…Exploring the role of the prankster as artist, activist and social observer and the significance of the prank in society.
Author: Mark Borkowski
Mark Borkowski and his 30-strong agency BORKOWSKI PR are among the London media industry\"™s most talented practitioners of the craft of publicity, with Mark widely acknowledged as the contemporary authority on public relations.
He trained in theatre publicity at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and subsequently with Joan Littlewood\"™s Theatre Royal, Stratford East. Borkowski PR was founded in 1988, and grew rapidly by representing a broad spectrum of leading arts and entertainments stars, from the left-of-field (Archaos, Cirque du Soleil, Stomp, The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow) to the mainstream (The Bolshoi Ballet, The Kirov, The Royal Albert Hall, Sir Cliff Richard), to landmark TV (The Word, Spooks, Cracker, Our Friends In The North, Never Mind the Buzzcocks) and current theatre (Cabaret, The Glass Menagerie, MAMMA MIA!, Treats, The Last Laugh, A Model Girl).
What distinguishes him from other publicists is the showmanship of his ideas. This is a man who has commissioned interviews with tap-dancing dogs, publicly auditioned parrots, cats and crocodiles, and was once frog-marched from the BBC for letting scorpions loose in a Green Room. There\"™s more; cow pat flinging competitions, sword-fighting workshops with Douglas Fairbanks, driving cars on two wheels across the Albert Bridge, a dull cheapest\"“ever book launch in a dirty launderette, an Action Man party in an NCP car park, a Vivienne Westwood dress for a doll, and a ballet for radio-controlled vacuum cleaners. He\"™s created a newspaper column written by a cat, and once walked an elephant into a fish and chip shop with the Andrews Sisters.
Although the agency\"™s clients have included products and companies as diverse as Vodafone, Peugeot, Virgin Megastores and JCB, links with the arts remain strong. The roll call of major international stars includes Noel Edmonds, Michael Flatley, Macaulay Culkin, Damien Hirst, Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers, Eddie Izzard, Mikael Gorbachev, Graham Norton and Boy George.
To publicise the agency\"™s tenth anniversary, Borkowski PR produced an exhibition and a book entitled Impropaganda: The Art of the Publicity Stunt.
Mark is a regular performer on television, commenting on all matters concerning PR. In the spring of 2004 he presented the BBC 3 documentary How The War Was Spun on the use of censorship and cover-up during the 2nd Gulf War. Mark took to the stage of the Edinburgh Festival fringe in August 2004 with his show Son of Barnum: A Stunt Too Far? the history of the forgotten Hollywood publicists. Mark was then commissioned to write a book on the subject, due for publication in 2007.
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.
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.
The 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?” Continue reading “British Tabloids Hoaxed”
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
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
This 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.
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.
SWG3 – email@example.com
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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. Continue reading “Artist to Sell £14,040 of Drugs in Glasgow Gallery”