Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

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Improv Everywhere: Ballroom Crosswalk

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere: Pedestrians in a busy New York city crosswalk suddenly begin ballroom dancing.


Ballroom Crosswalk

For our latest mission, pedestrians in a busy New York crosswalk begin ballroom dancing one by one as they “accidentally” bump into their partners. This project took place on the crosswalk in front of Penn Station on 7th Avenue, one of the busiest spots in the city. We staged the mission several times, with the performance repeating at each change of the light and always finishing before the “Don’t Walk” countdown clock reached zero.

bc11

For this project we put out a call to our NYC mailing list looking for ballroom dancers. For the most part participants didn’t know each other before this project, though some participated with their dance partners. We had one loose rehearsal just to walk through the logistics and make sure everyone was comfortable with the idea and their partners.

It was a great spot because there was always a healthy crowd of people coming to and from Penn Station. Each time we staged it, 95% of the people around us were seeing it for the first time. We noticed a few people who stuck around, hoping to see it again. The best reactions came from those in the crosswalk who got caught up in it as it started. Some folks were in a hurry, rushing to catch their train, but most everyone did a double take and smiled. I had a blast watching it from the sideline.

This project was a collaboration with YouTube’s new Field Day channel. Check out our video on the Field Day channel that features parts of this mission as well as our Groundskeeper Acrobats and Unexpected Ballet missions.

Created and Directed by Charlie Todd / Produced by: Deverge. For more information and photos, visit here.


Hanksy Takes a Trump

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Satire

Artist “Hanksy” shares his opinion of the front-running GOP candidate:

tumblr_ntpim04cY11r9ynhlo1_500

Also, check out Hanksy’s recent tour of Detroit and its graffiti:
“Surplus Candy” :: Episode 2 :: DETROIT

Watch the video

via HuffPo


Mickey Mouse is Mourning

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Pranksters, Satire

Banksy’s Dismaland website is up. Includes full details and schedules.

BROCHURE_c_11.08

Thanks Chris


Banksy’s Dismaland Theme Park Opens

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Satire, The Prank as Art

Channel 4 News reports, August 20, 2016:

Banksy’s “family theme park unsuitable for small children” has opened on the Weston-super-Mare seafront. It features migrant boats, dead princesses and Banksy’s trademark dark humour.

The park features Banksy’s artistry as well as works by 50 other artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer.

Buzzfeed published these photos:

Banksy's Dismaland: Little Mermaid

Dismaland is a five-week show housed inside and around a derelict Tropicana building in Weston-super-Mare, a seaside town in Somerset, England. Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal

Banksy's Dismaland theme park Seaworld-like attraction. Christopher Jobson for Colossal

Banksy’s Dismaland theme park Seaworld-like attraction. Christopher Jobson for Colossal

Banksy's tanker truck disaster at Dismaland. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Tanker truck disaster in Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Grim reaper on bumper cars at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Grim reaper on bumper cars at Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Radio controlled refugee boat game at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Radio controlled refugee boat game at Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Pigeon hazard at Banksy's Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Pigeon hazard at Banksy’s Dismaland theme park. Yui Mok / PA WIRE

Banksy’s theme? According the BBC he said, “”I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is ‘theme parks should have bigger themes’.”

Read more about what Banksy describes as a “family theme park unsuitable for children” at BBC.com and at Huffington Post.


Is There a Banksy-made Disneyland Parody On the Way?

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

Inside ‘Dismaland’: Banksy’s Sinister Disney-Trolling Theme Park Reportedly Opening This Weekend
The Daily Beast
August 17, 2015

The shadowy street artist has allegedly been constructing a massive pop-up theme park under the guise of filming a Hollywood movie, and it’s rumored to open August 21 in the UK.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 9.10.36 PM

This past weekend at their annual D23 Expo, a veritable Comic-Con devoted to all things Mouse House, Disney unveiled plans for Star Wars Land—a pair of elaborate theme parks that will transport visitors to the land(s) of Star Wars, replete with a Millennium Falcon simulator, a plethora of cosplaying characters, and—yes—a full-service Cantina.

But if getting wasted on intergalactic booze, starting static with a costumed Greedo, and throwing your hard-earning money at a corporate giant isn’t your thing, then perhaps Dismaland is the place for you.

Dismaland is the name of Banksy’s gloriously subversive theme park that is heavily rumored to be opening this weekend—that is Friday, August 21—in the UK. Pictures of its mysterious construction in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England, began surfacing online late last week.

Read the whole article here.


Inside the Center for Tactical Magic

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art

Here’s a rare glimpse behind the enigma of the legendary Center for Tactical Magic as founder Aaron Gach shares his background, philosophy, and success stories in this interview with Regine Debatty.


“Interview with The Center for Tactical Magic”
by Regine Debatty
We Make Money Not Art
August 14, 2015

The Center for Tactical Magic uses any craft and scheme available, from the most magical to the most pragmatic, to address issues of power relations and self-empowerment.

At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.

Tactical Ice Cream Unit

CTM’s work combines appealing aesthetics, humour and language with actions that invite people to think, question and reclaim their civil rights. Their most famous project is the Tactical Ice Cream Unit, a truck distributing free ice cream along with propaganda developed by local progressive groups. Another of their initiative saw them launch a bank heist contest. And a year before that, they responded to New York’s stop-and-frisk policy by screening Linking & Unlinking on a digital billboard in Manhattan. The billboard showed amateur footage demonstrating how to pick a pair of handcuffs, magicians performing a classic magic trick called “linking rings“, while a text from the American Civil Liberties Union was scrolling down and explaining passersby what their rights were if they were stopped by the police. In 2013, they set up big Witches’ Cradles that evoke the Inquisition and enveloped people into an altered state (of consciousness, or an altered political state). Most recently, Gach directed and performed a radical magic show which drew parallels between magic acts and contemporary issues such as economic manipulation, political deception, vanishing resources, and social transformation.

Read the interview here.


Improv Everywhere’s Unexpected Ballet

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:


Improv Everywhere's "Unexpected Ballet"

For our latest mission, professional ballet performers pose as break dancers in New York’s Washington Square Park. The men hype up their tumbling routine to a gathered crowd before realizing they brought the “wrong music.” The crowd is surprised as they slowly realize the performer’s hidden talents.

Watch the video:

This project was a collaboration with YouTube’s new Field Day channel. For more info and photos, visit Improv Everywhere.


Brian Janosch on Tech, Comedy, Bay Area Cynicism, and the Burning Man Wall

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Pranksters, Satire

As much as we love Burning Man and the creativity on display there, we also have to admire this piece of now-viral satire from the folks at Cultivated Wit.
wall-around-sf
Unlike most anti-Burner temper tantrums, it doesn’t stick to low-hanging fruit-–it also pokes pointed fun at crowdfunding, techno-libertarian utopianism, and economic tensions in the Bay Area.

Brian Janosch, the Creative Director of Cultivated Wit and the star of the spoof video told us that, despite the rash of media coverage the Burning Man Wall has received, this is the first time he’s been asked for an interview about it.

What is Cultivated Wit and what does it do?

Well, one thing we are not is a comedy troupe. 😉 We’re a small company created by three of us who all left The Onion around the same time. The biggest thing we do is produce Comedy Hack Day, an event series that brings together comedians and developers to build hilarious and insane tech products. The best creations from every event get showcased in a comedy show that concludes each event weekend. Our about page is a little outdated and needs refreshing, but it has some more.

Why is Burning Man such a fat target?

(more…)

Billboard Artvertising

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From artist Brian Kane:


Healing Tool is art designed for people in cars.

Nature Billboard, by Brian Kane

A temporary public art installation using digital billboards on interstate freeways. June 28 June – July 26 , 2015

Read more about this at Huffington Post here.


Mobstr’s Red Wall Challenge

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Graffiti artist Mobstr tells the story with pictures of his grand experiment taunting authorities:

I cycled past this wall on the way to work for years. I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was “buffed” with red paint. However, the graffiti outside the red area would be removed via pressure washing. This prompted the start of an experiment. Unlike other works, I was very uncertain as to what results it would yield. Below is what transpired over the course of a year.

It went like this:

Red Wall 1

Red Wall 2

Red Wall 3

Red Wall 4

Continue to next page to see the rest. (more…)

Fintan Magee’s Pointless Monument

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

An optical illusion that must be viewed from one specific point.

Moving the Pointless Monument, by artist Fintan Magee:
fintan-magee-pointless-monument

Read about this work at citilab.com

See more of this artist’s work here.


Random Darknet Shopper Robot Arrested for Randomly Shopping

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Ed Coll:


Now that’s a cyber criminal! Robot is ARRESTED by police for buying ecstasy on the dark net
by Richard Gray
Daily Mail
April 20, 2015

A robot has been ‘arrested’ by Swiss police after it bought a supply of illegal drugs on a hidden region of the internet known as the ‘dark net’.

The automated computer program was designed as an online shopping system that would spend up to $100 each week by randomly purchasing an item offered for sale on the deep web.

The robot would then have its purchase mailed to a group of artists who then put the items in an exhibition in the town of St Gallen, in north east Switzerland.

The items it bought included a pair of Nike trainers, counterfeit designer jeans, the scan of a Hungarian passport and a set of UK Fire Brigade masterkeys.

Random Darknet Shopper

However, it seems the Random Darknet Shopper crossed the line when it purchased 10 Ecstasy tablets, which arrived in a vacuum packed bag hidden in a DVD case. (more…)

Unsanctioned Bust of Edward Snowden Erected (Briefly)

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Deborah Thomas:


There’s a Massive, Illicit Bust of Edward Snowden Stuck to a War Monument in Brooklyn
by Bucky Turco
AnimalNewYork.com
April 6, 2015

Illicit statue of Edward Snowden erected in Brooklyn

While most people slept, a trio of artists and some helpers installed a bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Brooklyn on Monday morning. The group, which allowed ANIMAL to exclusively document the installation on the condition that we hide their identities, hauled the 100-pound sculpture into Fort Greene Park and up its hilly terrain just before dawn. They fused it to part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers. As of press time, the sculpture was still there.

Read the full story of the erection on AnimalNewYork.com and the very quick removal by City park officials on NYDailyNews.com.

Watch the video:

The Amazing Story of Mingering Mike

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Urban Legends

The mystery of Mingering Mike: the soul legend who never existed
by Jon Ronson
The Guardian
11 February 2015

When a ‘crate-digger’ found a massive vinyl collection at a flea market, he couldn’t understand how a soul star who’d released over 100 records could just disappear. But the truth turned out to be even stranger. Jon Ronson goes in search of Mingering Mike

Intensely shy ... Mingering Mike at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Photograph: Jocelyn Augustino for the Guardian

Intensely shy … Mingering Mike at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Photograph: Jocelyn Augustino for the Guardian


This story begins with a record collector unearthing something extraordinary at a flea market one dawn in 2003. His name is Dori Hadar. He worked as a criminal investigator for a law firm in Washington DC and he’d been up all night with a client at the jail next door.

“It’s a miserable place to be, the DC jail,” Hadar tells me. “It’s stuffy and muggy and everything’s old and decaying.”

“Do you remember what your client had been accused of?” I ask.

Hadar shakes his head. “It’s basically drugs, guns and murders. Mainly.”

Hadar finally left the jail at 5am, just as a nearby flea market was setting up. He was a regular there – a “crate-digger” – for ever rifling through boxes of secondhand soul and funk albums, hunting for rarities. “It’s very competitive, the crate-digger world,” Hadar says. “People guard their boxes, they don’t want you to see, they pull the records out really fast.”

But Hadar had never been at the flea market at 5am before, and was thrilled to find no other crate-digger in sight. “And suddenly this enormous collection turned up. There must have been 15 boxes of albums.”

“As a crate-digger, that must be …”

“It’s the dream.”

All artworks courtesy the artist/Smithsonian American Art Museum

All artworks courtesy the artist/Smithsonian American Art Museum


Hadar was a true soul aficionado, with an encyclopaedic knowledge and 10,000 records at home. Which is why he was so amazed to discover 38 albums by a soul singer he had never heard of. His name was Mingering Mike. Hadar stared at the record covers. He read the liner notes. There was Mingering Mike’s 1968’s debut, Sit’tin by the Window. The cover art was a painting of a young man in a green T-shirt, good-looking, serious. The comedian Jack Benny had written the liner notes, calling him “a bright and intelligent young man with a great, exciting future awaiting him”.

So it transpired. There were greatest hits collections and a Bruce Lee concept album and movie soundtracks – including one for an action film called Stake Out. And there were live albums, like 1972’s Live from Paris, The Mingering Mike Review: ‘Their biggest show ever,’ read the liner notes. ‘What a night that was.’

Most of the song titles were upbeat and optimistic, like There’s Nothing Wrong With You Baby and Play It Cool, Don’t Be No Fool, Get Your Thing Together and Go Back to School. But other records had darker themes, like The Drug Store and Mama Takes Dope. Some were still wrapped in their original cellophane, price tags intact.

Hadar pulled out a few discs to see what condition they were in. Which was when he discovered to his enormous surprise that they weren’t vinyl. They were black-painted cardboard, with fake labels and hand-drawn grooves.

What had begun to dawn on Hadar was now totally apparent: Mingering Mike did not exist. He was somebody’s hugely detailed fantasy.

Read the whole story here.


Mingering Mike’s prodigious album collection is on exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd floor South, 8th and F Streets, N.W., February 27, 2015 – August 2, 2015


Afgan Artist Angers Her Harassers

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Afghan artist dons armour to counter men’s street harassment
by Emma Graham-Harrison
The Guardian
12 March 2015

Kubra Khademi’s eight-minute walk in Kabul wearing steel armour that emphasised her body shape inspires anger and death threats

 Kubra Khademi was surrounded by a mainly male crowd, which threw insults and stones during her walk. Photograph: Twitter

Kubra Khademi was surrounded by a mainly male crowd, which threw insults and stones during her walk. Photograph: Twitter


It took a month for Kubra Khademi to get the armour made exactly to her design; hours spent with a quiet, patient metalworker who usually made stoves.

The performance artist was an unusual customer on a street of dusty workshops in Kabul, where she chose her craftsman for his lack of curiosity about the outrageous steel plates she sketched out.

In a deeply conservative country where women are expected to shroud their figure and almost every inch of bare skin beyond hands, face and feet, she wanted steel armour that slipped over and emphasised her breasts, belly, crotch and bottom.

“He was a quiet man,” she recalls. “He didn’t question me at first, maybe because of my attitude. Then he asked: ‘What the hell is it?’, because other people were asking him.”

It was in fact part of a vanishing occurrence in the Afghan capital: a piece of performance art, planned by 27-year-old Khademi. The armour would be both protection and a defiant rebuke to the men whose groping hands and leering remarks make Kabul’s streets uncomfortable for almost any woman who walks them unchaperoned.

Photograph: Massoud Hossaini

Photograph: Massoud Hossaini

It was also an almost unimaginable provocation in a city where pornography may be avidly consumed in private, but women’s appearance is fiercely policed in public. Her performance lasted less than 10 minutes, but pictures soon ricocheted around social media, drawing anger and death threats – genuine worries in a country where women have been murdered for working as news anchors, actors and singers.

Read the rest of this article here.


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