Tag Archives: violence

From the globalization protests of the previous decade to the more recent Occupy Movement, activists have embraced the use of digital video. Many appropriations of the technology, including those by human rights advocates, rest on the theory that ‘seeing is believing’ and understand video to be uniquely suited to forms of truth telling such as witnessing, documenting and reporting. While I encountered such realist uses of video during fieldwork with direct action movements in the former Yugoslavia, activists are also preoccupied with videos depicting the most physical confrontations with the police, videos they sometimes referred to as ‘riot porn’. They engage these videos for the sensory, affective and bodily experiences they facilitate. Indeed, activist practices around and claims for video indicate that they understand video as a technology of the self, using it to forge emotional relationships with activists elsewhere, steel themselves for physical confrontation and cultivate new political desires.


Hopping like a jackrabbit between genres and media, including forays into the swamps of pop culture, Nelson is strongest when at her most rageful, writing with controlled fury at the anti-­intellectualism and crassness of the present. She has no time for fake populism, she’s an unabashed cultural elitist: withering about reality TV, Lars von Trier and the middlebrow brutality dispenser Neil LaBute (whose plays she calls “sophomoric” and “weak-minded”). She employs herself as a registering instrument, constantly taking her aesthetic temperature: “I felt angry. Then I felt disgusted. Finally, I felt bored.” These reports have a phenomenological brio, laced with physiological detail. She recalls “a kind of vibrating memory of the unnerving psychic state” induced by the video art of Ryan Trecartin. About a Yoko Ono piece, she writes: “I long to see Ono’s clothes fall, to see her breasts bared. Yet I also feel a mounting sense of alarm, empathy and injustice in watching her body be made vulnerable.” She likes art that makes her morally uncomfortable, and from the laudatory way she quotes Kafka — “What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune” — I assume she wishes to induce the same state in her readers. Often she does, moving at breakneck speed from real-life political violence to the images of such violence (including those on human rights Web sites), to real violence in performance art (Chris Burden asking a friend to shoot him; Marina Abramovic inviting viewers to injure her), to the violent impulses of artists like Bacon.

Matthew Barney: I’ve got another question for you. Why do you think so many brutally violent films are being made in France?
Gaspar Noe: In France? Just because they are, or were, easier to finance here, I guess.
MB: Is that all?
GN: The French are not softer or harder than any other country. There’s an even stronger tradition of cruelty in Japanese cinema compared to European film. And among the Europeans, the Germans tend to top the French, Spanish, or Nordic countries when it comes to S&M or hardcore gay sex or things like that in real life. But mostly, when you make a movie, you need money.

Measures have been taken or sought since the fourteenth century to deal with the problem of disorder relating to football – a 1314 proclamation of Edward II declared:

“Forasmuch there is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large balls, from which many evils may arise, which God forbid, we command and forbid on behalf of the King, on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city in future.”

Extract from a 2000 Parliamentary report looking at ways to prevent and tackle hooliganism at Euro 2000. Wikipedia clarifies the origin of the same quote: 

In 1314, Nicholas de Farndone, Lord Mayor of the City of London issued a decree banning football in the French used by the English upper classes at the time. A translation reads: ”[f]orasmuch as there is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large foot balls [rageries de grosses pelotes de pee][30] in the fields of the public from which many evils might arise which God forbid: we command and forbid on behalf of the king, on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city in the future.“ This is the earliest reference to football.