Blog Posts

Michael De Feo’s Flowers

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

I love telling success stories about my former SVA students. I now have the opportunity to boast about Michael De Feo. His book, “Michael De Feo: Flowers“, was just released by Abrams Books.

Michael De Feo’s dedication and singularity in the use of his iconic flower image has taken him on a creative adventure of self-discovery in a very public arena.

Michael paints flowers on walls and other public spaces. He has also appropriated advertisements, transforming them, much like billboard liberators, taggers, and graffiti artists do, to dramatically change one message to another. His choice to violate these public spaces with his decorative flowers has great irony. It’s non-threatening. One could paint bullet holes. Michael paints flowers. Bullet holes are obvious. You don’t have to think much about the message. But a flower…

The greater irony is that Michael’s work has now been appropriated by the advertisers whose campaigns he altered because of the positive attention he brings to their work. From my perspective, Michael has created a new meaning to the phrase “flower power.”

Here’s Truth in Advertising

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Media Pranks, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

Oscar nominated movie poster alteration in service of the truth… h/t Miss Cellania

If The Posters For This Year's Oscar-Nominated Movies Were Honest
by Caleb Reading
January 24, 2018

This year's Oscar nominations are in, and there have been some surprises, like a Wolverine sequel becoming the first superhero movie to garner a screenplay nomination. It seems The Academy seeks to reshape its image, and you know what would really reshape everyone's attitude toward this business of show? If movie posters were brutally, hilariously honest.

As we have in previous years, we've collected our favorite honest posters for the films with at least one nomination in any category for the 90th Academy Awards (full nominees list here). Many of these come courtesy of The Shiznit and this College Humor post, along with several other posts. Read more

honest-movie-posters-2018-The-Post_college-humor ... The Post poster made by College Humor. ... (more posters at the link)

Peek-a-boo… I’m Watching You

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism

Artist JR’s massive photo of a baby peers into the U.S. from the Mexican side of the border.

Giant portrait of toddler peers over US-Mexico border wall
by Julie Watson
September 9, 2017

TECATE, Calif. (AP) - A photo of a giant toddler stands in Mexico and peers over a steel wall dividing the country from the United States.

The boy appears to grip the barrier with his fingers, leaving the impression the entire thing could be toppled with a giggle.

A French artist who goes by the moniker "JR" erected the cut-out of the boy that stands nearly 65 feet (20 meters) tall and is meant to prompt discussion of immigration.

On Friday, a steady stream of people drove to the remote section of wall near the Tecate border crossing, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of San Diego. Border Patrol agents warned visitors to keep the dirt road clear for their patrols and not pass anything through the fence. Read the rest of this article here.

Banksy Enters the Travel Business

Filed under: Creative Activism, Political Challenges, Political Pranks, Prank News, Pranksters, The Prank as Art, The World of the Prank

The often-imitated, never-duplicated, street art legend Banksy opens The Walled-off Hotel in Bethlehem.

“Banksy Opens Dystopian Hotel Near Bethlehem Separation Wall”
by Tara John
March 3, 2017

Graffiti artist Banksy has opened a new inn in Bethlehem, located right by the barrier wall that separates Palestinian territories from Israel.

The ten-roomed Walled-off Hotel opened on Friday and is littered with the anonymous artist’s work. As the Guardian reports, Banksy’s team hopes the hotel will become a source of revenue for the town - whose economy has languished due strict Israeli controls. The rooms will be open for bookings on its website later in March, according to the Guardian.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, Banksy reportedly said: “Walls are hot right now, but I was into them long before Trump made it cool.”

The hotel was built in secrecy over the past 14 months and was converted from a pottery workshop. Styled to look like to “an English gentlemen’s club from colonial times,” the Walled-off Hotel hopes to spark dialogue, evidenced through its choice of artwork: Every room has what is touted as the “worst view in the world,” which is the 8-meter high concrete barrier.

There are also statues chocking on teargas, a painting of Jesus with a laser target on his forehead, a trophy wall of security cameras and an exhibition dedicated to the wall, that features art made by Israelis and Palestinians. Read the whole article here.

Improv Everywhere: No Pants Subway 2017

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Practical Jokes and Mischief

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:

On Sunday, January 8th, 2017 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in over 60 cities in over 25 countries around the world. In New York, our 16th Annual No Pants Subway Ride took place in windy 22F degree weather and was spread out over seven meeting points and eleven subway lines. Thanks to everyone who participated all around the globe! Enjoy the video!

The Art of Human Hacking

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Fraud and Deception

Patrick Howell O’Neill reports from Def Con 2014 in Las Vegas, where he witnesses an odd sort of game: Social Engineering Capture the Flag.

Inside the Super Bowl of Lying
by Patrick Howell O’Neill
The Daily Dot
September 2, 2014

Nobody can find a seat, the room is so packed. The boisterous audience, undeterred, crowds against the walls and lies down on the floor at every edge of the room to catch the action. A line of people stretches out the front door.

Social engineering capture the flag


This is the 2014 Def Con hacker conference at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. The people are in one of the tiniest rooms in the casino to see the Super Bowl of lying.

The Social Engineering Capture The Flag contest was launched by Christopher Hadnagy in 2009. This year, nine teams of two players each are given a long list of goals that can only be accomplished through skillful lying and manipulation. The contest has been going on for five years, but most of the crowd, listening in rapt attention, is experiencing it for the very first time.

Hadnagy has another name for social engineering: “The art of human hacking.” While almost all of Def Con is dedicated to the art of computer hacking, this event targeted the mind. (more…)

Deep Web to Surface via Film Kickstarter Campaign

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Marc Schiller: I hope you will join our Kickstarter campaign to help fund our new documentary, Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and Silk Road. This is not just a tech movie, but an examination of a significant moment in cultural history that will shape our future. Here’s an article from about it:

Deep Web Film Will Go Inside the World of Bitcoin, Silk Road and Beyond
by Fran Berkman
November 20, 2013


There’s a shadowy corner of the Internet where real names give way to aliases, and “.com” is conspicuously scarce. In this space, privacy and anonymity are dogma, and government-imposed laws draw scoffs more than reverence.

The “deep web,” as it’s known, is where users ranging from do-gooders to cybercriminals employ cutting-edge technology to mask their identities and interact with others around the globe. As you might expect, not many camera crews are allowed meaningful inside access to this world. Despite these challenges, director and producer Alex Winter said he is shooting interviews for a feature-length documentary he plans to call Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and Silk Road.

“The film is about linking all of these people who exist unseen on the web, who are connected technologically and philosophically The film is about linking all of these people who exist unseen on the web, who are connected technologically and philosophically,” Winter told Mashable. “The movie is about, essentially, the cultural implications of having a massive global community online that’s doing good things, bad things and things in between, that’s out of reach of the law and is not public.”


Improv Everywhere: The Matrix in Real Life

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

From Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere:

The Matrix In Real Life – Movies In Real Life (Episode 4)

For our latest mission we sent Neo from the Matrix into Macy”™s in New York City to shop for a new “man dress.” As Neo talked to a confused sales associate in the mens suits department, over 30 “Agent Smith” clones suddenly appeared, pouring out of elevators and escalators surrounding the area. An entirely unauthorized slow motion battle ensued, similar to the famous fight scene in The Matrix Reloaded. It”™s the Matrix sequel you”™ve always wanted: Macy”™s Reloaded.

This project is part of our new series, Movies in Real Life. Every Tuesday, we”™re releasing a new video that brings an iconic movie moment to life in the real world.

Created and Directed by Charlie Todd / Produced by: Deverge / Music by Tyler Walker

Related links on Improv Everywhere

Breaking Bad: The Middle School Musical

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Parody

‘Breaking Bad: The Middle School Musical’ Geniuses Rhett & Link Talk Going Viral
by Kevin Fallon
The Daily Beast
August 11, 2013

Always wanted to see 11-year-old sing about cooking meth? Meet Rhett & Link, the viral video gurus who brought the dream to life.

We”™ve all had that awkward experience. You file into a suburban middle school”™s auditorium for your 11-year-old cousin”™s production of Grease, squirming uncomfortably as little Timmy sings about Greased Lightning being a “real pussy wagon” and the prepubescent tween girl playing Rizzo belts a ballad about teenage pregnancy and sexual regret.

Now imagine if those kids were singing about cooking meth. Or, excuse me, “rock candy.”

That precise idea””the cringe-comedy of children earnestly performing age-inappropriate theater material””is behind the hit viral video Breaking Bad: The Middle School Musical. Created by viral video gurus Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (better known as “Rhett & Link”), this is the latest in their original Middle School Musical series, which also includes Star Trek and Superman entries. (more…)

Tatzu Nishi’s Room With a View

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

At His Penthouse, a Tàªte-à -Tàªte With Columbus
Tatzu Nishi”™s “˜Discovering Columbus”™ Installation

By Roberta Smith
New York Times
September 21, 2012

“Discovering Columbus,” at Columbus Circle, is on view through Nov. 18. Free timed tickets are available at

View more photos here.

If you”™ve ever wanted to see what the city”™s pre-eminent statue of Christopher Columbus looks like standing on a large coffee table in an upscale New York living room with killer views, now is your chance. Under the auspices of the Public Art Fund, the Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi has built a convincingly appointed penthouse-worthy space around the 13-foot-high marble sculpture of Columbus that has presided over Columbus Circle from a height of 60 feet since it was completed by Gaetano Russo in 1892. In doing so, Mr. Nishi has achieved a nifty bit of Surrealist displacement without moving the sculpture an inch “” albeit not quite as nifty as I”™d hoped.

To see the work, “Discovering Columbus,” visitors need only procure a free timed ticket, sign a release, climb six flights of stairs and enter the white windowed box that has been built around the figure. It”™s a structure that from the outside looks like a pristine outtake from a mansion, albeit one supported by an elaborate network of construction scaffolding that is itself rather attractive. (An elevator is also available.)

Once inside, they will encounter Columbus”™s commanding figure, wearing the usual floppy beret and High Renaissance garb, in a spacious interior larger than many New York apartments (over 800 square feet, with 16-foot ceilings). It is outfitted with hardwood floors, area rugs, cushy couches and armchairs, art reproductions, lots of reading material and a remote-free, 55-inch Samsung television screen. Most of this has been provided by Bloomingdale”™s; all of it is bathed in natural light, thanks to four large windows facing in three directions. (more…)

3rd Annual RE/Mixed Media Festival, Brooklyn

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Submitted by Tom Tenney, Director, RE/Mixed Media Festival:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The festival’s Kickstarter campaign needs to raise $1313 by Thursday at midnight! If it looks like something you’d like to help fund they’ll be eternally grateful. Watch the video below…

3rd Annual RE/Mixed Media Festival
November 10, 2012
Brooklyn Lyceum, Brooklyn NYC

A celebration of remix, mashup and creative appropriation in film, video, music, performance, technology and visual arts.

The RE/Mixed Media Festival, now in it’s 3rd year, is an annual celebration of collaborative art-making and creative appropriation. It’s the artists’ contribution to the ongoing conversation about remixing, mashups, copyright law, fair use, and the freedom of artists to access their culture in order to add to and build upon it.

The festival – which this year will take place at the Brooklyn Lyceum – a 3-floor 10,000 sq. ft. venue on the border of the Park Slope and Gowanus neighborhoods of Brooklyn – will feature performances, panel discussions, live musical collaborations, hip-hop, sampling, film & video, DIY, food and drink, DJs, technology, interactive installations, painting, sculpture, software, hacking, and much more!

Read more here.

Improv Everywhere: The Mp3 Experiment Nine

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere

For our latest mission, over 4,000 people participated in an epic water gun battle as part of our ninth annual Mp3 Experiment event.

Participants downloaded an MP3 file and pressed play simultaneously on Governors Island in New York City. The MP3 file contained a series of ridiculous Olympic-themed instructions from narrator “Steve The Omnipotent Voice from Above” that culminated in a massive water gun fight.

We’d like to thank the River to River Festival for hosting the event and SkyCamUsa for helping us get aerial footage with their hexacopter drone.

View more video, photos and info here.

More on Improv Everywhere here.

Improv Everywhere: Spinning Beach Ball of Death

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Practical Jokes and Mischief

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere:

Spinning Beach Ball of Death

For our latest mission, a presenter at the TED conference has his talk interrupted by the Mac spinning wait cursor, commonly known as the “Spinning Beach Ball of Death.” As he stands awkwardly and waits, things get weird.

Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our report.

For the uninitiated, TED is an annual conference in Long Beach, California that focuses on “Ideas Worth Sharing.” I gave a talk at a TEDx event last year that was promoted to For the conference this year, the TED curators approached me about staging something unexpected to surprise their audience. We had previously staged a musical prank at a conference, but I wanted to do something new and different for TED. I came up with the idea to have a fake speaker give a talk and make it seem like his big moment in the spotlight had been ruined by a computer crash. Apple users love to hate the notorious Spinning Beach Ball of Death. I started with that image and set out to heighten it to absurdity.

Produced by: Charlie Todd and Cody Lindquist; Shot & Edited by: TED; Starring: Eugene Cordero as Colin Robertson; Animation by: Bob Bonniol; Song by: Tyler Walker; Still Photos: James Duncan Davidson, Charlie Todd

Click here for more about Improv Everywhere.

In Celebration of Street Art, 2011

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Satire

From Erin:

Here’s a sampling of 106 of the most beloved Street Art Photos–Year 2011. For attributions and to see more, visit


Augmented Reality Advertising Takeover

Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Ron English:

Augmented Reality is the process of overlaying digital information onto the real world creating a hyper reality unavailable under normal circumstances. Currently restricted to internet enabled smart devices, this technology will leap from our hands and into our eyes as ocular devices become commonplace and the augmented world.

Augmented Reality Advertising Takeover (AR | AD)

A little over a week ago PublicAdCampaign and The Heavy Projects launched the AR I AD Takeover in Times Square, NY.

The Augmented Reality Junaio channel used 5 separate ad campaigns to trigger their own replacement with the artwork of 5 of our favorite public space artists including, Ron English, John Fekner, PosterBoy, OX, and Dr. D.

After challenging outdoor advertising’s supremacy in public space for the past 10 years by illegally re-appropriating physical advertising venues, PublicAdCampaign has raised awareness but made little progress in our ultimate goal of completely removing outdoor signage from our shared environment.

With the advent of Augmented Reality the rules are beginning to change as to who can claim ownership to public space and we are excited to be on the cutting edge of this new adventure to redefine the visual landscape of our shared public environment.