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last updated June 4th, 2005 and is permanently morphing...
(3 Ak'bal (Night) / 1 Zots (Bat) - 3/260 - 18.104.22.168.3)
catching things on tv and getting the knack of spotting commercials, i've realized that the quality of the advertising for a product has far surpassed any notion of an entertainment feature. sometimes after witnessing a 30 second advertisement, i don't even know what the product was. this to me, indicates a subversive (and unintended) notion of creating art through advertising. it might have started with the _1984_ (quicktime) clip by Apple Computer, introducing the Mac, directed by Ridley Scott. the superbowl halftime phenomena is overwhelmingly ubiquitous and a reason enough to party. we all might view the process of selling a product insidious, but it's getting to the point where it's turning in on itself. in order to be innovative, to draw attention, it is actually producing art - to the point where the products no longer matter. it's like the ad execs are so caught up in trying to draw your attention that they forget that a product needs to move. this i term "auto-subversive".
a newer medium like the net still has that "clumsy ad" feel. therefore, ad-filters are mandatory. the difference in the surfing experience is immense. - @Om* 4/29/02
release _Extraordinary Popular Delusions_ CD by Black Lung on Nova Zembla #096
release _Adbusters: Live Without Dead Time_ MixCD by DJ Spooky (included in Adbusters subscription)
abstract political green release _The Mechanics Of Destruction_ MP3Disc by Radio Boy on Accidental (2002)
Welcome to the MECHANICS OF DESTRUCTION, a profit-free album by Matthew Herbert. It is available in its entirety as an mp3 download or as a free CD delivered in the mail.
Situationist detournement -
defined by Greil Marcus, in _Lipstick
Traces_, as "the theft of
aesthetic artifacts from their contexts and their diversion into
contexts of one's own devise."
"The control of the mass media depends on laying down lines of association...Cut/up techniques could swamp the mass media with total illusion."
- William S. Burroughs
William Burroughs popularized the idea of the literary 'cutup' in the early 1960s. His novels utilize the technique of cutting up and reworking text to create whole "new" works. Burroughs believed that the many of the messages contained within his cutup texts foreshadowed actual events. As premonitions, cutup writings became for him at least a window into a supposed other dimension.
Dimensional travel of this sort is a recurring theme in science fiction D.I.Y. media. As materials present themselves for reworking, it is hard to read into early 60s 16mm educational films anything but evidence of a society very much into laying down the law, and asserting the centrality of the authority of government, school and home. In this regard a culture jam can open up a very real 'time corridor' into the otherzone of past. The process of understanding the relationship of early media to the time they occupied is itself a valuable discipline. It is the archivist as artist and vice versa.
Worker vs. Hacker
The theme of work and the workplace are the dominant discourse in the computer mainstream. From the retail outlet sales pitch, to the ads on TV for software, using a computer is equated with the idea of the 'office in the home' rather than the plaything for the hobbyist. In its original use, the phrase "to hack" meant to open up and investigate, to be curious, to experiment, to play and to discover. This broad definition of hacking is the most useful in understanding what differentiates computers as media from computers as work implements. Hackers play with the technology of computers as an end in itself. As a creative form of experimentation, hacking opens up technology to innovation and revision. For many hackers 'work' if done on a computer means play.
This spirit of experimentation and play is at the very core of the culture-jammer aesthetic. The collage/essay style of film making for example, takes delight in the actualprocess of film assembly itself, and makes this explicit within the film's structure. A growing creative youth movement is emerging which identifies with open systems of all kinds. The rise of the Linux computer operating system is a good example. Unlike Microsoft Windows or Macintosh Operating System Linux is free and available to anyone. "Shareware" culture of this type reflects a broader sense in the community that ideas, like software and a good joke are there to be shared, circulated and made available.
The D.I.Y. or "do it yourself" movement had its correlates in the punk scene of the seventies and prior to that in the 'homegrown' media production culture of the anti-Vietnam war counter-culture. Here "low-tech" and "hands-on" techniques for music and self publishing became very popular and widespread. When I studied Media Studies at college in the early 1980s, many values of the counterculture were still in circulation: principles of 'take a camera and shoot' and 'go out and publish your own magazine'. As the eighties unfolded, gradually cuts to the liberal arts by the then treasurer John Howard hulled the media education sector of its former liberalism. Outside centers of learning, arts funding has recently favoured youth led festivals and events, of which the Newcastle Electrofringe/Young Writers Festival is exemplary.
Culture-jamming for many is an entire way of living. Its advocates generally reject the notion of the citizen as merely consumer, and the idea of society as merely marketplace. The culture-jammer and media activist approach to life questions the underlying social relations which govern the place of media (and by extension, capital) in our culture. Culture-jammer methods are strategies for self-empowerment. They embrace self-publishing in all its forms. Self made magazines (or "fanzines"' or just 'zines), techno music done by teenagers in bedrooms, personal web site production, graffiti, hacking, billboard alteration and other forms of popular media resistance to the mainstream can reside under the broad banner of media activism.
- David Cox
"Subvertising" - the production and dissemination of anti-ads that deflect Madison Avenue's attempts to turn the consumer's attention in a given direction, is an ubiquitous form of jamming. Often, it takes the form of "sniping" -- illegal, late-night sneak attacks on public space by operatives armed with posters, brushes, and buckets of wheatpaste.
"Media hoaxing" - the fine art of hoodwinking journalists into covering exhaustively researched, elaborately staged deceptions, is culture jamming in its purest form. Conceptual con artists like Joey Skaggs dramatize the dangers inherent in a press that seems to have forgotten the difference between the public good and the bottom line, between the responsibility to enlighten and the desire to entertain.
"Advertising is legalized lying." - H.G. Wells
from an interview in _Wired_ (February 2001)
Q: You talk about businessmen with such scorn. That's the lifeblood of America, isn't it?
George Carlin: It absolutely is, and that's probably why there is so much scorn. Everybody in America is a part of this big herd of cattle being led to the marketplace, not to be sold, which is usual with cattle, but to do the buying. And everyone is branded. You see the brands--Nike, Puma, Coke--all over their bodies. Pretty soon you'll go to a family and say, "$100,000 if we can tattoo Pepsi on your child's forehead, and we'll have it removed when he's twenty-one. A hundred grand." I'm sure the George Washington Bridge will someday be the Ford Motor Company George Washington Bridge. It's gone beyond what you can merely mock, so it has to be a frontal attack. Folks, this is bullshit. This is jerk-off time. Don't you see what's happening? What you're doing? What you're participating in? You know, that justice is blind, everyone's equal, the press is fair and impartial. It's what I call the "American Okey-Dokey." It's the official bullshit story.
And Americans have, for long enough now, been exposed to the exaggerated reality of the experiment here that they accept it. And the prosperity makes it easy enough for them not to go ahead and question things. You get a good five-, six-year depression in this country, and you'll see some folks out with torches and shit. I mean, that's what I would love to see. But who's going to do that when you're comfy?
An internet hoax costs Starbucks an unspecified amount of money in July when counterfeit coupons are circulated by email, offering a free twelve-ounce Creme Frappuccino. In the three hours it takes for Starbucks to discover the fraud and contact their locations, most locations have completely run out of the Frappuccino stock.
director Craig Baldwin uses found video footage and appropriation to construct visualblastic fictional documentaries
Cancel the apocalypse
cartons of the milky way with pictures of a missing planet
last seen in pursuit of an American dream
this fool actually thinks he can drive his Hummer on the moon
blasting DMX off the soundtrack of a South Park cartoon
niggas used to buy their families out of slavery
now we buy chains and links, smokes and drinks
they're paying me to record this, even more if you hear it
somebody tell me what you think I should do with the money
yes, friend tell me what you think I should do with the money
exactly how much is it gonna cost to free Mumia?
what's he gonna do with his freedom? talk on the radio?
radio programming is just that - a brainwashin' gleamed of purpose
to be honest, some freedom of speech makes me nervous
and you looking for another martyr in the form of a man
hair like a mane with an outstretched hand
in a roar of hearts, thoughts, reactionary defensiveness and counter
what exactly is innocence?
fuck it, I do believe in the existence of police brutality
who do I make checks payable to?
a young child stares at a glowing screen transfixed by tales of violence
his teenage father tells him that that's life, not that Barney shit
a purple dinosaur that speaks of love, a black man that speaks of blood
which one is keeping it real, son?
who manufactured your steel, son?
hardcore, ancient elements at the earth's core
fuck it, I'mma keep speaking 'til my throats sore
an emcee told a crowd of hundreds to put their hands in the air
an armed robber stepped to a bank and told everyone to put their hands in the air
a Christian minister gives his benediction while the congregation hold their hands in the air
love the image of the happy Buddha with his hands in the air
hands up and feel confused, define tomorrow
your belief system ain't louder than my car system
nigga walked down my block with his rotwiler, a subwoofer on a leash
each one teach one
the DJ spins a new philosophy into a barren mind
I can't front on it
my head nods as if to clear the last image from an etch-a-sketch
something like Rakim said- I could quote any emcee, but why should I?
how would it benefit me? karmic repercussions
are your tales of reality worth their sonic laced discussions?
suddenly, the ground shivers and quakes
a newborn startles and wakes
her mother rushes to her bed side to hold her to her breast
milk of sustenance heals and nourishes
from the depths of creation life still flourishes
yet we focus on death and destruction, violence, corruption
my people, let pharaoh go
what have you bought into? how much will it cost to buy you out?
what have you bought into? how much will it cost to buy you out?
what have you bought into? how much will it cost to buy you out?
(Guy with a bullhorn is driving through the city streets yelling)
You can't fight city hall. Death and taxes. Don't talk about politics or religion. This is all the equivalent of enemy propaganda rolling across the picket line. Lay down GI, lay down GI. We saw it all through the 20th century. And now in the 21st century, it's time to stand up and realize that we should not allow ourselves to be crammed into this rat maze. We should not submit to dehumanization. I don't know about you, but I'm concerned about what's happening in this world. I'm concerned with the structure. I'm concerned with the systems of control, those that control my life and those that seek to control it even more. I want freedom. That's what I want. And that's what you should want. It's up to each and every one of us to turn loose and show them the greed, the hatred, the envy, and yes, the insecurities, because that's the central mode of control. Make us feel pathetic, small, so we'll willingly give up our sovereignty, our liberty, our destiny. We have got to realize that we're being conditioned on a mass scale. Start challenging this corporate slave state. The 21st century is going to be a new century. Not the century of slavery, not the century of lies and issues of no significance, of classism, of sadism, and all the rest of the modes of control. It's going to be the age of human kind standing up for something pure and something right. What a bunch of garbage: liberal, democrats, conservative, republican, it's all there to control us, it's two sides of the same coin. Two management teams bidding for control, the CEO job of Slavery, Incorporated! The truth is out there in front of you, but they lay out this buffet of lies. I'm sick of it! And I'm not going to take a bite of it. Do you got me? Our existence is not futile. We're going to win this thing. Humankind is too, good. We're not a bunch of underachievers. We're going to stand up, and we're going to be human beings. We're going to get fired up about the real things, the things that matter, creativity and the dynamic human spirit that refuses to submit. Well that's it. That's all I got to say.
- film _Waking Life_ (avi parts 1 & 2)(360megs total)/(vhs/ntsc) directed by Richard Linklater
Culture Jamming, or sniggling, is the act of using existing mass media to comment on those very media themselves, using the original medium's communication method. It is based on the idea that advertising is little more than propaganda for established interests, and that there is little escape from this propaganda in industrialized nations. Culture jamming differs from artistic appropriation (which is done for art's sake), and from vandalism where destruction or defacement is the primary goal.
The word, "culture jamming" comes from the idea of radio jamming: that public frequencies can be pirated and subverted for independent communication, or to disrupt dominant frequencies. The Situationist International first made the comparison to radio jamming in 1968, when it proposed the use of guerrilla communication within mass media to disseminate confusion within hegemonic cultural discourse.
Culture jamming is a form of activism and a resistance movement to the hegemony of popular culture, based on the ideas of "guerrilla communication" and the "detournement" of popular icons and ideas. It has roots in the German concept of spass guerilla, and the Situationist International. Forms of culture jamming include adbusting, performance art, graffiti art and hacktivism (notably cyber squatting).
Examples of Culture Jamming:
* Billboard modifications, done in the style of the original billboard.
* Modifying slogans to create political statements. For example "Just do it... or else!" was used as a modified slogan to comment on Nike's alleged sweat shop practices.
* Google bombing, the manipulation of results associated with specific keywords in results produced by internet search engines. One practice of this has been associate the names of public figures and public institutions with humiliting and denigrating keywords, such as the phrase, 'miserable failure,' which, when typed into a Google search engine, yields the White House biography of U.S. dictator George W. Bush, or sex-advice collumnist Dan Savage's redefinition of Senator Rick Santorum's name as santorum: the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter sometimes associated with anal sex.
* The band Negativland's Dispepsi album, in which recordings related in some way to soft drinks are used to comment (in a negative way) on the beverage industry and its marketing practices.