Text in the catalogue of Share Festival (Italy) about the lecture
"Manufacturing DisConsent". 2008.

[ Slides of the lecture in PDF only in Italian]

Never has a society had so much information about itself readily available, yet it still seems so unaware and submissive.  The explosion of means of distributing and producing information, brought to us thanks to the digital revolution, has not led to the utopian new society we hoped for - on the contrary.

The demonic triad comprising television, radio and newspapers, studied so much until now, is now only a tiny part of today's complex system built upon the profusion of means, spaces and communication channels. Now the triad of censorship - lies - monopoly - has been stripped of its medieval power. Thanks to the freedom of the net, traditional media are forced to reveal the hidden secrets of governments and corporations. Similarly, investigative journalism in books and films is becoming increasingly popular.

What are the methodological counteroffensives to cultural production / perception used by propaganda's manipulation of assent / dissent? What are the communicative strategies that are so powerful as to sterilize reactions at mass events, create new forms of intolerance, make blatant lies more palatable and weaken our own psychological integrity?

In the last few years, we have witnessed a sharp decline in our basic rights, and seen the creation of absurd laws, torture, mass killings, the construction of dividing walls and ruthless form of repression and violence. The horror of these crimes, brazenly obvious inequality and impunity are there for everyone to see. The ease, low cost and speed with which ideas and awareness can be made available using the tools at our disposal and the new generations' awareness of the most basic forms of seduction,

Virilio, Baudrillard, Debord, Debray, Chomsky, Deleuze, Barthes, Jeudy and Perniola are just some of the figures who have formulated the most commonly quoted theories concerning the transformation of media and language. The most contingent effects studied as a result of exposure to these media include:

• semantic degeneration through the repetition of conflicting and incoherent messages
• mental clouding caused by a continual bombardment with stimuli
• inability to cope with perceived social and economic complexity
• collapse of meaning, a result of being smothered by an excess of meaning
• virtualization and pure representation of events and life itself
• indifference towards events, caused by an accumulation of images
• collision of interpretations due to the instrumental use of stereotypes, taxonomies and noise

The perception of information is schizophrenic, ambivalent and confused, reality becomes reversible and relative, cause and effect interchange, people become used to a state of mistrust, skepticism, incredulity and indifference until the unacceptable contradictions can be neatly assimilated.

The techniques of persuasion are now highly developed. Psychology serves a market in which our emotions, desires, pleasures and intimacies are juggled round effortlessly. The creation of new icons, phobias and needs to toy with people's emotions is not new to humanity. Once there was a unified convergence of vectors; but now the opposite is happening, so that communities and the psyche are fractured until they become divided and weakened.

Information is a neutral substance, without form. Manipulating, ordering, structuring and shaping it are still some of the most important and refined applied arts of all ideologies, religions and governments.

This is a panoramic presentation with practical examples of merchandizification, terrorization, seduction, segmentation, egocentrification, branding, divinization, spectacularization, banalization, neutralization and pornification.

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