Call for Submissions: Disinformation Cultures

“Disinformation” emerged from the Soviet intelligence bureaucracy during the Cold War as a tactic for managing perception and consensus through the media. Rather than refuting or suppressing ideas that undermined the state agenda, false information and simulated events were disseminated to destabilize the positive character of truth itself. 

In the decades following the collapse of the “bipolar” world system—and given the elaborate projects of controlled opposition required to maintain a decaying global capitalist hegemony—disinformation became ubiquitous. Now, it permeates the very air that we breathe, deployed by state and non-state actors, corporations, and individuals alike. In this milieu of private military contractors, hyper-politicized meme accounts, fake gurus, and sponsored content, where does disinformation end and scamming begin? The hypervigilant, anxious mindset required to weather such a cycle struggles to find footing on non-reactionary ground.

As an experiment in the collective thinking-through of this problematic terrain, the Moving Image and Media Studies Graduate Group calls for proposals of original art, creative writing, and critical essays inspired by cultures of disinformation, past or present. How and why did we get here? How can we theorize this ecology, and what is to be done? What are the notable aesthetics, psychic intensities, and politics of disinformation cultures? We are especially interested in original new media, aural and visual/video art, and short (1000 words) critical or creative texts that address aspects of these or related questions. Accepted submissions will be anthologized and published via web in Spring 2021. Please send submissions to mimsgg@umn.edu with the subject line “Disinformation Submission (Last Name)” by November 30th, 2020. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Conspiracy theories, conspiratorial thought and/or actual conspiracies
  • Culture-jamming, guerilla communication, p2p networks and open-source platforms
  • Role of disinformation in the legacy of colonization and anti-colonial insurgency or domestic liberation struggles
  • “Post-truth”, “alternative facts” and “filter bubbles”
  • Scamming, multi-level marketing, and fake gurus
  • Sponsored content and advertising culture
  • Shadow states, intelligence bureaucracies, psychic warfare
  • The role of the media/propaganda/disinformation within various Marxisms (Leninism, Frankfurt School, Operaismo/Autonomia, Situationists, etc.) or other leftist projects
  • Aestheticized politics/political aesthetics/the politicization of the art world
  • The role of the occult and/or cult psychology in politics
  • The “slow cancellation of the future” and/or the “end of history,” contemporary dynamics of memory, time, and futurity

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