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Martin le Chevallier’s Miraculous European Flag

Filed under: Creative Activism, The Big One

Submitted by André Gattolin:

Press release
Brussels: A Procession in Praise of a Miraculous European Flag

A procession lead by the french artist Martin Le Chevalier will bring to Brussels a miraculous European flag. The flag, on which has appeared Christ’s face, would be proof of the European Christian identity. It will be transported on man’s back in a reliquary. The procession’s arrival at the European parliament is planned on Monday the 30th of March at 3pm.

Martin Le Chevallier, visual artist, lives and works in Paris.

About the Artist:

Born in May 1968, Martin Le Chevallier is one the first artists to use videogames and interactive films to produce a body of work which aims at critically reviewing our contemporary myths and ideologies. He created various experimental and interactive films, exploring personal thoughts and behaviors from characters dealing with social situations.

Maurice le Chevallier, The Audit

In 2008, he hired a consulting firm to assess the validity of his artistic and commercial choices by conducting an “artistic performance audit.” (more…)

McDonalds Supersizes the Crowd to Promote their Burgers in Osaka

Filed under: Publicity Stunts

Submitted by André Gattolin:

McDonald’s admits 1,000 people paid to join queue for Quarter Pounder debut in Osaka
Japan Today
26 December 2008

mac3-200Osaka “” Around 1,000 people were paid to join the queue outside the Midosuji-Suomachi branch of McDonald”™s for the release of their Quarter Pounder burger in the Kansai area on Tuesday, it was learned on Thursday.

The company has admitted to the fact that around 1,000 people who lined up on Tuesday were compensated, but claims they only made a request for consumer feedback to one of their marketing companies. There are suspicions however that the people were employed to help promote the new product, serving a role known as “sakura” in Japanese.

It is estimated that as many as 2,000 people were lining up outside the McDonald”™s store at its peak on Tuesday, and that around 15,000 people in total visited the store during the day, setting a new record for daily sales for one of their stores. But it was learned on Thursday that about 1,000 of the people queuing outside were paid an hourly wage of 1,000 yen and also had their purchase paid for. These people were hired by a human resources company at the request of a marketing company commissioned by McDonald”™s Japan.

A McDonald”™s Japan spokesman said: “We wanted to know how the service and product quality were on the first day. We didn”™t know 1,000 people had been sent to the store.”

Media Hoaxing and Social Research Seminar, CNRS, Paris [English & French]

Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Prank News

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Laboratoire
«Communication et Politique»
Paris, France

Media Hoaxing: From Entertainment to Media Criticism
Thursday, November 27, 2008
(Seminar organized by
André Gattolin & Hervé Glevarec)
Program for Research Day

Relevance of Media Hoaxing as an Object of Social Research:

For the past several years a profusion of media hoaxes have spread in France and all over the World. Until recently, very little academic research had been conducted on the subject and no one had really portrayed a global perspective. In December 2006, a very elaborate hoax perpetrated by a public TV channel in Belgium brought the process to light and generated much interest among media and social researchers. Techniques developed by media hoaxers have become so highly sophisticated that this unconventional practice has become a fertile field for social research and a path to understanding the complex relationship between the media and their audiences. Dating back to the 18th century, having evolved along with the first mass media publications, hoaxes were considered worthless and vulgar jokes with malicious or humorous intent. During the last decades, the humor persists as one dimension of hoaxes. However, it appears that more and more people have become aware of the hoax as a new dimension of social criticism, which includes political protest and, of course, media subversion.

We will take the opportunity of Joey Skaggs”™ visit to Europe – on the occasion of his participation in a conference hosted in Karlsruhe (Germany) by the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie – to explore and analyze the protest movement against mass-media known as «culture jamming» which has developed during the last 40 years in the United States of America. With his lifetime work on the cutting edge of art and activism, Joey Skaggs is a pioneer of this cultural movement and is still active today.

For more information, contact André Gattolin

French Version, including the schedule for the day: (more…)

François Caradec, French Writer and Pranks Encyclopedist, RIP [English & French]

Filed under: Prank News, The History of Pranks

From André Gattolin:

François Caradec, French post-dadaà¯st writer, died Thursday, November 13, 2008 in Paris. He was 84 and was renowned as one of the best specialists of French marginal and creative literature of the 19th and the early 20th century. He was a connoisseur of Alphonse Allais (one of the first French literary hoaxers), Alfred Jarry, Isidore Ducasse de Lautréamont and Raymond “Crazy” Roussel.

A close friend of many surrealist writers, Caradec was also Regent of the Pataphysic College and part of the “œuvre de littérature potentielle” (Oulipo) created by Georges Pérec.

In 1964, he published (with his accomplice Alain Arnaud) one of the most relevant encyclopedias ever written on pranks, pratical jokes and hoaxes called Dictionnaire des farces et attrapes.

I unfortunately never met him but I had the wonderful chance, two years ago, to review a copy of this very rare and marvellous book”¦

If heaven really exists, its inhabitants will, from now on, have to face Caradec”™s pranks for eternity!

Here’s his obituary from Le Monde: (more…)

Neorhino Party: From Party to Party ‘Til Victory

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From André Gattolin: My surrealist friends of the Neorhino Party in Quebec will run in the coming general election in Canada on October 14th. They are now officially recognized as a national party, and consequently they receive free time on various tv channels for their campaign.

They’re platform is to cut the entire Canadian military budget, and invest it in culture, education and health care. They call for the creation of a new federation between Québec and Cuba (Cubec) because of the incredible complementarity between these two states: Cuba has so many medical practitioners and Québec so many sick people.

See all their official campaign videos (unfortunately exclusively in french) here (under title “Nos vidéos gratuites”).

Hacking “Harassment by Advertising”

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

French Protesters Wage War on Billboards
by Max Colchester
The Wall Street Journal
September 26th, 2008

Small Band of Activists Hopes Graffiti Campaign Will Prompt Government to Ban Large Outdoor Ads

Paris-On Friday, Alex Baret plans to board a train to central Paris, pull out a can of spray paint and deface a billboard, as he has done every last Friday of the month for more than two years. The slogan he prefers to leave scrawled on his targets: Harcèlement Publicitaire, or Harassment by Advertising.

The 34-year-old musician, who lives in the city’s suburbs, hopes such acts of vandalism will encourage the French government to ban large billboards, which he says “force messages onto unsuspecting passersby and ruin the landscape.” Just a handful of protesters join Mr. Baret in his monthly graffiti blitzes, but scores of sympathizers typically gather to watch. And he has rallied several French philosophers and intellectuals to his cause. (more…)

Retour de Prosexion

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

From André Gattolin, September 13, 2008:

Paris is a very busy town at this moment, because Pope Benedetto XVI is visiting us, trying to meet young people (and more especially young boys – please don’t ask me why).

Last night, B16 gathered with thousands of pilgrims in the center of Paris under the protection of thousands of cops.

The Brigade Activiste des Clowns (the parisian section of Clown Army) decided to honored this popular event, offering to young pilgrims crucifixes made with blown up condoms (in honor of the stupid position of the Roman Catholic church about sex and contraception).

You can see that some Catholic pilgrims, ignorant about contraception, are unable to recognize a condom and chose to walk in the procession (prosexion!) with these very strange crucifixes.

IBM Second Life Union Protest [in English, French & Italian]

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Submitted by André Gattolin with thanks to Davide Barillari, the initiator of the successful IBM strike that took place in Second Life in September, 2007: Not so sure that it is the first action of this kind, but nevermind, it has to be noticed…


A l’appel de la Représentation Syndicale Unitaire (RSU) d’IBM Italie et avec l’appui de UNI Global Union, des salariés d’IBM mécontents de leur condition ont organisé en septembre 2007 une manifestation “virtuelle” dans Second Life, la première du genre. Les syndicats ont justifié cette initiative par l’échec des négociations traditionnelles, et par l’espoir de bénéficier d’une large publicité. / IBM employee members of the trade union RSU, supported by the federation UNI, called a one-day strike by their avatars in the virtual world Second Life. The aim was to protest against IBM’s intention to drop performance bonuses. The resulting talks led to the bonuses being reinstated. Takes labour-management relations into the digital age.

IBM Virtual Strike in Second Life!

For more information, visit these sites:

  • IBM SL Protest Organization, information and photos
  • IBM Strike: Intervista [in Italian]
  • Banksy: One Nation Under CCTV

    Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

    Submitted by André Gattolin:

    Banksy, the well-known english street painter, strikes again, this time in the center of London, attacking the ‘society of control’.

    Banksy, One Nation Under CCTV

    For more info –> (more…)

    Squat London: Connecting People to Empty Places [English & French]

    Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

    Submitted by André Gattolin — “A very nice initiative created by friends in London. It’s not a hoax, it’s real stuff!” Here are several interesting links. The last one is by André himself [in French]:

    Free Spaces London Events Listing for this weekend
    Squat the Lot
    8 April 2008


    Space Is The Place – side stepping the property ladder

    This is a one-off series of events to coincide with the Europe-wide days of action in defence of free spaces and for an anti-capitalist popular culture. The events are based at a new squatted social centre in Shoreditch and other autonomous spaces around London.

    The themes for Space Is the Place are the appropriation of public space by big business through privatisation and speculation, the sell-off of council housing and how the current housing crisis affects the most disadvantaged, gentrification and redevelopment of East London for the Olympics in 2012, the mismanagement of land and its ownership by the wealthy elite…

    There will be an open access art-space themed as above, discussions and skill-sharing to bring people together and share ideas on how we can solve the problems we face, (more…)