Social Commentary

Let’s Empower One Another and Participate Hand in Hand?

Subversion of traditional media roles and practices, such as information hierarchies and how we interact with information is inextricably linked with the emergence of converging media practices.

As of recent, no longer are we collectively positioned as a passive audience member, who consumes information without analysis or objectiveness. Emerging media platforms has transformed the layman from the consumer, to the potential producer, who is able to actively contribute or produce discussion and news.No longer is the media ignorant to the opinions and sentiments of the audience. In fact – no longer are we the audience, but a vital source of information.

Emerging collaborative broadcasting has paved the way for new modes of being a user and changing modality of participation. No longer does production require traditional media. The idea of collective intelligence is shaped through an   aggregated process,  when many contributed their knowledge into a group the content changes completely. Forums such as Reddit have accentuated the aggregated voice of the ‘Writing Reader’, not only enabling discussion and response to media sources, but equally facilitating discussion within the community.  The internet allows us to initiate or disrupt the conversation, this being an empowering trajectory for an expression of freedom.

This allowance of access and information has empowered the previously passive audience. This transition poses a question relating to audience.

If not us, then who? – 

Lets consider this proposition with an alternative source of media and expression – street art (or graffiti, matter of perspective). Street art as media presents many complexities, including determining who created, contributed to the presentation and most importantly who the audience is. The rise and recognition of the Banksy movement is a notable example of this.  The pseudonymous English artist and social commentator distributes his messages open to interpretation internationally. His work and their powerful messages has ensured recognition from organisations and outlets such as the 2010 Times Magazine list of Most Influential Persons:,28804,1984685_1984940_1984945,00.html

Some of his works, are as follows:






Banksy’s engagement and social commentary is of great importance and upholds the value of collaborative broadcasting, as he presents provoking images within the public domain within anonymity. Presumably as a layman, he subverts traditional power structures within the media by ignoring their presentation of what is important within society and instead highlighting what he believes as a citizen to be the more pertinent issues. Banksy himself directly engages with the media reporting, through his imagery, as seen below:


The Enigmatic figure has been reported saying:

“There’s a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell [one’s art]…This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count.”

The medium is the message. By engaging public space and producing images that can be engaged by a cross-section of society, he is ensuring widespread attention and discussion is promoted through various social statuses, demographics, etc. This questioning is meant to occur on different levels, including the individual determining what the image meant to them, what their opinions are regarding the matter and also the significant question – do they agree with the manner in which the message was distributed? The fact that art is highly subjective and can be interpreted within many ways in accordance to the individual is also importance. Banksy, differing the conventional sources of media is not making his audience passive, instead he is asking them to think and more importantly;

feel –

1 comment

  1. Hello isawisniewska,

    Great job with your analysis of how audiences have became passive prosumers, with your statement “we are no longer the audience but a vital source of information”.
    I do feel that the internet has become a public domain in which we disrupt and start conversation, which does empower us as individuals and put together change in discussion towards a greater movement and a different way of thinking.
    I love the idea of using street art of Banksy for this topic, as free expression is illustrated with involvement of those who view it. This use in art does raise issues portrayed in the media further allowing his work to belong to the people as part of the people. it seems as if the people are in charge of circulation of the issue, in which a topic is brought to them either from TV, newspaper or in this case on public streets.
    I think that because art is subjective, it may be hard to interpret the artists intention, but I suppose in Banksys instance he may want the audience to create the interpretation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: