Category Archives: TMF

New Design Tactical Media Files + Reports & Documentation Amsterdam and Liverpool events online

We are very happy and proud that the new responsive design of the Tactical Media Files documentation resource is available online now, beautifully designed by Jeroen Joosse (who also delivered the visual design of the original TMF website), and implemented by developer André van Toly.

The main purpose of this redesign was to make the resource better accessible on other media devices and able to scale to virtually any size screen (hence a ‘responsive’ design). If for any reason someone would fee ‘nostalgic’ about the accustomed web-design we left that in place at the following address:

We will fine tune the new design further in the coming months, but meanwhile have been busy and there’s quite some other news as well, so do read on:

Documentation Videos and Reports of Amsterdam and Liverpool events online

Superflux, Drone Aviary (2015)

Superflux, Drone Aviary (2015)

While our exhibition How much of this is fiction. is still on at FACT in Liverpool, and will open at HeK in Basel on March 22, documentation and reports of public events in  Amsterdam and Liverpool are already available online:

• Report of the public debate Vox Populi and the Syrian Archive, at Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam on 21 January 2017:
• Video Vox Populi and the Syrian Archive:

• Report of the conference ‘The Society of Post-Control’, at Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam on 22 January 2017:
• Video of the conference ‘The Society of Post-Control':

• Video: Meme Wars: Internet culture and the ‘alt-right’
Lecture by writer / researcher Florian Cramer at FACT Liverpool, 2 March, 2017:
• Meme Wars: Post-lecture discussion:

We hope you will enjoy the new design and the most recent additions to our ever growing resource.

Eric Kluitenberg
David Garcia

Tactical Media Connections update: May 1, 2015

A public research trajectory tracing the legacies of Tactical Media and its connections to the present.

Tactical Media Connections is an extended trajectory of collaborative research tracing the legacies of Tactical Media and mapping the relationships between its precursors and its progeny. The program is realised through a series of meetings and exhibitions, culminating in the publication of a Tactical Media Anthology with contributions and dialogues ranging across generations and territories.
Taken as a whole the project seeks to engage the many threads and practices that have emerged out of and relate back to the classical moment in the middle of the 1990s when Tactical Media was identified – not least through the renowned Next 5 Minutes festival series, when it came to be understood as a constellation of different yet connected cultures of contestation, operating at the specific intersection of art, media, technological experimentation and social/political activism. Central to the idea of Tactical Media was a nomadic movement between mainstream media channels, alternative cultures and dissident lifestyles by those groups who felt somehow aggrieved, misrepresented or otherwise marginalised in the wider public domain.

Unlike the “social turn” and other manifestations of community arts and post-studio practice, that emerged in the 1990s, Tactical Media has not become another an art-world genre. Its scope and significance has gone far beyond the accepted confines of the art scene. This lack of rootedness in a single discourse means it has largely escaped institutional capture. It has however paid a high price for avoiding any kind of strategic grounding with a bad case of historical amnesia. This widespread amnesia has meant that the scope and achievements of this movement are frequently forgotten or overlooked, rendering important lessons unavailable to subsequent generations of practitioners and activists.

In developing Tactical Media Connections, we have avoided fixed definitions, we are instead treating the moment when Tactical Media was initially named and described as a key reference point or rather a “point of lost origin”, a temporal vector enabling us to move in two directions at once: On the one hand we can reflect on the precursors, without getting lost in history. On the other hand we can look towards Tactical Media’s progeny and legacies, and their possible futures from an extended and more deeply informed perspective. As a framework it is designed to manage the extreme complexity we are unleashing. Exploiting this temporal vector we need no longer use the term Tactical Media to cover every practice that appears relevant. Rather this “point of lost origin” can be seen as one important moment of convergence in these evolving cycles of contestation and engagement, at a moment in time when anyone can ‘become the media’ at the touch of a screen.


The Tactical Media Connections public research project got underway with an international research meeting at Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam’s new cultural centre, in July 2014. The meeting was  combined with a public debate on “Art and Political Conflict”, organised in collaboration with Framer Framed, the gallery and exhibition agency at the Tolhuistuin. Since then activity has shifted to ‘behind the scene’ activities. In the past months we have been developing the different ‘components’ of our trajectory; the publication – a comprehensive anthology of Tactical Media; the first stage of a thorough upgrade of the Tactical Media Files online documentation resource; and preparations for a  series of public events and exhibitions to be organised in the Fall of  2016 and Spring 2017 in The Netherlands and the UK.

MIT Press confirmed as publisher for the Tactical Media Anthology

We are delighted that the MIT Press has agreed to publish the Tactical Media Anthology, which is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2016. The book as a whole will be ± 450 pages, as a full-colour edition, edited by Eric Kluitenberg and David Garcia in close consultation with Brian Holmes. Our ambition is to do justice to the full scope and significance of Tactical Media activity over the past three decades: connecting debates, controversies and experiences of various generations of artists, activists, media makers and theorists across different periods and territories, and relate these to the current situation, which might be described as the Post-Occupy / Post-Prism era. We see a particular urgency to revisit these debates and link experiences of different generations at this critical juncture.

The publication will include among others contributions by Michael Dieter, Brian Holmes, DeeDee Halleck, Tatiana Bazzichelli, Critical Art Ensemble, Mathew Fuller, David Garcia, Paulo Gerbaudo, Lev Manovich, Özge Celikaslan, Graham Harwood, Rodrigo Nunes, Saskia Sassen, Clement Apprich, Oliver Lerone Schultz, Caroline Nevejan, Daoud Kuttab, Konrad Becker, Brandon Jourdan, Seda Gürses, Cornelia Sollfrank, Geert Lovink, Marianne Maeckelbergh, Ned Rossiter, Eric Kluitenberg, Simona Lodi, Marcell Mars, Tobias Revell, Simona Levi, Heath Bunting, Nat Muller, Felix Stalder, Ted Byfield, Julian Oliver, Danja Vasiliev, Mike Stubbs, McKenzie Wark, and others to be confirmed.

Tactical Media Files website relaunched with reconstituted video archive

The online documentation resource Tactical Media Files, originally launched in the Fall of 2008, has been rebuilt from the ground up. While design changes have so far been minimal, important work has been done to ensure the longer term sustainability of the resource. The site is an entry point to the extensive collection of materials around the practices of Tactical Media in many different places and aims to make them accessible for current and future generations of artists, activists, researchers and the general audience. An important part of the resource are the materials sourced from contributions made over the years by visitors to each edition of the Next 5 Minutes festivals and held by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, where the physical materials remain accessible in their original formats.

The most significant  aspect of this renewal process is that the extensive video archive of the Tactical Media Files has been restored and can now be freely accessed across different viewing devices. In the next phase of development the emphasis will shift towards an overhaul of the visual design of the website and a further extension of the functionality of the video archive. We are also keen on exploring more experimental approaches to the materials contained in the resource and aim to work together with curators, artists, technical developers and theorists on this as part of our on-going research trajectory. More about that in future updates.

Public event-series and exhibitions 2016 – 2017

Agreements are in place with a variety of partner organisations for a series of public events and exhibitions to be organised in the Fall of 2016 and early 2017, in The Netherlands and the UK. These events will include conferences and public debates, a larger screening event and public debate around the Global Uprisings documentary project, and two substantial exhibitions curated by Nat Muller and David Garcia in close consultation with Josien Peterse and Cas Bool, co-directors of Framer Framed in Amsterdam, and Mike Stubbs, director of FACT in Liverpool. The aim is to commission a number of new works which will  travel from The Netherlands to the UK and possibly beyond and will include screening events and workshops.

In the run up to the final series of events we aim to organise a number of local development meetings or Tactical Media Labs, in the UK and in NL. These will act as local connection points for researchers, artists and activists who want to engage more actively in this project. If you are interested to become involved in these meetings or the project please contact the projectors initiators Eric Kluitenberg and David Garcia.

Partner organisations

Partner organisations with whom initial agreements have been made so far include Cultural Center Tolhuistuin, Framer Framed, EYE Film Institute, the Institute of Network Cultures, The Showroom in London, FACT – Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Cool Mediators Foundation (production), and Bournemouth University’s COLAB.

Preliminary Research Questions:

To guide this exploration we have formulated the following research questions during our initial meeting at the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam:

•    How can we evaluate the remarkable developments in what we indicate as the post-occupy / post prism era? How do they relate to longer term questions of engagement in public culture and the formation of new politics giving voice to the voiceless, in pursuit of a more open and equitable future?

•    How resilient and comprehensive do the definitions of Tactical Media proposed in the 1990s appear in retrospect today? Were some aspects missed or distorted by the classic definitions? And how do they speak to the present and present generations of activists, artists, thinkers, theorists, researchers, media tacticians, out in the streets and the networks?

•    Does the extensive occupation of popular social media platforms in the 2011 uprisings (or ‘movement(s) of the squares’) signal an end of the “cyber separatism” of the Indymedia generation ? And does their extensive use of these platforms signal a new pragmatic populism for this generation’s media activists? Have projects with great public impact, such as WikiLeaks, neutralised the critique of media intervention as being trapped in networks of insularity and semiotic corruption?

•    What role can the idea of Tactical Media and its progeny play during the inevitable periods of latency in the cycles of protest ?  In this and other contexts can Tactical Media research help to identify new networks of resistance and change in the control society?

To take stock, discuss and debate, and begin a more collective appreciation of these questions is what this public research trajectory is meant for.


The Tactical Media Connections project and the preparation for the Tactical Media Anthology  are financially supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund.


Project updates are published a.o. on our blogs:

Recently added to Tactical Media Files: Texts by Jordan Crandall and Muriam Halleh Davis

We are very pleased about the recent inclusion of two important texts in the Tactical Media Files main website and documentation resource by Jordan Crandall and Muriam Halleh Davis:

An RQ-4 Global Hawk sits on the runway before beginning a nighttime mission. The aircraft is unmanned, and is used to capture imagery from high altitudes. (Courtesy photo/John Schwab)

An RQ-4 Global Hawk sits on the runway before beginning a nighttime mission. The aircraft is unmanned, and is used to capture imagery from high altitudes. (Courtesy photo/John Schwab)

A major research document by artist Jordan Crandall titled “Ontologies of the Wayward Drone – A Salvage Operation” deals with the fatal strategies of drone desire (a.k.a. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) ). This extensive study into the intensifying use of remote controlled and increasingly autonomous flying drones was originally published at CTheory and is now included in the TMF resource with kind permission by the author.

PHOTOFOURThe essay “The Invention of the Savage: Colonial Exhibitions and the Staging of the Arab Spring” by Muriam Haleh Davis was recently posted on the excellent Jadaliyya blog and marks for us the first use of the tag ‘postcolonial’ in our resource, an inclusion admittedly long overdue. The text examines the staging of the (street-)protests in Arab countries through the prism of a recent exhibition at the musée du Quai Branly in Paris, which explores the ‘ the construction of difference and the exhibition of the other’.

While it is inevitable that the astounding and continuing series of street protests and square occupations that have marked the past year have demanded so much of our attention, it is equally important to keep clear sight of other strategic distortions that affect our social realities.

During a recent clean-up of last remains of archive materials of the Next 5 Minutes festival series we furthermore stumbled upon a disk accidentally not yet transferred to the TMF resource, nor physically handed over to the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam – who hold our physical archive. It contained the video Safe Distance released by the collective from Novi Sad Serbia. A ‘present from the skies’ recovered from the NATO air campaign against Serbia during the Kosovo War in 1999.

Safe_distance_hitThe video shows the electronic cockpit of a US Air Force plane that crashed during the bombing campaign. Though still a ‘manned’ aerial vehicle, the absolute abstraction of the blind instruments view provides a chilling adjunct to Crandall’s detailed examination of the fatal drone desires.

TMF Editors

Media Squares seminar: archived webcasts

A short note to let you know that the web casts of the Media Squares international seminar on the new forms of protest and their media have been archived and are available with full annotation via the Tactical Media Files website.

Tahrir Cinema screening

You can access the webcasts via this article:

TMF Editors


A piece of tactical media history: The Tompkins Square Riots and the ‘Camcorder Revolution’

New York based media artist and media-activist Paul Garrin‘s video Man with a Video Camera (Fuck Vertov) has been available for some time on-line at the Media Art Net website – unfortunately only in grainy quality. We decided to nonetheless include this video in the Tactical Media Files, as it represents an important moment in shaping what would later be termed ‘tactical television’ during the first Next 5 Minutes festival in 1993.

Tompkin Square on Eyewitness News stillGarrin’s video documents police brutalities in what is now known as the 1988 Tompkin Square Police Riot in Lower east Manhattan, leading on from anti-gentrification protests in the neighbourhood. Garrin more or less accidentally ended up in the middle of the riot with a video camera, and also got beaten up himself. He managed to air the video on several TV stations, resulting in police threats on his answering machine. When he contacted more prominent media with his tape and his story,  a media whirlwind was unleashed – testifying for Garrin to the power of video to contradict official but clearly false representations of social and political events. It sparked what Garrin calls the ‘camcorder revolution’.



To Serve And ProtectAs the video is already available on-line we  collected  other relevant background materials. In August 2008 The Shadow,  “New York’s only underground newspaper, publishing on the Lower East Side of Manhattan since 1989, as a result of the distorted mainstream media coverage in the aftermath of the infamous police riot in Tompkins Square Park on August 6-7, 1988“, devoted an issue to the ’20th aniversary’ of the events in 1988 that had spraked its own inception. The issue includes a collection of ‘riot memories’ by people directly involved in the events, including Garrin himself.

Thirdly Garrin’s short textThe 1988 Tompkins Square Police Riot – A Video Point of View” has been added that reflects on the media dimension of that hot summer night in 1988 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Considering the proliferation of citizen media, on-line video, reality media (as nauseum) today, it is hard to imagine the almost entirely closed media landscape of the 1980s and the broadcasters insistence on ‘broadcast specs’ for (not) accepting citizen reports – still the fights over transparency and public representation continue, also today.