Creative Activism

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If Your Medical Bills Make You Sick, Sell Them.

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Media Pranks, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, The Prank as Art

Here’s a creative prescription for managing your medical bills.


Oversized hospital bill paintings sold to pay off medical debts, by Oscar Holland, CNN, October 5, 2020

An art collective has come up with a novel way of paying off three people’s medical debt: turning their hospital bills into huge paintings and selling them to collectors for thousands of dollars.

The paintings were sold for the same amount owed on each bill, with the money used to pay off the applicants’ medical debts. Credit: MSCHF

New York-based MSCHF, which is known for its irreverent art projects, identified Americans with sizable medical debt, including one with a bill for over $47,000. The group then hand-painted the invoices on 6-foot-tall canvases and sold them on the art market for precisely the amount owed.

Beyond settling these individuals’ debts with the money generated, the artists aim to make a wider commentary about the US health care system. Over 137 million people in the United States reported medical financial hardship, a 2019 study found.

Read more here.

The Art of Protest, a New Film by Indecline

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

Check out Indecline’s new film in Rolling Stone. h/t Dino


From: Indecline Debuts ‘The Art of Protest’ Documentary, Rolling Stone

In activist-artist collective Indecline’s new documentary, protest art is shown as not only relevant, but necessary for change

When Indecline started work on their documentary The Art of Protest in late 2018, they wanted to tell the history of resistance art. Over the previous two years — since they broke onto the national consciousness with their naked-Trump, guerilla-art instillation The Emperor Has No Balls, the activist-artist collective has staged numerous pieces of public art in protest of the Trump presidency. To tell the story, they reached out to Colin Day (director of Saving Banksy) and started shopping around the idea to streaming services. But as the pandemic unfolded, and the Black Lives Matter movement reignited across the streets of the nation, their mission changed. As a representative for Indecline puts it: “What was once set up to be a deep dive into the history of resistance art, soon became a ‘call to action.’”

Now, the 45-minute film — executive produced and distributed by Zero Cool films and premiering here on Rolling Stone — traces the history of protest art, from the Civil Rights movement through the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. It does so in a way that is equal parts gut-wrenching and exhilarating, illustrating how despite the passage of time, little has changed. To this end, they were careful in their curation of who to talk to: not only did they bring in the heavy hitters most associated with the modern protest-art movement — like Shephard Fairey, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Tom Morello, and Dave Navarro (who also helped to finance the film) — they were careful to incorporate a wider range of voices. Leaders from youth-run 501(c) The Sunrise Movement talk about uniting movements, while the Yes Men discuss bringing absurdity to Capitol Hill. Atlanta’s Ash Nash remembers organizing the “Kaeperbowl” in Atlanta in 2019, spurring artists across the city to paint images of Colin Kaepernick in public places as the Super Bowl rolled into town. Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, speaks to being literally saved from death row by protest art.

At the heart of the film is Indecline’s work over the past four years. Read the rest of this article here.

The Writing’s on the Wall

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Filed under: Creative Activism, First Amendment Issues, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Propaganda and Disinformation

Read a Trump lie on air at Radio Free Brooklyn and help promote voter registration.


Wall of Lies

A public art project displaying more than 20,000 Trump lies with voter registration drive

October 3rd – October 4th noon to 7pm
at Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street, Bushwick

Independent community radio station Radio Free Brooklyn (RFB) announces “Wall of Lies,” a groundbreaking visual art project one month before the presidential election of 2020. The project demonstrates the unprecedented lack of honesty from our current Commander-in-Chief.

Wall of Lies is a 50-foot by 10-foot outdoor mural with the 20,000+ lies told by Donald Trump (so far) while in office, documented and fact-checked by The Washington Post. Wall of Lies will be on public view on Grattan St from noon Saturday Oct 3rd until 7p Sunday October 4th.

“The countdown to Election Day is underway and Americans are already beginning to vote across the nation, in this time where misinformation is rampant, we feel it’s vital to use our voice to call out these untruths in a visually-provoking way,” says RFB Executive Director Tom Tenney.

The socially-distanced live event accompanying the mural includes a voter registration drive, and a live Radio Free Brooklyn broadcast on Sunday from 3-6 pm, Radio Free Brooklyn will be inviting members of the public to read some of Trump’s most egregious lies on the air.

“The original idea of the project was for a radio marathon, 24/7 on-air reading of all of Trumps’ lies on Radio Free Brooklyn for a full week before the election,” said Tenney, who has been in touch with The Washington Post and granted access to its database of Trump’s false and misleading statements. “However, once the pandemic hit and our operations moved to remote locations, the project was shelved. It was artist Phil Buehler who suggested reviving it as a visual art project.”

“It was just too good an idea not to happen somehow,” Buehler added, “since I’ve been making large-scale panoramic photographs of political events, a gigantic mural of all the lies seemed the perfect match to Tom’s original idea. Seen from a distance, it looks like chaos – perhaps an apt metaphor for this presidency, but when you step closer, you can read the individual lies, which are in chronological order color-coded by categories like coronavirus, Russia, immigration, the environment and jobs. Then when you step back, you can recognize patterns in Trump’s lying.”

The final piece of the project came together when Heather Rush, the owner of Pine Box Rock Shop, coordinated with grassroots voting activists Rep Your Block to set up voter registration next to the mural.

Read more in the Bushwick Daily: “Wall of Lies” Mural in Bushwick Will Display Over 20,000 Donald Trump Lies.

Political Activism as Publicity Stunt

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Pranks, Pranksters, Publicity Stunts, Satire

Sacha Baron Cohen congratulates Donald Trump on the occasion of his massive, very great victory over Joe Biden in the first presidential debate of 2020.


Sacha Baron Cohen capitalizes on debate with fake ‘Borat’ Trump endorsement, by Ian Mohr, Page Six, September 29, 2020

Sacha Baron Cohen used the debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday night to seemingly drum up buzz for his expected “Borat” sequel by releasing a fake Trump endorsement from Kazakhstan.

It was reported earlier in the day that Amazon had bought the new “Borat” film.

Baron Cohen has in the past stolen the spotlight at events from the Cannes Film Festival to the MTV Movie Awards to promote his films in character. This time, he released a video on a Twitter feed purporting to be the Republic of Kazakhstan. The clip also included a logo for the fictional group, Kazakhs Against Foreign Meddling.

The trailer posted to Twitter proclaims, “Vote for Trump or you will be crushed.” It also calls Trump the “strongest premier in history,” and makes fun of the president’s stands on the coronavirus pandemic, Black Live Matter, #MeToo and other hot-button topics.

But the clip says as a disclaimer, “This ad may contain false information.” Baron Cohen has been a vocal Trump opponent in Hollywood.

Read the whole story here.

Shining a Light on Worker Protests at the Guggenheim

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Guerrilla projections highlight workers concerns.


“Open for Exploitation”: Artists Project Messages on Guggenheim Museum Ahead of Reopening, by Hakim Bishara, Hyperallergic.com, September 29, 2020

The artist-activist groups Artists for Workers and the Illuminator organized the projections in solidarity with the Guggenheim’s unionized workers and workers of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

A guerrilla projection on the Guggenheim Museum’s facade, reading “Seeking New Management” (all images from Illuminator)

Yesterday, September 28, the artist-activist groups Artists for Workers (AFW) and the Illuminator descended on the Guggenheim Museum in New York for a series of guerrilla projections on its facade. The action was held in solidarity with the Guggenheim’s unionized workers and workers of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi ahead of the museum’s New York reopening this week (September 30 for members and October 3rd for the general public).

Traffic was scarce on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue when an old white van parked in front of the Guggenheim at 7:40pm last night. The vehicle, retrofitted to raise a large projector through an opening in its roof, belonged to the Illuminator. This is the third time that the group directed its projector at the Guggenheim’s spiral structure: It did it with the group Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) in 2016 and 2014, and with Visual AIDS in 2015.

Members of the Illuminator setting up their projector in front of the Guggenheim

Read more here.

Statues That Should Be Torn Down

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“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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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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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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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…)