Radical Imagination (Carnivals of Resistance)

A videotape by Marcelo Expósito.

60 minutes, 2004. Filmed in London.

Produced with the help of Shedhalle (Zürich), for the thematic series of exhibitions Spectacle, Pleasure Principle, or the Carnivalesque.

Film credits.

Radical Imagination (Carnivals of Resistance) recalls the experience of Reclaim the Streets, one of the landmark movements in the formulation of new forms of political activism in the 1990s, with their radical and creative occupations of “public” spaces in London and other British cities. This film focuses more specifically on the occupation and paralysation of London’s financial centre, the City, one of the main actions that took place during the Global Action Day Against Capital on the 18th of June, 1999 (known as J-18).

The video puts forward the argument that the type of carnivalesque political irruption characteristic of the RTS street-parties prefigure later forms of anticapitalist protest of the global movement. The piece shows the ways in which the protest’s carnivalesque modulation takes place precisely at the moment when translocal links between the different radical democratic and direct action struggles against neoliberalism are being established. The radical imagination of the new forms of political action consists in prefiguring the world wished for precisely at the moment of the protest, in the forms of the protest’s construction and expressivity themselves.

Masks, music, the body and communication are fundamental ingredients of the carnivalesque protest. The video proposes the following formal problem: how to represent a protest that operates on multiple focuses and thus, with its diverse ramifications and action fronts, completely breaks with the protest’s classic models. Visually it achieves this level of questioning by fragmenting the screen and through non-linear narrative forms which gather—in a montage of semiautonomous narrative blocks—interviews, music (Glenn Gould, Schönberg, Belaska), texts (Bakhtin, Notes from Nowhere) and diverse archive material (from cinema to painting).


Distribution and online viewing: Hamaca Media & Video Art Distribution.

See also about this video: Jelena Vesic, “Radical Imagination (Carnivals of Resistance)“.

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