I never found much of an interest in politics until I started University and began to follow news sources on Facebook that kept me informed with what was going on in the world. Now it seems everyone has an opinion on everything and political involvement is as easy as putting an equal sign or a flag filter over your profile picture. Cayari (2015) outlines how Youtube has allowed for a shift from media to social media (#hashtag) that requires us to rethink spacial relations of communication and politics (p. 43).
Initially I thought it was a ‘stick it to the man’ esque narrative. With some research I found it actually is a response to the current refugee crisis and the islamophobia that has accompanied that. The animator, Verpi Kettu, speaks of the “blaming of different people… the blaming of Muslims and the negativity.” With the intention of shocking viewers about the absurdity of the dank state the crisis has ended up in, Radiohead has opened up an opportunity for reflection and outcry.
In a less cryptic manner, M.I.A.‘s music video for ‘Borders’ similarly confronts the audience with imagery that compliments the lyrics about the perils of refugees en route to a better life through the legal system. She is renowned for her political music videos however specifically for borders, having been a refugee of war herself validates her reason to speak up. She says ‘…now I have a voice in a time when war is the most invested thing on the planet.’
Of course it’s not always as easy as protesting politics online with no consequence. Feminist, Russian group Pussy Riot (pictured in cover) found themselves charged of being ‘hooligans motivated by religious hatred’ because of the videos they had uploaded protesting Putin and his dictatorship (Scholar, 2013). Their video for ‘I Can’t Breathe‘ garnered attention as it was directed at the police brutality which caused the death of Eric Garner. This event was controversial already as a bystander had recorded the entire event and uploaded it for all of cyberspace to see and judge for themselves. PR’s video depicts them being buried alive while wearing Russian police uniforms with the last words of Garner played at the ending. It’s a very literal and confronting piece about the suffocation of civilians in dire circumstances with authorities. Part of what makes PR so successful in this regard is the hysteria they cause. In an interview, one member states how people ‘condemn them and wish for prison or death, without verifying anything or even watching the video. A complete information deficit’ (Scholar, 2013). The fear that is triggered when people hear how quickly their message travels when uploaded is exactly what gives this platform of cyberculture such an impact.
Cayari C (2015) Participatory culture and informal music learning through video creation in the curriculum, International Journal of Community Music, Vol. 8, Iss. 1, p41-57, source.
Scholar C (2013) Reinventing the Show Trial: Putin and Pussy Riot, TDR : Drama review, Vol. 57, Iss. 1, source.