I’ve been thinking more about my theories about alternate reality games as massively scalable praxis. I’ve been considering the secondary implications of using ARG for liberation, because ARG is a medium (or maybe more accurately, a cluster of media and best practices) that has been developed predominantly by commercial interests — look at how most of the biggest/most successful ARG implementations have been for advertising a mainstream game or movie.

Specifically, where is there a history of appropriation of media that are well adapted to organizing, education, or idea exchange, but were developed by commercial interests? I know that for much of the history of the industry of gaming, military and commercial research interests have been at the core of technologies that have brought us artistic and poetic practices in digital media, but in terms of intentional reappropriation, I’d like to find more, better examples.

I’ve been talking about this with solidad decosta, in what I hope is the beginning of a pretty epic collaboration. She brought up Peter Watkins’ 2000 film La Commune, which was formatted as a documentary about the Paris Commune of 1871, but was acted by largely nonprofessionals who did their own research about the history of the Paris Commune. Many of these were immigrants to Paris from France’s current or former colonies. Through their research, the actors were given the opportunity to reflect on and think about this revolutionary history, the plight of the worker in our age, and their own experiences.

How might this film be related to ARG design for social change?

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