Mark Borkowski


View Profile

Skaggs, Blags and Rags: Hoaxes and the Press

by
Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Publicity Stunts

Submitted by Mark Borkowski from Borkowski Blog. Mark is author of The Fame Formula: How Hollywood’s Fixers, Fakers and Star Makers Shaped the Publicity Industry


Skaggs, Blags and Rags: Hoaxes and the Press
October 16th, 2009

If you want proof that stunts are an art form, your best bet is to head down to the Tate Modern’s Pop exhibition and take a long, hard look at the Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons exhibits. Here are two prime examples of early stops at one of the stations of the cross of Consumerism, part of its steady progress to becoming the prime 21st Century religion.

And proof is needed that stunts are an art form – they are making something of a comeback at the moment, but the latest examples – the Starsuckers film and Balloon Boy – are in need of a bit of spit and polish if they are to really shine.

Despite all this, there has been not one mention of the master of the hoax, Joey Skaggs, the master Culture Jammer whose hoaxes have always had a pertinent point to make. This is a pity because the Starsuckers team could learn a trick or two from him. (more…)

British Tabloids Hoaxed

by
Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Literacy

Submitted by Mark Borkowski:


Starsuckers celebrity hoax dupes tabloids
by Paul Lewis
Guardian.co.uk
14 October 2009

From ‘flamey’ Amy Winehouse to Russell Brand the banker, documentary team’s fake celebrity stories fooled editors

Watch interview with filmmaker Chris Atkins here.
Visit Starsuckers Website here.

starsuckers-200The plan to subvert the pages of some of Fleet Street’s bestselling newspapers was hatched in a windowless office in east London. For months, a team of documentary makers had sat in the Brick Lane film studio they called “the cell”, trawling through tabloid clippings in search of stories they could prove were untrue.

They decided to concoct an experiment to test their theory that tabloid editors sometimes publish celebrity stories with scant regard for the truth.

“We consumed a lot of coffee thinking about it,” said Chris Atkins, the director of the forthcoming film Starsuckers. “How can we do this intelligently? How can we prove our point? But how can we make it funny?” (more…)

Edinburgh Festival’s Greatest PR Moments

by
Filed under: Publicity Stunts

From Mark Borkowski:

A good stunt certainly relies on taking risks… The aim is to engage people and make them laugh or exclaim with astonishment, whether they see the stunt or read about it in the papers. You’ve got to push a stunt as far as it will go without actually hurting people


Cunning stunts: Edinburgh Festival’s greatest PR moments
by Mark Borkowski
The Independent
9 August 2009

Edinburgh old-timer Mark Borkowski pays tribute to one of the festival’s finest art forms: the publicists’ tricks that propel certain performers centre stage

1a_231878d-200This is the year to celebrate the festival stunt – the quick and naughty publicist’s plaything, constructed to achieve mass media attention. Publicity stunts have always been a vital ingredient of the Edinburgh Festival mayhem. They bring a creative flourish and give the shows life outside the rarefied Scottish climate.

Some have suggested the stunt is an endangered species, but I believe it is an art form as relevant as any performance on view in August, so I have set up a Twithibition to celebrate great stunts of the past. Each one has been captured in poster form by the design god David Hillman, based around photographs by Geraint Lewis and located at the home of the original stunt.

Click here to launch Mark Borkowski’s Top 10 Stunts. (more…)

Cut and paste off the BBC!

by
Filed under: Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

From Mark Borkowski:

Adam Smith is writing his award winning prose for the Birmingham Mail after the big Obama party in Miami.

Birmingham Mail, Afterparty Obama (Part 1)

Artist to Sell £14,040 of Drugs in Glasgow Gallery

by
Filed under: Art Pranks

From Mark Borkowski’s Borkowski Blog, May 6, 2008:

I have just been sent this release about a solo show by artist activists the “Vacuum Cleaner”. The group plans to sell £14,040 of Coke, Heroin and Hash as part of a gallery show. What a wonderful idea. Contemporary art is reaching new heights, mixing a PR stunt with art. Is it a wind up? I really don’t care, but I know where I’d like to be on Friday evening.


Get Ta Suck
A solo show by artist activist’s the vacuum cleaner.

The Vacuum CleanerArtist to sell £14,040 of drugs in Glasgow Gallery

Preview 09.05.08: 7-9.30 pm
Exhibition runs 10.05.08 – 18.05.08
Weds-Sun 12-6pm

+44 141
SWG3 – work@swg3.tv
100 Eastvale Place
G3 8QG

Glasgow based artist activist ‘the vacuum cleaner’ are planning to sell £14,040 of Coke, Smack and Soap Bar (Hash) as part of a gallery show at the Studio Warehouse, Glasgow.

The piece titled Smack, Soap Bar, Coke is one of a series of new works to be included in the groups first solo gallery show. The ‘enfants terrible’ of the Glasgow art scene will also be including some of their most controversial existing works; including The Ultimate Television Commercial, a remix of the Paris Hilton Sex Tape, Deep Throat and Coke bottles, the video hasn’t been seen since it was band from most of the internet last year. (more…)

When Photos Go Wrong

by
Filed under: Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

From Mark Borkowski:

Hampshire police thought it would be a good idea to advertise on the back of buses. Their planning didn’t take into account the position of the exhaust pipe…

police-bus-425.jpg

The Great and Perverse Dexter

by
Filed under: Art Pranks, Publicity Stunts

From Mark Borkowski:

dexter.jpgI love the notion of stunts and pranks if the end product generates meaningful content and lingers in the conscious. When Joey asked me to contribute to Pranks I had some great fun tripping down memory lane, and remember a bizarre prank show I staged with performance artist Dexter Augustus.

I have worked with the great and perverse Dexter, who staged daily shows in the front room of a respectable Edinburgh Morningside house (where “sex” is what nuggets of coal is packed in) to a maximum audience of six. He let the audience in for free and, on the basis that critics don’t pay for their seats, to retain the protocol of inequality, he paid each reviewer £10 to come in. He refused Ruby Wax entry because he didn’t like her coat.

On the roof of the house, he placed rave-sized speakers blasting out a repetitive egocentric two-minute ditty on a tape loop, which attracted police attention when local residents claimed they were being subjected to the aural equivalent of Chinese water torture. The coverage was superb. (more…)