From Tactical Media to the Neo-pragmatists of the Web

In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the 
outcast. Those who once inhabited the suburbs of 
human contempt find that without changing their 
address they eventually live in the metropolis. 
— Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant.


Although the drive for mass participation has been at the core of the utopian avant-garde for generations it was generally believed that the possibility for possibility for mass disalianation existed only as potential, a potential the masses simply did not have the power to power to actualise. However an alternative view emerged with the publication in 1980 of The Practice of Every day Life, in which Jesuit Scholar Michel de Certeau proposed that an invisible world of mass cultural participation far from being a distant utopia already existed albeit surreptitiously in a twilight realm he dubbed “the tactical”.
In an essay published an essay published in Leonardo radical media art book I argue the art and
activist movements that have arisen in the wake of the internet, have come closer than any of the avant-garde groups of the last two centuries to realizing the modernist utopian dream of universal collective participation in cultural production and the rise ofa ‘mass intelligentsia,’ attaining what romantic modernists from Novalis to Joseph Beuys aspired to when they declared “every one an artist.”


Full essay Leonardo radical media art book–is freely available online, and also on print-on-demand:

The full publication is freely available online, and also on print-on-demand: