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Breaking the Spell offers the first full-length study that charts the historical trajectory of anarchist-inflected video activism from the late 1960s to the present. Two predominant trends emerge from this social movement-based video activism: 1) anarchist-inflected processes increasingly structure its production, distribution, and exhibition practices; and 2) video does not simply represent collective actions and events, but also serves as a form of activist practice, from the moment of recording to its later distribution and exhibition. Video plays an increasingly important role among activists in the growing global resistance against neoliberal capitalism. As various radical theorists have pointed out, subjectivity itself becomes a key terrain of struggle as capitalism increasingly structures and mines it through social media sites, cell phone technology, and new “flexible” work and living patterns. As a result, alternative media production becomes a central location where new collective forms of subjectivity can be created to challenge aspects of neoliberalism.
Chris Robé is an associate professor of Film and Media Studies in the School of Communication at Florida Atlantic University. He has published essays on radical media in journals like Jump Cut, Rethinking Marxism, and Journal of Film and Video. His first book is Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture. PM Press has recently published his newest book Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas. He is also a frequent contributor to PopMatters and Cineaste and works for his faculty union. He received his Ph.D. from the Lehigh University English Department in 2004.