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[- Matrix Reloaded? Counting On Your Collective Silence.... Collective Silence: Not

Author: gregory g. sholette (pirate greg)

Topic: representing collective resistance
Keywords: the matrix, collectivism, activism, counter-hegemony

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

The movie the Matrix represents two versions of human collectivization. One is involuntary. It consists of massified bodies digitally dreaming in a cavernous computerized nursery. This is like the bodily awe I sometimes experience attempting to cross Broadway at rush hour or when I try to grasp the magnitude of Others competing with me for an airline ticket over the circuitry of the telephone system. Opposed to this reflexive collectively are the militarized cells of men and women, white, brown and black who struggle to release their fellow humans from an invisible bondage. No, this is not the experience I have had as an activist art collaborator, but the way resistance itself is portrayed here is useful.

The Matrix, like V and other examples of this sci-fi sub-genre represent resistance to mass control as heterogeneous, self-sufficient and culturally diverse. At times the violence of the enemy holding these micro-collectives together barely outweighs its internal antagonisms, as when the Judas-like character in The Matrix betrays the group in exchange for returning to the comfort of simulation. The most important moment for the occupation fantasy narrative is when the true and horrible nature of the real world is de-concealed.

In The Matrix, the hero played by a nearly inanimate Keanu Reeves is even offered a choice about the discovery procedure. When several unplugged humans offer him two "virtual" pills --one blue, one red-- he can choose to swallow the blue pill and remain anesthetized within The Matrix, or ingest the red pill and discover what lies behind the screen. Only with the red one there is no turning back to the recompense of the simulated world. He picks the red pill. For artists who choose collective action (the red pill) a tacit, reflexive collective state that provides an illusion of individuality is displaced by a collectivity made up of jagged heaps of partial meanings and chunks of history. Taking the red pill also means that the chimera of individual practice will never return at least with its original luster intact. At some level most artists understand this choice.

Ultimately, the founding or "minting" of any group identity, either corporate or cultural, is always dependent on the material that exceeds this imprint or group signature. However the capitalist, corporate identity aims at purification -- a precise profile stamped-out of seemingly raw materials that fall away as waste. The new identity allows the corporation to indefinitely replicate its name-brand to consumers.

Excerpted from: Counting On Your Collective Silence: Notes on Activist Art as Collaborative Practice. Firs published in Afterimage, The Journal of Media and Cultural Criticism, (11/99) 18-20.

Monica Bellucci Isn't Real?
Winning the award for Most Hilarious Completely Incorrect Reporting About The
Matrix: Reloaded, the Times Online has a story featuring this interesting "fact"
about the movie:
Neo gets a love scene in the first sequel with Monica Bellucci, a virtual person played
by Carrie-Anne Moss.

I'm sure the lovely Monica Bellucci would be stunned to learn that she is a "virtual
person." Let's not tell her, OK? We've all seen in Blade Runner how badly it can turn
out when a replicant finds out she's not human. I was suspicious right away, though
-- nobody could be that gorgeous.

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Submitted by gregory sholette
Posted on Tue May 20, 2003 at 8:00 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME

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