Sunday, December 11, 2011

Subversive Art: 30 Years Later V for Vendetta Fuels Activism // #Occupy and #Anonymous Channel Guy Fawkes

Source: TIME Magazine 12/12/11
Maryland Juice caught an interesting blip of subversive art news in last week's newsstand copy of TIME. The magazine featured the following quote from Alan Moore, author of the iconic, subversive comic book V for Vendetta. He noted the recent appearance of his character "V" in protest imagery (see image at right):
It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.
This was preceded by an article on Wired quoting Moore and asking readers the following question:
Some activists 'folded like bitches' last century, according to Alan Moore. Will this century be different?
For those who are unaware, Mr. Moore is British and his V for Vendetta comics were created during the authoritarian era of Margaret Thatcher. As the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph wrote during the release of a 2006 V for Vendetta film:
He began writing V for Vendetta in 1981 to express his alarm at Britain's hard turn towards the Right under Thatcher.
Notably, the film adaptation of the graphic novel was released 25 years later, during the rise of another authoritarian era: the reign of Dick Cheney in the post-9/11 U.S.

Like Moore, I too have noted that the iconic V mask is now being worn by #occupy protestors and used heavily in communications from the global hacktivists who participate in #anonymous. It is worth noting that Moore himself drew inspiration for the V character from the lore of Guy Fawkes, a man who participated in an attempt to blow up the U.K. Parliament in 1605. The Wired article explained some of Moore's ideological underpinnings:
Tireless activist Moore has long lamented our disturbing creep toward totalitarianism, exploring the topic in V for Vendetta — which unleashed the ubiquitous, grinning Guy Fawkes mask that’s been worn by members of Anonymous and the Occupy movement....

Moore knows more than many how much the Occupy movement means to those who watched as last century’s activist spirit was siphoned away by mindless consumption and militarism.

“My actual feelings about the ’60s are that, yes, of course we had limitations,” Moore told in an extensive July interview ahead of LXG: 1969’s Comic-Con International premiere. “We talked a lot of shit, and we didn’t have the muscle to back it up. For the most part, we had good intentions. However, we were not able to implement those intentions. And when the state started to take us seriously and initiated countermeasures, the majority of us folded like bitches. Not all of us, but a good number. We weren’t up for the struggle that had sounded so great in our manifestos.”
TIME also noted that Moore admitted he was hoping to have a real impact with his work, and it turns out the recent coverage of V is not without reason. Wired's article about Moore announced his latest project. Surprise, surprise, it involves the Internet:
Nearly 30 years after publishing V for Vendetta, writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd are throwing their support behind the global Occupy movement that’s drawn inspiration from their comic’s anti-totalitarian philosophy and iconography.

Moore will contribute a long-form prose piece, possibly with illustrations, to the Occupy Comics project. His writing work will explore the Occupy movement’s principles, corporate control of the comics industry and the superhero paradigm itself....

Occupy Comics will eventually sell single-issue comic books and a hardcover compilation, but an innovative arrangement with Kickstarter means that funds raised through pledges of support can be channeled directly to Occupy Wall Street’s populist ranks now....

Moore’s support for Occupy Comics is another worthy piece of the 99 percent’s overdue payback.

“Moore elevated the discussion ... to critical topics like governing systems, the madness of derivatives markets, and how currency is used to control populations....”
Don't underestimate the power of subversive art in altering the public consciousness. Especially as society creates activism 3.0.

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