Alright… so just what is Occupy Wall Street?

Occupy Wall Street isn’t a new movement, it’s an evolved movement.

Because we have more advanced social media than seen in other movements, the public has been made more aware of violence and aggressive discourse associated within OWS. Savannah Edwards addressed this in her post A Quick Look at the Beginning.Savannahstated “Every time there was an incident of protesters being hurt or dragged, it was caught on tape and videos were going viral online.” In protests of the past, the general public didn’t have the ability to logon to youtube and be bombarded with graphic scenes of violence on the streets ofNew York. Social media has made Occupy Wall Street more personal, and way more real to viewers. Because it’s so visible, individuals have become more invested in the movement. That’s what sets Occupy Wall Street apart from other movements- it’s the most accessible protest we’ve yet seen.

Within my topic, Street Art encompasses performances and artwork not specified in specific venues but existing in the open. Occupy Wall Street’s use of art is similar to other movements. Like Sarah stated within her first post (Story Time: Voiced by the Theorists) on music within in the movement, the use of art creates the feeling of community. But this is no different from other movements in the past, all over the world.

So what sets Occupy Wall Street apart?

A Washington Post article states both the Feminist Movement and the Gay Rights Movement seen in theUnited Stateswere essentially leaderless movements, just likeOccupy Wall Street. Later in the 1990s, anti-globalization protests created a network of movements similar to that seen recently. None of which had any centralized leadership. Occupy Wall Street is a symbol of both the past and future. It’s also representative of a move towards the idea that no singular issue takes precedent over another. This is one of the reasons why the movement has benefited from encompassing so many different forms of media and methods of resistance. There’s literally something for everyone-it IS the 99%.

In one of her previous posts, Evelyn articulated that Occupy Wall Street is “global protest of regular people, a network, a movement.” Evelyn stated this perfectly. I think the word “network” is one of the most important to remember in relation to the movement as opposed to other movements seen in the past. Occupy Wall Street isn’t just a network of people; it’s a network of the arts. Different mediums are interwoven into a highly specialized web.

In my first post, I examined what Fred Ritchin illustrated in his article “Toward a Hyperphotography,” when he discussed what it meant to alter images to link and contextualize these forms with other media. Linkage throughout the movement, and connecting ideas from one art form to another exemplifies what Occupy Wall Street is about, using old ideas combined with new forms of media. This is shown through Shepard Fairey’s alteration of the Obama HOPE poster which is merged instead with the image of Guy Fawkes. While Shepard has been criticized for some of the ways in which he subverts images in his other works, his work does show the advancement of contemporary art into a new genre. I touched upon this idea, that Occupy Wall Street is representative of a new branch of contemporary art in one of my earlier posts. I think at the very root of Occupy Wall Streetis a sense of urgency to formulate new and better ideas immediately. Occupy Wall Street is the plight of the common man made known through a growing arts movement, which is a shift to incorporate new media.

Savannah Edwards stated in her post on Twitter and Occupy Wall Street that twitter is being used to share new images that inspire resistance across the movement.Savannah stated that this sharing allowed individuals within the movement to become united with one another. In my opinion this leads to the understanding that the sharing of artwork creates a movement away from an arts community based upon financial gain and instills a sense of unity amongst artists. Creative ventures become less about the “me” and more about the “we”- and how these individuals can use their craft to get others to think. Occupy Wall Street is representative of more unity amongst artists than we’ve known in the past, and this is made possible by our advances in social media.

During this semester, we have been faced with hard challenges to answer seemingly unanswerable questions about Occupy Wall Street. The movement itself is so huge, and made up of so many parts that it’s often difficult to analyze. But in reality, that’s how it should be. Occupy Wall Street is supposed to be the voice of the 99%, and the 99% is an extremely diverse group of individuals and viewpoints. It’s only fitting that there’s something for everyone in the movement. And so much of the art used in the movement reflects this concept. There’s songwriting, poetry, visual art, street art, posters and all kinds of web design projects.

The best metaphor I can think of to describe Occupy Wall Street is a flea market. It’s a lot of old ideas, coming together inexpensively to create new innovation. There’s an emphasis on sharing versus buying and formulating. It’s an arts conglomerate. That’s my answer: Occupy Wall Street is an arts conglomerate, utilizing new media to link together ideas of resistance.

–Jenny Questell

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One response to “Alright… so just what is Occupy Wall Street?

  1. Pingback: A 29 Yr. Old Real Wall Street Occupier, Doesn’t Know Where Student Loan Money Comes From | Wis U.P. North

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