Creative Activism

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Statues That Should Be Torn Down

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

“There shall be no golden idols…”


Golden ‘Statues’ Memorializing Donald Trump’s Most Divisive Moments Have Popped Up Around Washington, DC, Courtesy of an Ad Guru, Sarah Cascone, ArtNet News, July 21, 2020

Bryan Buckley hopes to remind voters of just how poorly Trump has handled the challenges of 2020.

Bryan Buckley, Now Go Back to School. Photo courtesy of the Trump Statue Initiative.

Big, shiny, gold statues of Donald Trump sound like they would be right up the president’s alley—but a new art project, titled the “Trump Statue Initiative,” uses the figures to instead memorialize his worst moments of 2020.

Street performers painted head-to-toe in metallic gold paint posed as still as stone atop massive plinths that hailed Trump as the “destroyer of civil rights and liberties.” The trio of “statues” appeared over the weekend in sites across Washington, DC.

Filmmaker Bryan Buckley decided to stage the project in part because of the way public statues have made headlines all summer, with activists outraging Trump with their efforts to remove memorials to Confederate leaders and other problematic historical figures. In response, the president has not only beefed up the law against vandalizing statues, but also issued an executive order to create a “National Garden of American Heroes.”

Bryan Buckley, The Bunker. Photo courtesy of the Trump Statue Initiative.

“I noticed that Trump was obsessed with statues,” Buckley told AdAge. “I felt like the best thing we could do was to create these very honest statues of the legacy he’s living right now, that let the world see exactly who he is.” Read the whole article here.

John Lewis, RIP

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, First Amendment Issues, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

From @rebecca.solnit: “John Lewis, bigger than Robert E. Lee, Richmond, VA, last night.”

Bully Baiting

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

It doesn’t take much to provoke knee jerk reactions…
h/t Eli


The Troll: A fake flag burning at Gettyburg was only his latest hoax, by Shawn Boburg and Dalton Bennett, Washington Post, July 17, 2020

A Berner Sanders supporter has provoked the far right for years using online aliases, sometimes with dangerous results.

Watch the video

Adam Rahuba, a former concert promoter, works part-time as a food-delivery driver and a DJ. At 38, he spent most of the past year staying on a friend’s couch in a small town north of Pittsburgh.

A Washington Post investigation found that Rahuba is also the anonymous figure behind a number of social media hoaxes — the most recent played out in Gettysburg on Independence Day — that have riled far-right extremists in recent years and repeatedly duped partisan media outlets.

Rahuba once claimed that activists were planning to desecrate a Confederate cemetery in Georgia, The Post found. He seeded rumors of an organized effort to report Trump supporters for supposed child abuse. And he promoted a purported grass-roots campaign to confiscate Americans’ guns.

These false claims circulated widely on social media and on Internet message boards. They were often amplified by right-wing commentators and covered as real news by media outlets such as Breitbart News and the Gateway Pundit.

The hoaxes, outlandish in their details, have spurred fringe groups of conspiracy-minded Americans to action by playing on partisan fears. They have led to highly combustible situations — attracting heavily armed militia members and far-right activists eager to protect values they think are under siege — as well as large mobilizations of police. Read the rest of the article here.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Satirical Ode to Racism

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters

In an attempt to piss gas on a fire, Sacha Baron Cohen’s fake redneck band croons disturbingly racist lyrics to a receptive crowd.


Sacha Baron Cohen Led a Far-Right Militia Group in a Deeply Racist Singalong, by Gabrielle Bruney, Esquire, June 29, 2020

Disguised in padded overalls and a hat, the prankster infiltrated the Washington Three Percent rally this weekend.

Back in 2018, Sacha Baron Cohen slapped down suggestions that his Showtime political prank series Who Is America? would return for a second season. The show, which found him adopting a variety of disguises in order to attempt to dupe Americans, particularly right wing political figures, into doing horrifyingly offensive and just plain ridiculous stuff—naturally hinged on the element of surprise. “We relied on the fact that no one was expecting me,” he told Deadline in 2018. “I hadn’t done anything undercover for over a decade and so nobody thought, ‘Oh wait a minute, is this a Sacha Baron Cohen character?’” With everyone aware that Baron Cohen is back in the wigs and prosthetic noses business, it didn’t seem likely that he’d be trying anything soon.

But that’s exactly what he would say, right, if he wanted to throw people off his trail. Because Baron Cohen may be back to his old stunts, as Variety confirmed that he was behind Saturday’s high-effort trolling of a right-wing event.

On Saturday, Olympia, Washington hosted a rally for militia group the Washington Three Percent. The organization’s leader, Matt Marshall, told NPR that a week before the event, a mysterious organization called Back to Work USA contacted the Three Percent and offered to pay for the rally and book country star Larry Gatlin to perform. It all seemed to be going as planned, until a late-comer bluegrass band took the stage. The unusually accented lead singer, wearing what appeared to be suspiciously padded overalls and a cowboy hat, lead the thin crowd in a sing-a-long whose lyrics included, “Journalists, what we gonna do? Chop them up like the Saudis do.” Read the whole story here.

Sarah Cooper’s “How To Second Term”

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

Sarah Cooper nails it…again

Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center Exhibiting Joey Skaggs’ Fish Condos

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FISH NEED BETTER HOMES!

This April, 2020, Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center presents
“Closed: SOS Mother Earth”

A virtual exhibition in honor of Earth Day, featuring
Joey Skaggs Fish Condos

See it here on Facebook (public link) and here on Instagram.
The exhibit will soon also be on their website.

Here’s a tease…

Read about the exhibition in El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish).

NYC’s 35th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade Goes Conceptual. Participate Online!

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

New York’s irreverent April Fools’ Day Parade, poking fun at the past year’s displays of hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness, is not cancelled! The theme this year is “WITCH HUNT!”

But for the first time in the 35-year history, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the parade will be conceptual. Imagine it on Wednesday, April 1, 12 Noon to 3 PM starting at 5th Ave. & 59th St. and marching down to Washington Square Park.

Stay home, stay healthy, flatten the curve and survive! And join us between now and Wednesday, April 1 by virtually designing your own floats and voting for the King of Fools (your choice from countless fools). Post on FB, Twitter or Instagram using #aprilfoolsdayparade and tag us at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

FACEBOOK EVENT
VIEW FULL ANNOUNCEMENT
VIEW ALL PAST PARADE PRESS RELEASES

Pandemic Culture Jamming

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

Danielle Baskin (@djbaskin) and Max Hawkins are busy!


QuarantineChat, An Encrypted Phone Service That Connects Quarantined People With Each Other
by Lori Dorn
LaughingSquid
March 16, 2020

Artists Danielle Baskin and Max Hawkins of Dialup, have created QuarantineChat, a voice-chat service that seeks to help people continue to have social interactions despite quarantines and cancellations due to the threat of Coronavirus. Read more here.


‘Culture Jamming’: US Woman Replaces Signs Of Sold Out Items With ‘Magical’ Ones
by Bhavya Sukheja
Republic TV
March 5, 2020

A woman based out of San Fransisco recently replaced the signs of all sold out items at a local Costco store with signs for magical items. Danielle Baskin recently took to Twitter to share the images of the things that she had put as the ‘sold out’ magical items. She replaced the signs of items, including toilet paper and bottled water with signs for magical items like ‘health potions’ and ‘tarot decks’. Read more here.

Announcing NYC’s 35th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade — The Only Parade Not Being Cancelled!

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Parody, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, Satire

The New York April Fools’ Committee Is Proud to Announce:
NEW YORK CITY’S 35th ANNUAL APRIL FOOLS’ DAY PARADE

“WITCH HUNT!”

New York’s irreverent April Fools’ Day Parade, poking fun at the past year’s displays of outrageous hype, hypocrisy, deceit, bigotry, and downright foolishness, returns! For the 35th year, the public is invited to create outrageous floats and dress up as look-alikes in colorful costumes to reflect the folly of the nuttiest politicians, crooked corporate leaders, silly celebrities, and whoever else has proved to be a total fool in the past year.

The theme of the parade this year is “WITCH HUNT!”. It will begin at Fifth Ave and 59th Street at 12 Noon, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, rain or shine. The procession will march down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park for the climactic crowning of the King of Fools.

The parade’s Grand Marshall is again President Donald Trump, who this year will be wearing a witch’s cape and hat, and will be riding a witch’s broom. On his tail will be the “Whistleblowers’ Marching Band” playing “Season of the Witch” by Donovan. Dueling color commentary will be provided by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and her husband, Attorney George T. Conway.

Chased by the mob of whistleblowers, Trump will be screaming “Witch Hunt!!!” as he attempts to outrun the crowd. Senator Rand Paul will be in hot pursuit attempting to out the identity of each whistleblower. The public is invited to bring their own whistles and join the stampede…

Says organizer Joey Skaggs, “With this parade, we are starting a Whistleblowers Campaign. Blow your whistle at every Trump encounter! Let’s vote for change in 2020. We need new fools to make fun of.”

READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE

For parade information contact:
Joey Skaggs, Committee Chair, 212-254-7878
info@joeyskaggs.com, http://aprilfoolsdayparade.com
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


PRINT FULL ANNOUNCEMENT (PDF)
VIEW ALL PAST PARADE PRESS RELEASES

“Sinking House” Sends Powerful SOS

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Extinction Rebellion floats “Sinking House” on the Thames.


Extinction Rebellion Sends a Sinking Home Along the River Thames, Warning of Climate Disaster
by Sarah Rose Sharp
Hyperallergic
November 13, 2019

Climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion staged a public protest over the weekend, in the form of a floating structure that created the illusion of a suburban house sinking into the River Thames in London. Titled “The Sinking House,” the intervention took place in the early hours on Sunday, November 10, and is intended as a public appeal to politicians to make a more stringent and immediate response to regulate the effects of human industry and waste on the environment. (more…)

Trump Dump

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Donald Trump and family inspire artists and activists all over the world. Here are a couple of the latest examples:


Berliners Tried to Send Trump a Piece of the Berlin Wall to Suggest Walls Don’t Work
A German nonprofit inscribed a message to the United States President, sending it to Washington on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

image from Quartz

Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler, known as The Good Liars: “We changed the cover of Don Jr’s book to make it a little more honest and put them up in Barnes and Noble. You’re welcome, Junior!”

Homo Velamine Interviews Joey Skaggs “Maestro of the Farce” [Spanish and English]

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Hoax Etiquette, Instructionals, Media Literacy, Media Pranks, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Pranksters, The Future of Pranks, The History of Pranks, The Prank as Art, What Makes a Good Prank?

Spanish Art and Activism Collective Homo Velamine Interviews Joey Skaggs [Spanish and English]


Joey Skaggs: “A fool is a fool, no matter what their political leaning is”
by Demófila Martínez and Luis Platypus
Homo Velamine
October 31, 2019

Joey Skaggs. PHOTO: Sam Ortiz for Observer

Homo Velamine: The increase of fake news in the media in recent years makes us feel that the limits between fact and fiction are more unclear than ever. In the documentary Art of the Prank (2015), you let the viewer peek into the creative process behind one of your hoaxes. The trickiest part seems to be deciding how far you can take it, without crossing the limits of plausibility and creating something that is impossible to believe. After all these years, does it still surprise you how far this limit can actually be pushed? Which of your performances would you say has pushed this limit the farthest and still has been successful?

Joey Skaggs: Pushing the limits of plausibility is the fun part for me. I create the problem and I create the solution. I take a gamble that what I’m doing is so ridiculous that no one’s going to believe it. I want it to be totally absurd because if the news media does fall for it, it will be even funnier and more effective in revealing their gullibility and/or hypocrisy. (more…)

Trump Afloat in his Native Environment

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Artist Phil Gable floats a Trump effigy in the toxic water of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York.


‘He has become the swamp’ Artist behind Gowanus Trump float speaks out
by Kevin Duggan
Brooklyn Paper
October 30, 2019

Photo by Kevin Duggan

This artist is putting Trump’s impeachment scandal into context!

The Park Slope artist behind a mocking seaborne sculpture of Donald Trump claims he dumped the president’s effigy in the Gowanus Canal out a desire to see the reality star in his natural environment.

“I felt like that was really the natural place where he should be — in a canal of toxic water,” said Phil Gable. “He wanted to drain the swamp when in fact he has become the swamp.”

Gable — who first invited Brooklyn canines to pee on the president by installing miniature “Trump Stumps” in 2018 — decided to float another effigy to the man in the White House that would decompose in the canal’s noxious waters as the impeachment inquiry against him proceeds.

Read the whole article here »

AI in the Courtroom: Joey Skaggs’ Solomon Project Revisited

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Legal Issues, Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Pranksters, Satire, The History of Pranks

In 1995, Joey Skaggs launched his Solomon Project hoax. Solomon (so he said) was a distributed program running on a set of super computers that would deliberate on the facts and evidence of a case and deliver a definitive verdict, eliminating the need for juries and radically reducing the role of judges. CNN fell for the Solomon Project hook, line and sinker. Reality may finally be catching up with Skaggs. h/t Felipe


Robot judges ‘will pass sentence with no human bias’ in AI courts
by Michael Moran
Daily Star
October 19, 2019

Increasing use of AI in legal system points the way to an all-robot courtroom

It’s likely that most people locked in our jails believe that with a better lawyer, a more lenient judge or a more understanding jury things might have been very different for them.

Human error, they will say, is to blame for them being banged up.

But can the human element be removed? Law firms are already using computer algorithms to perform background research other tasks traditionally performed by human staff. And that’s just the beginning.

As computer researchers get closer to creating true Artificial Intelligence, it’s predicted to eliminate most paralegal and legal research positions within the next decade.

The next step inevitably involves artificial intelligences aiding, or even completely replacing lawyers. And if we have robot lawyers, why not automated judges and juries too? Why not a fully solid-state legal system?

Read the rest of this article here »

Banking on Banksy

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Prank News, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

Banksy conquers retail with a storefront selling satire.


Banksy Opens London Art Shop Same Week He Sets $12M Auction Record
by Naomi Polonsky
Hyperallergic
October 4, 2019

The anonymous artist has opened a shop in the south London borough of Croydon to showcase some of his characteristically humorous items.

photos by Naomi Polonsky

LONDON — Banksy has always had a complicated relationship with the art market. His unsanctioned street works deliberately challenge the idea of art as a tradeable commodity, but often still end up at auction, commanding astronomical prices. A stunt last year during which his “Girl with a Balloon” (2006) self-destructed at a Sotheby’s sale seemed like a rebuke to the art market, but in fact simply doubled the piece’s value.

But as of this week, Banksy has officially gone into business. A new installation of his work, unveiled on Tuesday, features a storefront filled with branded merchandise. Although Banksy has exhibited his works in storefront installations before, this is the first time that the items are for sale. All of the products will go on sale online in a couple of weeks with prices starting at £10. Gross Domestic Product, which is located in a disused carpet shop in the south London borough of Croydon, includes old and new works by the artist including the iconic stab vest worn by the grime artist Stormzy at Glastonbury last year…

Playing on the double meaning of “gross,” Banksy’s store stocks various disturbing and unsavoury items, such as a rug made from the skin of Tony the Tiger, who has died of diabetes after eating too much Frosted Flakes cereal. A label, written in Banksy’s characteristically irreverent tone, explains that “the floor covering makes quite the conversation piece — especially if the conversation centres around the UK spending over £7.8 million a year on tooth extractions for the under 5s.”