Endless, nameless: A culture jamming journey as a digital activist to explore critical public pedagogy

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA)
Social movements are collective rebellious actions by activists trying to change the status quo of society. Scholars used to pay attention from the perspective of political science/sociology/media communication but underestimated critical public pedagogy that took place on the streets and the Internet. That is, the protesters use social media (not only communication tools but meaning creation tools) to transform the popular cultural symbols through the process of digital cultural jamming. Visual culture art education (VCAE) provides a useful account of the research gap essentially. This thesis explores self practice-oriented culture jamming through social movement participation, based on the trends of the first large-scale integration of social media and augmented reality (AR) technology in 2019. The scope of this study focuses on my AR camera effect projects from May to September in 2019 on Instagram, then conducted a critical analysis with a literature review, hoping to open up the discussion of critical public pedagogy. The methodology of this study applies research-creation that emphasizes the reflexive process of thinking and doing. By tracing the complex cultural memory and life experience materials intertwined behind my digital culture jamming creation, this thesis implements disruptive qualitative inquiry on the materials. In other words, the non-linear narrative inquiry was implemented at the InSEA 2019 World Congress, with the UBC campus as a starting point for my physical culture jamming action as an art educator, MA student, and activist. Although the experimental writing style faces the limitations and challenges of neutrality and authenticity, it is still an emerging recommendation of using personal narrative to challenge paradigms and known worldviews. The characteristics of research-creation make this thesis not try to find a solution, but continue to put forward critical propositions in the continuous cultural guerrilla action. This paper finds that although digital culture jamming shows support to the creative culture of resistance, it faces the surveillance and oppressive of social media users/entertainment-oriented/commercial interests and policies of social media platforms...etc. Hence, it could fail to respond to the previous research suggestions such as the direction of post-humanism. The study suggests future research can use the open data on social media to challenge the logic of duality, including digital space and physical space/the human and artificial intelligence (AI) technology behind oppressive forces, etc., it will provide more valuable follow-up research to the transitional spaces between critical public pedagogy and VCAE.
Brinck, Jaana
Thesis advisor
Tavin, Kevin
Tervo, Juuso
critical pedagogy, social movements, popular culture, culture jamming, augmented reality, memes, social media, posthumanism
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