underground 2.0

Continuing a run of posts on digital theorist Geert Lovink, his post Underground Networks in the Age of Web 2.0 merits a read. I disagree with parts of this statement, however:

The actual use of Web 2.0 is what counts here, not how op-eds and columnists frame the topics of the day. What we think is ‘happening’ is an outcome of the reconfiguration of the social, in favor of informal spheres, a media ecology in which we constantly check what’s going on. The erosion of official media will only make it harder to define what a true ‘underground’ looks like. Hiding in the abandoned normalcy is, and always has been an option, but with the decline of Pop, it is becoming less and less sexy to survive in suburbia. Mashups and reappropriation techniques have exhausted themselves. The ruins of the industrial age have been recolonized and turned into valuable real estate. Squatting empty office spaces, symbols of the post-industrial era, has yet to take off—and may never happen because of harsh legal and surveillance regimes. Nothing is left behind. Abandoned space itself has become scarce—except the desert.

It's unclear where the line is drawn in this paragraph between urban space as a metaphor and actual urban space. In any case, mashups and reappropriation techniques haven't exhausted themselves, even if Lovink is bored with them. In fact it's interesting that they continue below the level of copyright cop surveillance. Discussing cell phone activists knowing when to turn off their phones, Lovink talks about the "seventh sense one has to develop to locate the present surveillance video cameras." It may be that the remixer/masher/datamosher has developed the same radar for avoiding copyright harassment (which often disguises political motives).