In the 1970s and 1980s, young activists discovered video as a new medium and used moving images in their struggle for access to cultural expression for the many, not the few. They were researching and developing new forms of independent and participatory media work – an important step towards realizing the utopian promises of the digital age.
The way a city looks is, on any given day, both summation and confluence of hundreds of decisions made in the years and decades that preceded it. Across the history of photography, numerous photographers have taken it upon themselves to record the version of the city they experience with the understanding that the the presence of the landscape they take for granted is fleeting and vulnerable to choices made by government officials, developers, business interests, and even city residents who inhabit the sidewalk.
“Te yo taln ten nanatil lux cuxul sol xchulel ten lumaltic" (1)
In the misty, inhospitable mountains of Chiapas Mexico, the Zapatista rebel army continues to defend its territory from attack. But the government imposed media silence means that no news of their activities, or evidence of their existence reaches the outside world: a strategic cultivation of amnesia. Knowing that if they are forgotten, they will be massacred, the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN) or Zapatista National Liberation Army has organized activities to invite researchers, students, artists and activists from around the world to apply for one of their escuelitas (schools of life). Being accepted means an invitation to come and live briefly in the communities but (unlike much ethnographic work) here the community itself sets the agenda and terms, date of entry and departure and all the activities in between.