From the globalization protests of the previous decade to the more recent Occupy Movement, activists have embraced the use of digital video. Many appropriations of the technology, including those by human rights advocates, rest on the theory that ‘seeing is believing’ and understand video to be uniquely suited to forms of truth telling such as witnessing, documenting and reporting. While I encountered such realist uses of video during fieldwork with direct action movements in the former Yugoslavia, activists are also preoccupied with videos depicting the most physical confrontations with the police, videos they sometimes referred to as ‘riot porn’. They engage these videos for the sensory, affective and bodily experiences they facilitate. Indeed, activist practices around and claims for video indicate that they understand video as a technology of the self, using it to forge emotional relationships with activists elsewhere, steel themselves for physical confrontation and cultivate new political desires.
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