Austinist interviewed author, scholar and documentarian, Douglas Rushkoff, in advance of his 7:30 pm talk this evening that will certainly be attended by various UT ad progam students and GSD+M employees, among other cultural sponges.
This is the topic he plans to address:
I’m hoping to address how we miss the opportunities offered to us by new media, how we’ve come to accept social constructions as given circumstances, and why – even though deep down we know better – we seem incapable of acting on our knowledge. We are, most of us, fully aware that our unnecessary addiction to cash and oil will soon cost us our way of living. Resistance from those we exploit – whether it’s people or the planet itself – will inevitably break through the insulating dream we’re so intent on maintaining around ourselves. The iPod earbuds will only block out so much noise before problems make themselves known to us.
I want to look at the ways in which we’ve been programmed to ignore the warning signs, the history of social control, and its modern incarnation in marketing and propaganda.
Later in the interview, Rushkoff is asked about the unregulated dissemination of music, video, and other content that may be owned by corporations?
Here, he shows his anti-corporate teeth.
Corporations don’t exist, and shouldn’t “own” anything. People can own stuff, and corporations can assist people in doing that.
Music can be created by someone who then receives compensation for it. It used to be that a person needed a big company to distribute that work. Now a person doesn’t need that big company anymore. The big companies – instead of helping distribute music, are now more concerned with blocking the distribution of work. They are in the protection business. Most of all, they are protecting themselves – attempting to preserve a role for themselves in a landscape that no longer requires them.
What they should be doing, instead, is learning how to identify and develop talent. Something done by a label should be higher quality – think Deutsche Gramaphone – because it has the benefit of all those great experts. But most labels are now really just law firms, who know little about music. It goes back to basic competency in the industry that they’re supposed to be running.
Rushkoff currently teaches media theory at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program where he is a founder of Technorealism, which involves a continuous critical examination of how technologies might help or hinder people in the struggle to improve the quality of their lives, their communities, and their economic, social, and political structures.