamming, Apple’s previous ad campaign with the slogan “Think Different” has been reworked many times with the same mode attack but for a different means. For example, a picture with a man wearing a sombrero and downing a bottle of tequila next to the same slogan made me think: “Well after that he will most certainly be thinking different.” This visual symbol of drunkenness made a connection between “think different” and the altering of one’s mind. This lead to wonder how many people got drunk or consumed mind-altering drugs in order to think different, an idea Apple assumingly did not attempt to communicate. This altered advertisement not only made the connection Apple as a corporation, but also the government and the war on drugs. This has always been a social struggle and my thoughts were drawn to this issue simply because of creative reuse of popular advertising. Cultural jamming does, like “The rhizome 'connects any point to any point' (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 19)” (Cammaerts).
This is the Think Different advertisement I referred to

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