Hybrid Heroes of the Digital Revolution


Session Title:

  • Short Paper Presentations

Presentation Title:

  • Hybrid Heroes of the Digital Revolution



  • Our “revolutionary” hybrid heroes, the progeny of hi-modernism and postmodernity’s hip-theoretical trends, stand at a critical distance from us. From privileged positions they distribute hierarchical knowledge systems which purport to describe non-hierarchical, branching, nonlinear, digital systems. Speaking from their elevated status, our heroes create binaries between the artist/ intellectual/speaker and audiences which problematizes our hi-mod/ post-mod hybrids’ “revolutionariness”. Institutionally insulated, the “hero” stands on a platform constructed from modernist models of authorship, genius, grand narrative, dualistic divisions and capitalist modes of production.

    These hybrids speak, center staged, to audiences rather than participants. The star status attached to the solitary (too often male) voice of our hybrid heroes positions audiences in circular orbits, revolving around the fixed point of the speaker. To this degree, their audiences are “revolutionary”. These audiences are arranged economically through a capitalist exchange of reality/identity configurations which are part and parcel of the price of admission. In their retrograde motion, our hybrid heroes recast the “future”, an illusive construct, into shapes more appealing to hi-modernism. These dystopic re-entrenchments and terror based marketing schemes exploit pancapitalist language of ultimate newness, “revolution”, suspiciously backed by corporate sponsorship and bound by nostalgic modernist mythologies. Legitimating structures of the “revolutionary” leisure class, terrified by its own reified world, form a centralized discourse on reportedly decentralized artforms.

    Our hybrid heroes gather, playing their roles in an annual reconstruction of a temporary society. This socially constructed reality is currently congealing, being assembled by the signal receivers, international individuals with an eye for style, anxious to select out new hybrid heroes around which revolutionary bodies will orbit. Packaged in media saturated appropriations of contemporariness, avant-edginess and propagandist marketing approaches, this reality thinly disguises it’s hi-modernist tendencies, corporate ties and academic seals of approval. But the empire’s new “revolution” also asks us to disrobe it. To be, so to speak, “revolutionary”. So, who speaks? Who chooses? Who gives voice?

    ISEA indexically orders anomie net activities, assigns artistic value, limits options and variance through such assignments, performs a revolutionary farce, codifies, normalizes and retrojectively constructs a “history” of “originators”/”innovators”/”authors” of retroactively modernist approaches and elitist artworks. And so signal receivers, this self conscious meta-narrative asks questions characteristic of our postmodern predicament, however, the question remains… “why should you care?” about this voice. Signal receivers, surrounded by incoming texts, attempts to be revolutionary, recall that each text has politics, a socioeconomic locus, a cultural context, an agenda. These texts will be the next scripts for y(our) hybrid heroes. I have nothing to lose but a voice.