An archaeology of media artivism: attempting to draft the history of digital culture for social change Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2024

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 14


  • 33


  • 33

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1695-5951


  • The emergence of media artivism over the last decades constitutes a new and relevant field of study for researchers of digital culture and social change, digital art historians and media archaeologists. Since the inception of the new millennium and the spread of electronic culture, media artivism has grown into a field of its own with distinctive organizations, artists, curators and critics devoted to engaged practices that are close to political antagonism and far from the concerns of the elitist art world. Considering the worsening environmental and political crisis around the globe, the spread and conscious use of new technologies becomes essential to update the concept of artivism, intended as a kind of action-taking art devoted to social issues. By establishing an epistemological framework along the lines of media archaeology and digital art history, the research highlights the role of media artivism in the context of recent historical and societal developments, as well as its potentially leading role for behavioral and social change. From pioneering experiences to current practices, the paper explores how a growing number of practitioners are tackling societal concerns through digital strategies and thus drawing attention to several critical topics, such as: gender issues, environmental delinquency, racial discrimination, social injustices, political corruption, abuse of power, invasive technologies and surveillance abuse. In the course of the analysis, a relevant role is given to practices based on hacktivism, public engagement and intercreative procedures that aim at highlighting, disclosing, or spreading the state of affairs which are still uncovered in traditional media and thus expanding the role of investigative art/journalism in the Postdigital Age. The case studies presented show how media artivism emerges as an autonomous field shaped by practitioners acting on the premise of a vocation on the fringe between society and the art world.


  • Information Science


  • activism; digital culture; media archaeology; media artivism; public engagement; social change; activismo; cultura digital; arqueología mediática; artivismo mediático; compromiso público; cambio social