Dressing up and disguise, the blurring of identities and boundaries, transformation, transgression; all are brought together in the wearing of masks. Masking up releases our commonality, enables us to act together, to shout as one to those who rule and divide us 'we are all fools, deviants, outcasts, clowns and criminals'.

'Carnival Against Capital' London 1999

During the Zombie Seminar which we organized in Barakaldo last December, Laurence Rassel, cyberfeminist and member of the Belgium artist group Constant, told us about the Cyborg Manifest of Donna Haraway, the vampires of Octavia Butler and the series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, using them as examples to show how fictional characters can help us to think about ourselves beyond "the strict limits society, religion or politics confines our identity to".

We can think of these figures as alter egos, with characteristics that belong to the limbo of humanity, the unnatural. They talk about the essence of humanity, by focusing precisely in the loss of it. As one of the vampires in the British television serial "Ultraviolet" tells the embittered widow of a scientist who turned vampire:

You seem to think that we are the ones who change after death. But I wonder what happened to the person your husband described to me. He is not the one who lost his humanity. I understand why you have become this person. You don't want his life back. You want your own.

Maybe it's only human to transform into “something else” in the encounter with the unnatural and the inhuman.

The subversive possibilities of fictional figures has been used in activism as well. The 3rd of February, in the beginning of our stay in Overvecht, we invited Rebelact to give a presentation. Rebelact is a group of clowns that tries to glue together art, humor, activism and communication media. They find their references in alterglobalization movements such as C.I.R.C.A. (Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army), Rebel Clowns that "embody life's contradictions, they are both fearsome and innocent, wise and stupid, entertainers and dissenters, healers and laughing stocks, scapegoats and subversives". Movements like this one contributed with new forms of action in the protests against the G8 of Seattle, Praga and Genoa, introducing the "tactical frivolity" as a strategy employing the whimsical and proclaiming the carnivalization of daily life.

Rebelact is organizing a Basic Rebel Clown Training fron the 18th to the 20th of April. Pity that coincides with the Overvecht Zombiewalk!

Here is a list of very interesting videos of different alterglobalization groups:

Tactical Frivolity and Rythms of Resistance (Documentary by Nuria Vila + Marcelo Expósito)

C.I.R.C.A. (Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army)

Tute Bianche

Stop laminatization (Action by Rebelact)

Rita Promotie Team (Action by Rebelact)

Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum


Iratxe Thu, 01/01/1970 - 02:00

Full text of Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century":


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