The World of the Prank

The artist as social provocateur and activist incorporates humor, satire, irony, political commentary and/or direct action to provoke critical thinking. Pranks challenge convention and the status quo and expose prejudices and biases.

Blog Posts

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 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.

Mike Huckabee Won’t Give You a Choice

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Satire, The Big One

From Erin:

Mike Huckabee guitar lessons

Inside the Center for Tactical Magic

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.

Austerity Art in Athens

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Street artists in Athens are expressing their economic concerns and frustration with vivid imagery:






See more images from Huff Post Greece.

Jester as Publicist

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Filed under: Publicity Stunts

Tourism promotion 101: Anoint a court jester for your castle.

Welsh Castle Appoints First Jester Since 13th Century
by Kira Brekke
HuffPost Live
August 5, 2015

Why, you ask? Why not?

The job of a jester — also known as a professional joker or “fool,” for all you plebeians out there — has been mostly left behind in medieval history. But the post has been resurrected thanks to Conwy Castle in Wales, which has just pointed its first jester since the 13th century. HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps spoke to the jester himself, Russel Erwood (or “Erwyd le Fol”), about how such a position was bestowed upon him and what we can expect from him and his jesterly ways in the coming months.

Mad Magazine’s Upcoming Homage to the U.S. Political Process

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Filed under: Parody, Satire

Coming soon… Mad magazine’s August 12, 2015 issue transforms 2016 presidential candidates into the entertainment fodder they seem to aspire to be. Here’s a sample:

Mad magazine's Hillary Clinton poster

Mad magazine's Ben Carson poster

Mad magazine's Donald Trump poster

Mad magazine's Bernie Sanders poster

Mad magazine's Jeb Bush poster

via Huffington Post

Improv Everywhere’s Unexpected Ballet

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

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.
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?


Children vs. Fashion

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Filed under: Creative Activism

From the website of Yolanda Dominquez, visual artist and activist who, “through irony and contextualization as principal strategies, creates situations or scenarios in which the viewer is involved and can participate.”

She recently asked young children to talk about images fashion brands use to promote their new collections.

Watch the video:





Read more here: Kids Point Out Dark Side Of Fashion Ads That We’ve All Been Ignoring, by Jamie Feldman, July 30, 2015, HuffPo.

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.

Marching to the Beat of his Own Drum

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Filed under: Parody

This Heterosexual Pride Parade Could Not Have Failed Any Harder Than It Just Did
by Cavan Sieczkowski
The Huffington Post
July 27, 2015

Heterosexual Pride Parade

Heterosexuals apparently weren’t too prideful this weekend.

Blogger Anthony Rebello was the organizer behind the Heterosexual Parade at Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Saturday. Over 2,000 people were invited on Facebook to attend the event created “in the name of equality [and] equal rights … to celebrate our right to be heterosexual, and to encourage younger heterosexuals that they should be proud of their heterosexuality.”

While 169 responded “yes” to the event, just one person showed up, according to Seattle Gay Scene: Rebello. Photos of him marching with balloons and a cardboard sign reading “Straight Pride” were posted on Facebook over the weekend.

Read the rest of this article here

Tuba Libre

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Filed under: Creative Activism

Meet the Man Who Beat the KKK With a Tuba
Daily Beast
by Ben Collins
July 22, 2015

A video of Matt Buck humiliating the Klan with his tuba has gone viral. We talked to the American hero about the rally, his song selection, and ‘Tuba Libre’ social justice.

Matt Buck with Tuba

Matt Buck walked alongside a Klan rally with his sousaphone on Saturday, farting out a low, slow version of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” as a plodding gaggle of KKK members slowly clopped toward the South Carolina State House.

His mini-protest only lasted a couple of minutes, but most of it was on video. That 95-second clip, which was taken by a stranger, has now reached 3.6 million views at press time—most of them since Tuesday morning.

Read the rest of this article here.

When Life Imitates Satire: Israeli Newspaper Spooked by The Onion’s Prescient Report

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Filed under: Satire, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

‘Netanyahu cheered up by US missile offer’: how the Onion scooped Haaretz
by Jessica Elgot
The Guardian
July 21, 2015

Satirical site’s joke about the US offering missiles to the Israeli prime minister to appease him over the Iran nuclear deal turned out to be uncannily accurate

Binyamin Netanyahu‘US Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment of Ballistic Missiles’ sounds like a headline from the Onion. And it is – except that this time it’s true. International media organisations have regularly been caught out by the satirical news site, fooled into thinking that Kim Jong-un really was voted the world’s sexiest man, or that Americans would prefer a beer with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than Barack Obama.

But this time editors of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz were spooked by a story in the Onion from the previous day that matched what they had heard as fact.

Last week, the paper reported a senior US official as saying that Obama had spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, offering to “begin immediate talks about upgrading the Israel Defence Forces’ offensive and defensive capabilities” after US negotiators reached a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme, which was condemned by Israel. But the day before, the Onion had published a tongue-in-cheek piece announcing that the Israeli government would receive “a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles” to help them come to terms with the Iran deal.

The piece included jokey quotes from a “State Department spokesperson”, which said: “Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up … At least we’ll have a couple months of peace and quiet around here.”

Life does not entirely imitate satire: Haaretz reported that the Israeli leader has said he would not accept the offer, because to do so would imply that the Iran deal had been tacitly accepted, though Israeli army radio on Monday quoted unnamed defence ministry officials as saying they would discuss compensation from the US.

Read the rest of this article here.

Non-profit that entrapped Planned Parenthood in supposed “fetus selling” scandal is not what it purports to be

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Filed under: Political Pranks, Propaganda and Disinformation

Update, August 1, 2015: A Los Angeles judge has placed a temporary injunction on the Center for Medical Progress, stopping them from issuing any further anti-Planned Parenthood videos they may have illegally obtained using fake IDs.

CMP logoHuffington Post states that the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group behind the sting that has discredited Planned Parenthood by publishing a video about the organization selling fetal parts, is a sham non-profit. The Center, in turn, created a “shell” group called Biomax, calling it a “fetal tissue procurement company,” to entrap a Planned Parenthood executive into speaking casually over a meal with wine about procedures for shipping fetuses to laboratories for research.

The final video was edited to make it appear that Planned Parenthood sells fetuses from abortions, when in actuality, at the request of some women, they donate the fetuses for research. Reimbursements are to cover the cost of transportation. None of this is illegal. According to, there appears to be a link between the head of the group David Daleiden and James O’Keefe, known for creating similar dishonest and inflamatory videos in support of hot right wing political issues.

Here’s the video in question. Watch carefully. Look for the numerous camera angles, as there are at least 2 if not 3 concealed cameras. And listen to the dialog to see how easy it is to take what someone says out of context, turning it into a story about something totally different.

Read more about this here:

  • What Is the Center for Medical Progress, the Group Behind the Latest Viral Abortion Video?
  • Huffington Post: Group Behind Planned Parenthood Sting Video May Have Tricked IRS, Donors

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