Today political protest often takes the form of spontaneous, noninstitutional, massaction. Mass protests during the Arab Spring showed that established systems of power -- in thatcase, the reciprocal support among Arab dictators and Western democracies -- can be interrupted, atleast for a short moment in history. These new activist movements often use online media to spreadtheir message. Mass demonstrations from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Taksim Square in Istanbul show thepower of networked communication to fuel "performative democracy" -- at the center ofwhich stands the global citizen. Art is emerging as a public space in which the individual can claimthe promises of constitutional and state democracy. Activism may be the first new art form of thetwenty-first century. global aCtIVISm (the capitalized letters form the Latinword civis, emphasizing the power of citizens) describes and documents politically inspired art --global art practices that draw attention to grievances and demand the transformation of existingconditions through actions, demonstrations, and performances in public space. Essays by leadingthinkers -- including Noam Chomsky, Antonio Negri, Peter Sloterdijk, and Slavoj ?i?ek --consider the emerging role of the citizen in the new performative democracy. The essays are followedby images of art objects, illustrations, documents, and other material (first shown in an exhibitionat ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe) as well as case studies by artists and activists.
Essays byGiorgio Agamben, Noam Chomsky, Thomas Hauschild,Stefan Hessel, Bruno Latour, Maurizio Lazzarato, Andre Mesquita, Antonio Negri, Suely Rolnik, PeterSloterdijk, Nassim Taleb, Slavoj ?i?ek
Peter Weibel is Chairman and CEO of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe. He coedited the recent ZKM/MIT Press volumes Molecular Aesthetics and The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds.