One of the first difficulties was in finding the footage that we needed. I had trouble with this, I think a lot of us in this project did; because we're working first of all with really abstract ideas, and these are ideas that don't ncessasrily lend themselves to clear visuals. I'm working with pedagogical innovation with technology, and there's not actually a whole lot of easy ways to show that. How do you show that besides kids working on computers? But to take that even further, the things that we could find were usually, especially in the case of kids working on computers and using technologies, that was owned, by corporations, that was owned and protected by copyright. So finding enough information to fill what would be an hour of what needed to be a deep exploration and engaging exploration of all these different issues, was a continual challenge, made even harder by limits of copyright.
I ended up using a lot of video interviews because they were available via open source and Creative Commons licenses, but they were just videos of people talking, so it's hard to do interesting things with that. And, as I'll talk about in a second, finding interesting ways to work with boring footage, that didn't turn out to be what my job was; that turned out to be the job of the editor, so it was my problem, but it wasn't being dealt with by me, it was being dealt with by the person who was editing, and ergo writing, my part.
Couple things that I'm thinking about now as a teacher. The first thing is reconsidering my word limits and length limits that I ask of students, to really help students think of their projects rhetorically, and let them be as long or as short as they need to be to do the deep work that we should focus on instead. Rather than arbitrary rules and assignments, I'd really like us to be focusing on creating the work that needs to be created to do the job that the students want to do. And that speaks more to writing in the real world, where there aren't a whole lot of word count [requirements], but instead, in fact, we have to trim down the stuff that we want to say, to a letter to the editor or one proposal that's only one page. So that's a new way of approaching writing and creation, I think.
And I think the final thing that I learned from this experience was, going through it all, on my own, really helps me understand what my students are doing on their own. So I need to remember, as a teacher, to keep sharing and working on my own projects, and doing the same things I ask them to do. And I think that if I share what I've learned from my continual experiments in multimodal education, that will keep me in touch with the things that I want them to do.
When my cohort and I started talking about ideas for a collaborative video project that would serve as the capstone assignment in Victor Vitanza's 802 class, the one thing that seemed like we could all start overlapping on was the idea of change, of working against the status quo, of revolution. My research interest is about making change too, about digitally-informed pedagogies that would change the school system. After discussing the possible points of overlap with our varied research interests, we came to the idea of producing a video project that set our variety of positions, our varied themes and content, our opinions and arguments, and our research backgrounds into a Derridean (1993) "free play" with each other. We theorized that new ideas could come from the "seams" (Landow, 2006, p. 61) when pressed up against each other. In an Ulmerian (2003) sense of electrate "felt" (p. 36), images and concepts would frame and re-frame revolution in a multicolored light made visible in the overlap, allowing us to speak to revolution without hierarchical order nor the static organization of any one particular conclusion.
I knew that my position—of technology ushering in a pedagogical revolution— was very optimistic while other approaches in the group would have a much more critical position on revolution, and I thought that would be interesting, to intersect with these critical ideas, to let them serve as counterpoint to each other, which would then force me to present a more careful, balanced exploration of my own sense of revolution. This led me to qualify technological excitement with awareness of the ways it falls short, the dangers; in engaging in this creative play with my cohort, I found my own ideas challenged as they were brought to stark (though kaleidoscopic) light; against the backdrops of violence and failed political revolutions, I was made to consider the potential violence of any revolution—even the use of technology in the classroom. Inspired by the viewpoints of my peers, I brought in musings on Paul Virilio's (1999) warning that no technology comes without cost: "When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane you also invent the plane crash" (p. 89). On the other side of the coin, content I provided to the group about not only the potential of technological innovation in the classroom, but also the need of technological innovation, as explained by Kathleen Yancey and James Gee (2007), for the sake of all of society, added new exigencies to the project. As Connie Yowell argued, "There is no longer a promised future for all kids. If people don't really learn how to learn, and how to engage, and be flexible and adaptive, and find communities, and have ideas about things they want to do now, we're just really in trouble" (as quoted in Heick, 2017).
In building the video, however, a challenge that jumped out right at the start was how difficult it was to find enough footage available via Creative Commons to compose an hour of interesting content. All of our concepts were pretty abstract, including mine: technological innovation in the classroom. What do we do to show that, besides students using technology? And even that was difficult, because most images of students using computers were part of corporate promotions and footage. It was difficult finding the content to flesh this out; I ended up using a lot of footage from Creative Commons-licensed web interviews from some of the big names that informed my research, which worked okay, but were generally just videos of talking heads, talking about revolutionary ideas. It made it hard for the editors to do interesting things with. I was here brought up against the ironic challenge that I see echoed across the experiences of the rest of my cohort: though we played with, explored, and called for revolution, we were creatively bound by the materials which were set up by and belonged to legally entrenched structures.
The experience has made me rethink some of the foundational tenets of my research. Inspired by exciting theories about hypertext by George Landow, collective intelligence by Pierre Levy, using ideas like Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's concept of the rhizome, I had the idea that on the internet the concept of authorship could be completely rewritten, overwritten, that new things could come from, and only from, the collective, that there was a replacement to the old paradigm's need for hierarchy and expertise. But I found that even as we talk about new ideas, if we are trying to convey these ideas via structurally entrenched procedures, the product will be confined and its potential as revolution neutered. In a video project such as our revolution video, which was designed to seek publication, we were continually shaped and limited by the ways that power manifests itself, forms hierarchies, and informs and controls organization and cohesion.
Through this experience I've grown to really empathize with my students and understand what I'm asking them to do with a collaborative multimodal project, to acknowledge that coming together on something is hard, and to devote time to being aware of these potential creative limitations and issues, and engaging in discussion and training about how to organize and work together. I'll also be devoting much more class time to building collaborative databases where students can find and share assets that they're allowed to use. I'll work with my students to understand the systems at play that limit and control the resources and rhetorical possibilities available to them, and encourage them to both use and critique these systems in developing their voices, be they creative, academic, and/or perhaps… revolutionary.
|With a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, Daniel Frank teaches composition and technical writing in the University of California, Santa Barbara Writing Program. Dan's research interests include game-based pedagogy, virtual text-spaces, passionate affinity spaces, and connected learning. As a gamer and a performer, Dan is continually interested in helping students find their own passion as they learn to create, play, and communicate research, argumentation, and writing across genres.|
So for my part of the video, after I conceptualized my main idea, I had to face the challenges of the availability and accessibility of relevant material. In my case, in the overall process, I learned that being away from my home country, in other words, being an international student, contacting and accessing organizations and following up with them to acquire material was a challenge. And that was mainly because of their unresponsive feedback.
And also there was another factor, that it was time-taking. So, considering time limitations on my project, I had to turn my attention to the sources that allow[ed me] to repreoduce and use images and photos under the Creative Commons license such as Flickr. But there, again, I had to face the lack of usable images. By usable images I mean the images that I think were pertinent to the main idea of my project.
So, experiencing troubles in my research, I learned that most images that I found pertinent to my topic were actually owned by some multinational stock photo agency that had copyright restrictions on them. And most of those images were quite expensive. So the policies of these companies actually kind of tend to hinder the process of creativity by increasing the cost of access to popular material.
So this made me turn my attention to make my own image and develop my own video. Since, for my project, I wanted to show that how the initial vision of Pakistan was different from the current situation, I decided to work on a symbolic idea. So in that symbolic message, I wanted to show that how by disrespecting minorities and weak people's rights, we are kind of defying Pakistan's real ideology. Since this ideology is embodied in Pakistan's flag, where the green color represents the Muslim majority, and the white color represents people from other religious minorities, I decided to work on Pakistan's flag, to show how the current situation, by jeapordizing weak people's rights, kind of tarnishes Pakistan's ideology.
So for this reason, I made a drawing of Pakistan's flag and used it for my video. So in order to show the effects of parochial religious approaches, most of which are based on bigotry, I placed my drawing under a rectangular, clear, glass tray, filled up with plain water. So the water in the tray had the reflection of the flag that was placed underneath it. To show how rigidity, sectarianism, conservationism, and intolerance are affecting Pakistan, I dripped small drops of different colors in plain water. So as the drops dripped in clear water one by one, slowly, they created different streaks of colors, each drop symbolized a significant problem that Pakistan is suffering from. So each drop with its distinct color would disfigure the flag, hence spoiling the overall image. Ultimately, the water in the tray wasn't reflecting the flag anymore. The reflection was stained, blemished, and it was marred, just like the country's vision.
In this whole process I filmed the process of dripping colored drops, I filmed the process of the change of water's color in the tray, so now I had my own film to use without worrying about the problems of copyright and ownership and authorship.
The Making of a Symbolic Video to Depict Problems in Pakistan
While taking a class on Cultural Research Methods with Victor Vitanza in the first year of my PhD program, two things sparked my interests in exploring cultural entanglements in Pakistan, my home country: my intense exploration of ethnography and heuristics, and my exposure and presence in a foreign country. Noticing and posing questions about cultural differences is quite normal for someone who hails from a country in the East—Pakistan—and pursues her higher studies in the West—the US. Thus, most readings and debates in our classroom settings would make me ask pressing questions about the existence of current problems that Pakistani society is suffering from. That is where I started to envisage the manifestation of my thoughts about illustrating the circumstantial predicaments of Pakistan in the form of a video project for my class assignment.
Driven by our disciplinary training in visual communication and our class debates that were mostly centered around the role of orality and literacy in cultural understandings, five of us (my cohort fellows) decided to work on a collaborative project to produce a film on the topic of "The Rhetoric of Revolution: A Cynical Cycle." While each of us brought in unique perspectives regarding the idea of revolution, for my part, I wanted to focus on the grave problems of religious intolerance, conservatism, and chauvinism in Pakistan. These phenomena mainly affect the marginal sections of society, i.e., women and minorities. I planned to relate these issues with Pakistan's historical background wherein the creation of Pakistan in the aftermath of the subcontinent's division was a result of the revolution that took place after a years-long independence movement to get freedom from British colonialism. With the creation of the new country, however, it was vowed that Pakistan—albeit made for the Muslim majority of the subcontinent—will be a friendly abode to people belonging to other religions. The country's flag explains this vow quite well, whereby the green color symbolizes the country's Muslim majority and the white color symbolizes people from other religious minorities. The current situation in Pakistan, unfortunately, is quite a contrast to the vision of the country envisaged by its founders.
Many scholars and analysts argue that the perpetuation of an anarchic system that privileges few is one of the many reasons for instability and insecurity in the country. While there may be many reasons for the unruly situation in Pakistan, the fact remains that the country has been mired in difficulties and has witnessed the separation of one of its wings—the separation of East Pakistan as Bangladesh—along with troubled borders on eastern and western sides. Although Pakistan has managed to exist on the world map in its history of almost seventy years now, this existence has brought no hope for its marginalized sections. On the contrary, the problems of terrorism, the empowerment of conservative leaning citizens, and bigotry have all given rise to uncertainty and despondency. Describing this situation with the help of images and video clips (mostly from news organizations in the country), I conceived for my project to propose the argument that people in Pakistan today await another revolution whereby a messiah saves them from the clutches of anarchy, injustice, and misfortune. In other words, my part in the project endorses the idea that revolution is a cynical cycle.
Since all five persons in my group had their unique and distinct approaches to envision the idea of revolution, an intriguing motive for collaboration on this project was to enrich it with multiple voices. For my part of the video, however, after conceptualizing my main idea, I had to face the challenges of the availability and accessibility of relevant material when I started my search for relevant images and video clips. That is where I thought about working on a symbolic idea whereby I wanted to manifest my thoughts in the form of a stained and tainted symbolic picture/video of Pakistan's flag (explained at length in the video project).
Although I had an uneasy experience at the beginning of my project, the overall project turned out to be a learning experience about ideas related to ownership and copyrights. Most copyright debates focus on the commercial side of these laws. Although they largely seem to affect technological, economic, and cultural development, they impact educational sectors, too. In fact, in academic settings, authors do not work in seclusion. They tend to incorporate and build upon the ideas from other creators, artists, and writers. The concept of ownership and copyright makes the idea of expanding on already existing artworks and scholarship quite difficult. Keeping this in view, copyright enforcement at times hinders the process of creativity, making it vulnerable to the commercial motives of holders' interests.
Commenting on the intricacy of the issue, Siva Vaidhyanathan (2001) has argued that "the law protects the producers and tax[es] consumers. It rewards works already created and limits works yet to be created" (p. 4). Vaidhyanathan's views, to a large extent, resonate with the experience that I had in the making of my video. Moreover, the issue becomes more complex in developing countries. For example, Walter Park (2010) has described the dearth of research regarding the economic impacts of copyright in the developing world (p. 64). Besides this, Park argued that, "the cost of copyright protection is likely to be higher in developing countries. Their levels of income and wealth are lower, so royalties and licensing payments are more burdensome to creators in developing countries" (p. 64). Based on my teaching experience in a developing country—Pakistan—the cost of access to knowledge is relatively higher for most students there. Thus, this not only tends to hamper cultural and technological development, it also increases the hazards of piracy and counterfeiting.
Roland Barthes (1977) has raised quite valid concerns about the idea of authorship. Considering reading as the "true locus of writing," Barthes deems a text (also a piece of art such as music or painting, etc.) as a mixture of multiple writings. This multiplicity, according to him, is collected in the reader, by which Barthes means the consumer. Barthes (1977) further argued that "the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author" (p. 148). Barthes' views call our attention to the fact that any piece of art (music, picture, painting, book, literature, etc.) is actually public property, which can and should be used for further creativity. Finally, inspired by Barthes' ideas of authorship wherein authorship lies in a reader or consumer, I maintain that copyright laws should encourage the free flow of information and democratic discourses that boost creativity in scholarly research.
|Firasat Jabeen is Fulbright scholar from Pakistan. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, an interdisciplinary program at Clemson University. Her research focuses on the intersection of rhetoric, communication, and critical theory and its scope is fundamentally transdisciplinary. She has presented her research at prestigious conferences of rhetoric and communication in the US and Pakistan. Some of these conferences include Conference on College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society of America, International Association for Media and Communication Research, and National Communication Association.|
My vision, as part of our collaborative project, was to show how in different contexts, revolution also has a negative meaning. It has a destructive outcome. Because that was my personal experience, and I thought that that would be my contribution to our overall vision of the project.
My individual experience was mainly one of frustration, and that has nothing to do with working with my colleagues or anything, I think we worked really well together, but the frustration came from the difficulties that I was having with the copyright issues. Not only me, all of us were having different levels of issues in relation to copyright. Because we were talking about revolution, we were gathering materials that we all wanted to use to put together a strong argument, a strong composition.
When I think of revolution, when I talk about revolution, in my own sociocultural context, I directly associate that with one of my favorite Turkish poets, Nazim Hikmet.
So, Nazim Hikmet was an accomplished poet and writer, a screenwriter, a novelist, who truly devoted his life, thinking, poetry, and writing, to social justice and equality for all the people of the Republic of Turkey, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, and gender.
His ideology of revolution, how he believed in revolution, did not only serve the Turkish people—I think that's a really important point to make, especially when we're talking about revolution, it was not about only Turkish people; it was about all the people, who came together in the land that the political system called "Now this is the Republic of Turkey."
In addition, not being able to use any of his works and the recording that I originally wanted to use for this project was a huge difficulty, because him being a symbol of revolution did not only represent the hope for revolution, the hope for the betterment of the people, which is what he fought for; he fought against an oppressive Turkish state, he fought against oppressive American imperialism, and what those two political institutions, what they were doing to people, in Turkey.
But, due to his beliefs, due to his actions, due to his writings, he also suffered through very negative outcomes. He spent most of his life either in prison or in exile, he was stripped of his citizenship, and he was considered a traitor by the Turkish state, and he did not receive his citizenship back [until] I assume after almost 50 years since he died.
But as a person who wanted only the best for his own country, his own homeland, he was an outsider, he was an outcast. And what he had to go through is actually a reality and a story for a majority of the people in Turkey who experienced revolution in different settings and different contexts. He's just one of the names. He's just one of the faces. That's why using him was really important, to be able to illustrate how revolution has those negative outcomes.
"…the Revolution, the truth of the Revolution, doesn't exist. It thus restores hope. "The People" says Rivarol, "did not want the Revolution, they only wanted the spectacle." This is the only way to preserve the seduction of Revolution, rather than nullifying it in its truth" (Baudrillard, 1988c, p. 154)
"It is true that the idea of revolution itself is ambiguous; it is Western insofar as it relates to a transformation of the State, but Eastern insofar as it envisions destruction, the abolition of the State" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, p. 385)
"I do not believe in revolution!" I remember saying during one of the meetings we had for our film project. It was difficult to clearly articulate the reasoning behind my disbelief to my colleagues. The nonexplanation I was able to offer was: "You do not know what a revolution does to a nation and its people." What the idea of revolution represented for me was a sense of hope and change that always remains unfulfilled as it causes violence, destruction, and chaos. Almost four years after its making, reflecting on this film project disclosed that my disbelief in revolution was never actually a disbelief in the truth of revolution: a desired hope for a vague idea of change by the people. Rather, my position toward revolution was a strong reaction and resistance to the impacts of counter-revolutionary systems of power.
In the context of this webtext, my effort is to unpack the relation between revolution, copyright, and counter-revolution. I approach the concept of copyright/ing as a counter-revolutionary method of control that is abused by authoritarian systems as a way to absorb the change of revolution back into the networks of State power and its corporate structure. I draw from my personal experiences and observations about the impacts of an oppressive State system and I use my home country—Turkey—as a specific case of counter-revolution.
I start with a return to the rhetorical situation that formed the basis of our film's conjecture—revolution is owned and copyrighted—which is our individual and collective experiences in Victor Vitanza's Cultural Research Methods class. The most influential aspect of Vitanza's class was his critical emphasis on and innovative vision about the para/logic of the cut as a method of disruption and change.The critical focus of Vitanza's course had an impact on my reflection on the political history of Turkey, which I consider a tragic story of failed revolution promises. What triggered me to talk about Turkey's political history in our class discussions and eventually became my motivation to work on a film project about revolution was a disturbing incident which took place at my alma mater, Ege University, at the time of attending Vitanza's seminar (Spring 2015). A student, Firat Yilmaz Cakiroglu, was stabbed to death on Ege University's campus because of a violent clash between two student groups with opposing ideologies. The Turkish media reported that there was a growing tension between these two groups which remained unaddressed by the authorities until the time of the tragic event. This is an old story for Turkey as this was not the first time a political clash between university students ended with violence and death.
I grew up with these kinds of stories that my parents told me. They were college students during the years that led to the 1980 military coup in Turkey and lost many friends to violent clashes among student groups of different political ideologies. What my mother always thought as illogical was how all these different student bodies wanted the same revolution—freedom and equality for the people as they fought against injustice and imperialism—yet they violently attacked one another because of their indifferences about the path that would accomplish the desired revolution. According to my father, everybody wanted a revolution as long as it replaced the previous system with a new one that represented and privileged the values of a particular group and/or political ideology over others. Just a brief look at the history of Turkey reveals that the country already had two successful coups prior to the 1980 coup d'état and since then has experienced several other coup attempts, plans, and military memorandums. These series of drastic acts of change (one might call revolution) almost always resulted in marginalizing world views that were not valued by the new system and evidently shaped the necessary grounding for another revolutionary vision/movement to form itself.
Returning to this event in the context of this current project made me realize an important aspect about my vision that remained unexplored to me while working on our film project: when it comes to the idea of revolution, the spectacle of hope for change through resistance appears to be more desired than the revolution itself. As I intend to unpack the relation between revolution and counter-revolution as part of our current collective voice, I make another return to another revolutionary movement that was influential over my position in producing our film: #OcuppyGezi.
What happened to Firat, the gross violence that emerged out of the internal division and the clash among different world views, made it almost inevitable for me not to think about the Gezi events; what Gezi represented for me when it happened was hope for ending the internal division that has been paralyzing Turkey. Gezi brought different generations from different political, economic, socio-cultural, and religious backgrounds together. The people who came together for Gezi resisted against the extreme violence of Erdogan's police State. Unfortunately, the reason I wanted to talk about Gezi in the context of our film was to show how this revolution attempt failed because of the strategic use of division by Erdogan's regime that was also evident in the case of Firat: us vs. them. This was my way of proving why I did not believe in revolution.
During the Gezi events, Erdogan used a strong discriminatory and alienating rhetoric to delegitimize the movement as a degenerate attempt for revolution that was doomed to fail. Erdogan called the youth of Gezi "çapulcu" (roughly translated as looters or vandals) and he narrated the meaning of Gezi as a hopeless guerrilla movement and a terrorist activity aimed at hurting the legitimacy of his regime. The increasing police violence used against the people, combined with the zero-tolerance policy toward the so-called Gezi terrorists, was rooted in Erdogan's rhetoric of "either you are with me or against me." It did not occur to me back then, but folks, this is the rhetoric that constructs the building blocks of a dictatorship.
Roland Barthes (1989) wrote that "the fantasy is a dictator (the one whose profession it was, in the Middle Ages, to dictate letters and rule the art of dictamen, an important variety of rhetorical genre): everything comes into play in this dictation" (p. 164). One of the things that Gezi events did was to show how Erdogan dictated a fantasy of his vision and to what extent this fantasy was a reality for many in Turkey. Erdogan's dream challenged how the previous governments disguised their misconduct under their corrupted ethical devotion to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's secular vision, the founding father of the Republic of Turkey. Here is a reality check: before Erdogan, Turkey's bourgeoisie socialists owned our secularism and modernity, and bourgeoisie nationalists owned our religious, cultural, and ethnic values. They both claimed to have the best vision to keep Ataturk's Turkey alive while they discriminated against the members of the society who did not belong to (or were not accepted as members of) either of these main groups. In other words, before Erdogan's regime, the previous governments abused Ataturk's vision for the future of Turkey as a secular, modern (but not Westernized), and inclusive-diverse Eastern country: a future that I hope to have for my country one day. As a result, Erdogan's Political Islam became a response to the call of the people who felt like outsiders in their own country. Erdogan's approach was detaching religion from any claims of secularization and/or nationalization: Islam needed to be there for Muslims. To an extent, Erdogan wanted revolution, and what his regime has been doing definitely did change Turkey; however, I argue that it did not take too long for Erdogan's vision of revolution to fall back into the traps of counter-revolution; since, I claim, what became of his Turkey today is a dictatorship in disguise.
As Erdogan alienated and othered the people of Gezi as terrorists, traitors, and as not of his own people, I believe Turkey witnessed being drawn back into a counter-revolutionary system grounded by a police State. After this point, there were only two options for the people: either be with Erdogan or be against him. Erdogan clearly dictated this rhetoric of us vs. them during Gezi through his strategic censorship that restricted and controlled the people's access to various social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), which became a means to label anyone as a threat who stated an opinion that challenged the government's legitimacy. This excessive censorship lead to the imprisonment of many influential public figures (intellectuals, journalists and reporters, artists) because of their criticism toward Erdogan and his response to the Gezi events. After the Gezi slowly faded away, this strategic censorship over the people continued to increase in its extent. Passing a law that legitimized censorship and internet surveillance in February 2014 allowed Erdogan's regime to abuse their position of power as they continually blocked social media sites and google whenever they saw fit. This is how a dictatorship in disguise comes into being: dictating people's minds by stripping them of their basic rights, in particular, their rights to freedom of expression.
This return to Gezi revealed that a counter-revolution— in the case of Turkey, the actions of authoritarian regimes—absorbs a revolutionary movement back into its systems by controlling, manipulating, and paralyzing its means of communication. As of now, I am at the point of another return that wants to be made: Return to Nazim Hikmet.
Reading Jacques Derrida's (1986) Glas in Vitanza's class played a vital role for me to decide what I wanted to do for our film project. Discussing "the para/logic of the cut" and "the para/logical re/turns" in relation to Derrida's work, along with reading Gregory Ulmer's (1985) Applied Grammatology, was a way to see the invention of a new mode of representational writing that is performative and deformative at the same time: para/logical texts that cut and bleed. A writing that grafts and mimics its signs and utterances as it turns them upside down…Writing with differAnce, as Vitanza always emphasized. The form, structure, organization, use of language, style and aesthetics of Derrida's Glas made me think of one name as he was a symbol of revolution for me: Nazim Hikmet. Hikmet's poetry, or para-poetry, was a writing that is performative and deformative. He was one of the most influential figures who cut the classical tradition of poetry in Turkey. His cut mimicked his vision of revolution and revolutionized the Turkish poetry as he performed who he was as a man of revolution, man of the people.
I wanted to use a voice recording of him performing one of his poems titled "Bahr-i Hazer" (The Caspian Sea). Hikmet reading this poem was a performance of the cut in form, style, and meaning. The first time I listened to his performance of "Bahri-i Hazer," I felt how the boat on the sea was going up and down and up and down as his voice moved through the waves of the Caspian Sea. As I discuss in my video essay, I was able to use neither this poem nor any of his other works as part of our film project because of the copyright restrictions. Revisiting my reaction and response to the idea of "copyrighting a symbol of revolution" in the context of this current project had an impact on my understanding of the notion of copyright. The very act of copy/righting is beyond the ethical responsibility of protecting an author's work; today, copy/righting is about consumption in the context of dictating what is being consumed and how it is being consumed as a path to control the consumer: the people. In a consumer society governed by the networks of a dictatorship in disguise, copy/righting has become a counter-revolutionary tool; it is a gateway to oppressive censorship and surveillance over free speech and freedom of belief under the control and abuse of authoritarian regimes.
What happened in Turkey since we made our film speaks to my current position as I consider copy/righting as an essential technical criteria that is a means to a counter-revolutionary formation (Katz, 1992, p. 257). The failed coup attempt of the 2016 summer in Turkey and the state of emergency that lasted for two years afterwards marks a period that I can only describe as a state of copyrighting the dictated legitimacy of Erdogan's regime. I experienced the day of the coup attempt (I was visiting home) and witnessed millions of people throwing themselves on the streets to defend Erdogan's Turkey. Every speech Erdogan delivered afterwards felt as though he was reading from a page taken out of an already existing narrative that glorified the failed coup attempt as the day of saving democracy and the unity of the country, which became a national holiday now celebrated every year. He legitimized this narrative by imprisoning every so-called suspect without a proper trial. The government agencies started to survey individual social media accounts, emails, phone conversations, and text messages to find probable cause to arrest any individual Erdogan's regime targeted as a threat. To this day, every time I am on the phone with my mother talking about the situation of Turkey, she changes the subject because she fears that we are being listened to and that I would say something wrong and become a target. She is like many others in Turkey, who are living in a state of fear and continuing lives that are copy/righted by Erdogan.
The purpose of a counter-revolution unveils itself to be copyright/ing revolution to establish absolute control over revolution's claim and right to freedom of speech and expression of ideas.
|Eda Ozyesilpinar is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at University of Texas at El Paso. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her research focus falls into a broad trajectory of border-identity-politics, rhetorical cartography, space/place studies, and comparative-cultural rhetorics. This interdisciplinary frame converges with rhetoric-composition studies in her work with a focus on rhetorical circulation, multicultural writing, translingualism, digital and multimedia/multimodal rhetorics, and English Language Learner (ELL) instruction. She advocates anti-discriminative and multicultural research and teaching practices challenging social, racial, and ethic injustice, inequality, and discrimination. Her academic and creative work appeared in Immediacy and Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric's Change. In addition, she presented her research both national and international conferences such as Conference on College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society of America, and Rhetoric Society of Europe, and National Communication Association.|
And so there was just something in the air that lended itself to this theme of revolution; you had Anonymous doing stuff, in the first week after I moved to South Carolina, that's when Ferguson happened, so there was that idea, and I think in a lot of ways Ferguson was one flashpoint where we saw old methods being revolutionized by new methods, so protestors on the street, which is an old method, but as they were being gassed by police, you also had people from the Middle East and Egypt and other places that have just gone through this kind of violence, giving them tips on what to do; here's what to do if you're tear gassed, here's how you build a DIY gas mask. So there was a lot of that in the air, and I think it demanded a response.
But for me there was one particular moment early on in creating the first take of the video where I wanted to use a song that got stuck in my head because it's talking about the post 9/11 world, and this constant cycle of violence that is also talked about in the video, and it was copyrighted, I think by Sony, and I'm not sure I can even say Sony on video without having to pay them money, but that was never gonna happen, we were not gonna be able to use that, and so I had to find a song that matched that, that had the same message and the same feel; I don't know that I actually did that, but, looking at that first take of the video, you can clearly see, if you listen to the song, that it's influenced by that song.
And not being able to use it, not being able to take what somebody else did and build on it, and make it something that would apply to what I'm doing, I think was detrimental to the process, it definitely had an impact.
It's a little interesting teaching freshman composition these days, especially when we add digital media into the mix, because in a lot of ways, the internet doesn't really care about copyright as much as the rest of the world seems to. And it's only when you enter those structures of power or ownership that you have to start thinking about, somebody can sue me because I used their image, or this video that I spent hours working on and put on YouTube can be taken down by a corporation because I used their image without permission, and then suddenly that work is down the drain.
One, I think that's a problem for students getting out there in the world who want to get their ideas out, but I also think that as we keep going forward, as new media takes hold, and as people get used to navigating it, that this is just going to become second nature at some level; people learn how to get around the things that hinder them, and it's just the way the world works. It's not so much a revolution anymore as it is just trying to find a way in an existing system; and you can take that however you want, for good and for bad.
During a seminar in cultural research methods in the second semester of my PhD program, my cohort and I were presented with a fantastic opportunity to practice collaborative authorship in the wild. We created the video "Rhetoric of Revolution" as a response to the readings being done in the class, which was centered around more aleatory methods, and the shifts from orality to literacy to something else. Between this, and the air of revolution at the time (in Turkey; in Ferguson, MO; and elsewhere), and our own interests in revolutions of various types, we quickly settled on this as a theme, the topic that we would examine through aleatory methods—in this case, by taking existing footage, our own, and mixing them together according to different aesthetics. This quickly posed problems; much of the footage we wished to use was hidden behind copyright, and could not be used to remix, adapt, or modify without permission from the owner. Perhaps the most jarring fact in the experience was the fact that the copyright was frequently held not by individuals, but by corporations, by entities that were centers of money and power already, in contrast to the populist nature of the material we sought. It became clear, rather quickly, that, among all these other revolutions we were trying to analyze and intercede in, what was also needed was a revolution against copyright.
I personally brought to this my distrust of revolution. Revolutions, in my view, don't necessarily make things better, and are frequently co-opted by those in power or other bad actors and hijacked to their own ends. Despite the need for what is often seen as revolutionary thinking, when making this video, I was very cynical that there could be a successful revolution. The first ten minutes of the video—the first passage I stitched together—was cut to a temporary musical track which included the song "Anthrax" by Kimya Dawson (2003), a take on the post-9/11 world that begins with a chant that "One good turn deserves another," passes through a litany of poisons in the air, including hatred, and "Skin and bones and telephones and file cabinets / Coke machines, firemen, landing gear and cement." The song ends not with a call to revolution, but with the decision that "[t]his is just a test, take it with love and you will pass / You will be rewarded if you do your very best." Of course, by the second cut of even this portion of the video, the song was gone, replaced by Creative Commons-licensed work.
The problem here is that being limited by copyright restrictions means that one is not free to practice transdisciplinary thinking. By proclaiming that, by law, some thoughts are the property of a certain interest and cannot be intermingled, altered, or even used in unauthorized ways, the law ultimately enshrines these ideas as unalterable, unapproachable. Ideas and compositions thus become the property of a sole owner, and the notion that ideas arise from an individual within a certain context is lost. The idea, the artwork, the recording all become the result of one person's work. And any opportunity to engage with that idea, to take it further or to treat it critically, is lost. As bell hooks (2010) notes, "with diverse thinkers to work toward a greater understanding of the dynamics of race, gender, and class is essential for those of us who want to move beyond one-dimensional ways of thinking, being, and living" (p. 37). This kind of dialogue between diverse points of view is the kind of thinking that we attempted in the video project. But repeatedly running into copyright walls left us with two dialogues: one that could occur behind the scenes, between the authors, that would broach every topic and view every video, even the copyrighted ones, and a secondary conversation that was not as complete because obeying copyright law meant excluding necessary parts of the conversations in a finalized piece.
One aspect that this project highlights is the networked nature of current protest and revolution. One particularly telling incident involves Palestinians tweeting solidarity with protestors in Ferguson, MO, and offering advice on what to do if the protesters are teargassed. This is the context in which current composition occurs. Like our video, ideas must cross borders and boundaries between nations as well as between authors. Gregory L. Ulmer (2012) identifies a shift in apparatus away from the written word as we currently conceive it, and included in this is the networked nature of culture. Such a networked culture breeds a notion of authorship that is similarly networked, arranged as a peer-to-peer relationship rather than the hierarchical structure of authorship implicit within current copyright laws.
Further scholarship necessarily must tackle the new nature of composing in such an environment, and stage a type of revolution against copyright itself. Some guides to this kind of composition already exist. Karl Stolley (2008) calls for rhetoric and composition scholars to move toward more open formats, using filetypes and programs that are available to a wider array of users. James Gee (2007) argues for reconfiguring the classroom using the examples of video games, another genre of new media. The struggles we encountered during the creation of this video project only serve to illustrate the necessity of theorizing and practicing these new forms of composing, and continuing to find ways around strict copyright laws. And because of my own distrust of revolution, I remain unconvinced that a revolution against copyright is what is needed, instead of a transformation of the existing system. In the meantime, we struggle to create a new notion of composition within that stringent existing system.
|Joshua Wood is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Syracuse University's department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition. His research focuses primarily on the intersections of race and identity, games, and pedagogy. His digital game, Codex Switch, focusing on identity formation told through the lens of a platformer, is forthcoming from OneShot: A Journal of Critical Play and Games. He has also published work on propaganda rhetorics and affect in Textshop Experiments. Wood earned his PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design from Clemson University in 2018.|
|Daniel Frank (Video Editing, Transcription, Resources, Personal Postscript)
With a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, Daniel Frank teaches composition and technical writing in the University of Santa Barbara Writing Program. Dan's research interests include game-based pedagogy, virtual text-spaces, passionate affinity spaces, and connected learning. As a gamer and a performer, Dan is continually interested in helping students find their own passion as they learn to create, play, and communicate research, argumentation, and writing across genres.
|Firasat Jabeen (Synopsis, Personal Postscript, General Editing)
Firasat Jabeen is Fulbright scholar from Pakistan. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, an interdisciplinary program at Clemson University. Her research focuses on the intersection of rhetoric, communication, and critical theory and its scope is fundamentally transdisciplinary. She has presented her research at prestigious conferences of rhetoric and communication in the US and Pakistan. Some of these conferences include Conference on College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society of America, International Association for Media and Communication Research, and National Communication Association.
|Eda Ozyesilpinar (Synopsis, Personal Postscript, General Editing)
Eda Ozyesilpinar is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at University of Texas at El Paso. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her research focus falls into a broad trajectory of border-identity-politics, rhetorical cartography, space/place studies, and comparative-cultural rhetorics. This interdisciplinary frame converges with rhetoric-composition studies in her work with a focus on rhetorical circulation, multi-cultural writing, translingualism, digital and multimedia/multimodal rhetorics, and English Language Learner (ELL) instruction. She advocates anti-discriminative and multicultural research and teaching practices challenging social, racial, and ethic injustice, inequality, and discrimination. Her academic and creative work appeared in Immediacy and Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric's Change. In addition, she presented her research both national and international conferences such as Conference on College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society of America, and Rhetoric Society of Europe, and National Communication Association.
|Joshua Wood (Conclusion, Personal Postscript, General Editing)
Joshua Wood is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Syracuse University's department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition. His research focuses primarily on the intersections of race and identity, games, and pedagogy. His digital game, Codex Switch, focusing on identity formation told through the lens of a platformer, is forthcoming from OneShot: A Journal of Critical Play and Games. He has also published work on propaganda rhetorics and affect in Textshop Experiments. Wood earned his PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design from Clemson University in 2018.
|Nathan Riggs (Document Design, Web Design, Coding)
Nathan Riggs is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Technical and Professional Writing at Miami University's Hamilton Campus, in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Writing. His scholarly work, creative work, and gameboy collection can be found partially at http://www.nathanriggs.com.
The age of post-information technology and its networked system of global, online communication platforms appear to promise individuals, groups, and communities a sense of freedom, offering re/active participation in digital environments. Marshall McLuhan (1967) defined these digitally connected environments as part of a "global village…a simultaneous happening" in an "electrically-configured world…[of] instant communication" which "insures that all factors of the environment and of experience coexist in a state of active interplay" (p. 63). Axel Bruns (2008) described the networked spaces of this global village as "produsage" spaces, which have thrived with an "avalanche of consumer generated content that is building the web" (p.4). The content that is available in this web of mass-communication has a wide scope ranging from entertainment to business, economics to politics, news from the countries around the globe to campaigns raising awareness on social justice and human rights issues. The technology that runs this global machine of information design and distribution is always on a rapid pace of reinventing itself to revolutionize how individuals experience the freedom of accessing information and how they practice their rights to free speech and expression of ideas.
The vision of this global village appears to advocate the lurking ideologies of freedom across the digital spaces of human environments: free culture and speech supported and protected by the fair sharing of knowledge. However, the underlying mechanism of corporate control and politics determines the limits and boundaries of almost any act of freedom. Today, trying to have unlimited access to a journal or a news media outlet requires cash-flow after reaching the limit of free viewing of content dictated by the corporation owning the rights to that content. In a post-information-truth age, how information is produced, distributed, and consumed appears to be subjected to corporate control and laws which are built on increasingly outdated notions of copyright and means of distribution (Jenkins, 2006). As Lawrence Lessig (2004) pointed out, these laws serve not as "a protectionism to protect" individuals producing information and content, but rather "a protectionism to protect certain forms of business" (p. 10). Businesses not only control information production, but they also control how information is being consumed, which creates the necessity to control the people consuming information.
In "The Masses," Jean Baudrillard (1988b) defines the mass media of the global village as a "speech without response" (p. 577). Baudrillard explains this absence of response through the specific characteristic of the mass media:
What characterizes the mass media is that they are opposed to mediation, intransitive, that they fabricate noncommunication--if one accepts the definition of communication as an exchange, as the reciprocal space of speech and response, and thus of responsibility. …[the mass media limits] the simple emission/reception of information…the whole present architecture of the media is founded on this last definition: they are what finally forbids response, what renders impossible any process of exchange…That is their true abstraction. And it is in this abstraction that is founded the system of social control and power" (pp. 207–208).
More than actually having access to free speech and being able to practice the right to freedom of expression, what the global-consumer society has is an illusion of freedom, being monitored, controlled, and censored by the corporate networks of technology and digital ecologies of information design: the system of social control and power. In other words, as individuals, the ways that we practice the free-share of ideas and consume information are dictated and imposed on us. Baudrillard (1988a) wrote that "the liberty and sovereignty of the consumer are nothing more than a mystification" (p. 39). As we are capable of reaching the mass population with one click, the dominant discourse that sets the rules and controls knowledge says not everything is accessible for everyone's use. Information is copyrighted, censored, and dictated by the corporate politics of the global capital (Galloway, 2004).
This webtext approaches the notion of copyright as a counter-revolutionary tool abused by the corporate politics of global capital and its power networks. We, the authors of this webtext, respond to the triangle of revolution, copyright, and counter-revolution. Our response to this triangle is a product of a collective vision that emerged out of a film titled "The Rhetoric of Revolution: A [Cynical] Cycle," produced four years ago as a capstone project in a PhD class. During our first year at Clemson University's PhD program in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, we—then a small cohort of graduate students—took a class called Cultural Research Methods with Dr. Victor Vitanza, the "bad boy of rhetoric." As explained in the digital syllabus/schedule, Vitanza designed this course with a focus on "rhetorical inventions as traditional memory and innovative counter memory." The rhetorical context of the class was framed around thinkers-activists-writers-artists who are considered in transdisciplinary rhetorical studies as revolutionary figures (Kenneth Burke, Hayden White, Michel Foucault, Clifford Geertz, Jacques Derrida, Claude Levi-Strauss, Eric Havelock, Walter Ong, Gregory Ulmer, W.S. Burroughs, Cindy Sherman, Avitall Ronell, and Roland Barthes), since the impacts of their works cross the borders of disciplinary, or what Vitanza would call disciplined, fields in Western academia. Reading and reflecting on multiple shifts from Orality/Aurality and Literacy to Visual and Paralogical Turns/Re-Turns, Vitanza did not shy away from challenging us, as his way of thinking and praxis resisted our disciplined thinking.
We designed our film as a pastiche of visual, theoretical, and multimodal explorations of the theme of revolution, juxtaposed together by all of us. The intention of our film was to uncover and reveal themes as disparate approaches that were set in conjunction with each other, pressed together like felt (Landow, 2006; Selfe, 2007), or cut through each other with disruption. However, we found that as we endeavored to produce in this electrate fashion, we struggled under copyright concerns, notions of negotiation, presentation, and professionalism not only in Western contexts but also non-Western contexts. The conversations we had that reflected on the limitations imposed on us by copyright restrictions revealed how each one of us had a different relationship with the idea of revolution. While some of us said they still believed in the promise of revolution, some of us were at a point where we thought that revolution is a lost hope. We all had different approaches to the meaning of the revolution itself as well. For some of us, revolution was directly tied to revolts and socialist movements of changing regimes with the people and for the people; on the other hand, for some of us, while revolution still carried the marks of people's riots, it also meant destruction, chaos, and violence. Among all these different views and approaches to the meaning and truth of revolution, the common ground that brought us together was the idea of revolution as "an infinite cycle; a cycle that keeps going, a 'cycle of replacement.'"
As we were immersed in the course, critical discussions evolved around the central theme of moving against the grain of the canonized thinking of academia. As we always returned to "the cut, the slip of a tongue, the vomit," the spirit of revolution overcame our thinking and how we engaged with the in-class discussions. In different ways, we all started to use the class materials and discussions as a means and/or platform to reflect on and challenge the disturbing political climate of the time. In particular, the terror, violence, injustice, and the growing impacts of discriminative rhetorics used in our respective countries not only informed how we individually engaged with the class discussions but also formed the ground that produced the theme of our film project: Revolution.
The cycle of replacement and destruction gave us our central metaphor, our rhetorical hook that repeated itself throughout our film: the windmill footage. The windmill that destroys itself and yet starts from the beginning only to reach to the same destination of destruction. The cycle of revolution—"devrim" in Turkish, which originates from the Arabic word "devir" meaning in English "cycle," "revolving," or "turning"—was imprinted on the signifiers of revolution across the languages of our own group. As a result, the windmill footage became our signified iconographic sign for revolution in our film project. Just like a windmill, our film started with a slow pace, interrupted by cuts, increased in speed and intensity as it wanted to disorient the audience, and finally ended with the windmill exploding. The promise of revolution was embodied in the destruction the cycle of revolution necessitated.
What emerged out of returning and reflecting on this film project we worked on four years ago is our current effort, which formed the vision and purpose of this webtext. This webtext serves as a testament to our experiences with the idea of revolution. We not only reflect our vision of revolution during the time we made our film, but we also individually offer critical accounts of our changing visions and ideas in relation to the connection between revolution, copyright, and counter-revolution. In the rhetorical context of this triangle, we offer an understanding about the notion of copyright that considers not only the limitations of copyright laws on creative culture, but also the political ideology of copyrighting. Within the broader framework of this webtext, the political ideology of copyright deals with the excessive censorship and surveillance that controls and dictates how members of a society practice freedom (free culture, free speech, and circulation of knowledge) in the global village. In this context, the central questions that pull together this webtext are:
As we respond to these questions from our personal standpoints in this webtext, what continues to function as our rhetorical hook is the windmill metaphor. In the rhetorical ecology of this webtext, the windmill reveals itself as a symbol of counter-revolution. The invention of the windmill aimed to revolutionize energy production, yet corporate companies distributing this energy to the people own and control this revolutionary means of production and dictate how this energy is consumed (money, licenses, status). The symbolic use of the windmill in this current project not only offers a visual embodiment for the machinic structure of the copyright laws but also connects to Katz's (1992) fundamental analysis on the ethics of expediency. The need for copyright laws emerged out an immediate ethical concern of preventing misuse and abuse of information in addition to protecting individual author rights. However, this technical criteria became a means to an end that only serves and protects the rights of corporate businesses today. Copyright laws place the electric flow of information and communication to a static state of being contained and constrained. The ethical responsibility of protecting information is the central argument legitimizing the violation of free access and distribution of information. As Katz writes, "here, expediency is an ethical end as well" (p. 257). In this context, the windmill footage represents copyright/ing as a technical criteria that is an ethical end in itself. Through the symbolic use of the windmill, this webtext intends to unfold the line of connection between revolution, copyright, and counter-revolution. We argue that counter-revolution is what destroys revolution: it absorbs revolution's change back into the networks of hierarchical power. We believe that technology's revolution seems to make us believe that we have freedom in what we say, what we read, and what we put out there in the infinite space of global-online web of communication, but what appears to remain undetected is the fact that we are not allowed to have ownership even over our own ideas. We are copyrighted.
Our overall learning experience in the making (for the class project) and the remaking (for the webtext) of this project has been twofold: For the former, we were not able to access and incorporate some images and visuals that we thought would substantially enhance the overall impact of our class project. For the latter, we had to rely on fragmentary images/visuals that appear time and again in the webtext. In both cases, our creativity and progress was hindered by the issue of copyright laws. Indeed, even despite our best efforts to leverage original, Creative Commons, and open-sourced materials, because of these copyright concerns, we are still not comfortable with displaying the original video in its entirety. Instead, you will find clips and pieces from the original video forming background content for each of us as we engage in video-interviews that reflect on the process(es) of struggling with and creating this video.
Rhetoric is always contingent. The history of rhetorical theory is littered with musings on this topic. Lloyd Bitzer's (1968) claim that rhetoric is situational goes beyond understanding, as he claims that "rhetoric is a mode of altering reality…by the creation of a discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thought and action" (p. 4). If creation of a discourse has the power to change reality, then so too does the ability to limit a discourse and to close off paths of access to that discourse. This is what the path to creating "The Rhetoric of Revolution," and this subsequent webtext, forced us to answer: how do you access a discourse when you are cut off from means to that access by law. The revolution, we quickly discovered, was copyrighted.
We should consider, as rhetoricians and as teachers of rhetoric, the ways that the rhetorical situation can be limited by systems of money and power. The way that we regard these systems and their impingement on discourse will influence the compositions we see ourselves as able to create. If we regard these systems as natural parts of the public sphere, as elements of the rhetorical situation that must be negotiated, we accept their existence, and the work of revolution, through the mechanism of copyright, becomes a neoliberal tool, kept apart from the public sphere. If we treat these as unnatural, then we address the systems of money and power as something foreign to revolution, a view that perhaps is most aligned with revolution's view of the status quo.
The use of copyright laws to remove content from the public sphere places it within the realm of the neoliberal private sphere. Here, popular revolutions are commoditized and made to serve the very systems they may have operated against. The removal of revolutionary material from the public sphere limits the vocabulary that is available to public discourse. The inability to publish because of a copyright owner's expensive fee or a fear of a DMCA takedown notice (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows copyright holders to demand that media using copyrighted material without permission be taken offline) if one does not receive permission, alters a composition due to concerns over copyright claims. While Lauren Berlant's (1997) claim that "there is no public sphere in the contemporary United States" (p. 3) and in the world in general may be hyperbolic, the grounds for that claim, that there is "no context of communication or debate that makes ordinary citizens feel that they have a common public culture….[citizens] without wealth and structural access to power" (p. 3) offers insight into what copyright allows to flourish: a limiting of composition and circulation. Though copyright alone is not to blame for limitations placed on public discourse, it is emblematic of a larger shift toward privatization and the closing off of access to a public sphere.
A public, after all, is defined by its ability to be the subject of address. While a public "exists by virtue of being addressed" (Warner, 2002, p. 50), so too is a public-as-audience created through a shared vocabulary. As Warner noted, "[i]t is not texts themselves that create publics, but the concatenation of texts through time" (p. 62). The first version of this class project resulted in an examination of revolutionary texts from various settings, times, and contexts. Each member brought with them their own context, and the goal was to explore the ways that those contexts and our experiences with and knowledge of revolutions spoke to each other. It was a video collage composed of such texts.
The secondary project emerging, this webtext itself, is a reconciling of our own noble goals to examine and disrupt rhetorics of revolution with the counterrevolutionary forces of copyright that we found ourselves brushing up against. The way that our project was changed through these experiences helps to illustrate the ways that new media is at odds with traditional models of ownership and corporate culture.
If rhetoric and composition is to survive amid a landscape of privatization and copyright, one avenue of approach is to decide how best to respond to the advent of these forces and the encroachment of systems of wealth and power they represent. Do we treat these as just parts of the rhetorical situation that must be navigated and dealt with accordingly? Or should we instead force ourselves to work against privatization in favor of public discourse? Is there still yet a third (or fourth or fifth or more) way in which to approach this problem? Each participant in this project has approached the problem a different way, but the presence of copyright in public discourse remains an open question. There may in fact be as many ways to address copyright as there are composers. For our purposes, the overarching format of composition remained, burdened by the footage and material we could not use: each of us taking a part, remixing it, passing it along. Our process, in composing both the video and this webtext, paralleled the networked patterns of circulation on display in electrate spaces.
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