Culture Jamming

  • Do Not Adjust Your Set Friday, June 21 & A Cure For Lies Saturday, June 22, 8 pm
  • $2 members/ $4 non-members
  • Cinecycle 129 Spadina Ave. Rear

Part of Summer 1996

“As awareness of the how the media environment we occupy affects and directs our inner life grows, some resist. The possibilities of adding pimples to the retouched photo of the face on the cover of America are only now being seen as ‘artistic’ territory. The cultural jammer works his secret in public: the skillfully reworked billboard with new lettering painted in the same style that the original has, turning strategic corporate elements back on themselves in a manner which is, itself, invisible, directs the public viewer to a consideration of the original corporate strategy… The studio for the cultural jammer is the world at large; his tools are paid for by others, in art with real risk… You can spot jam art easily – it always supersedes found content as it re-arranges it, causing you to reflect on the nature of what you are actually encountering.” (Crosley Bendix, from the Negativland cd JamCon ’84)

Pleasure Dome is pleased to present two evenings of video by pranksters, anti-propagandists, collagists, and toy terrorists.

Do Not Adjust Your Set
Friday, June 21, 8 pm

Ant Farm’s Media Burn
Joey Skaggs’s A Cathouse For Dogs and The Cockroach Cure
EBN’s Commercial Entertainment Product
BLO’s Nightly News
Adbusters’ Uncommercials

Not content to merely ‘critique’ the mass media, culture jamming strives to inhabit and propagate its forms, subtly altering them to disorienting effect. In a literal dramatization of this strategy, in 1992 a group known as the Barbie Liberation Organization transplanted the voice-boxes of Barbie and GI-Joe dolls and surreptitiously replaced them back on store shelves across America during the Christmas rush. The BLO Nightly News is a hilarious document of the cross-gendered outcome, appropriately cast in a news-show format. Almost twenty years earlier, performance art collective Ant Farm’s Media Burn depicted the violent destruction of a wall of televisions, symbolically throwing down the gauntlet in a tradition of media interference that has become increasingly complex and corrosive over the years.

Other highlights of tonight’s program include two rarely-screened classic hoaxes by pioneering culture jammer Joey Skaggs, who has made a 25-year career of suckering the news media with outrageous stories; machine-gun style (and danceable) 90’s media deconstruction courtesy of Emergency Broadcast Network; and a series of 30-second Uncommercials, courtesy of Adbusters Media Foundation.

A Cure For Lies
Saturday, June 22, 8 pm

Brian Springer’s Spin & Phil Patiris’s The Iraq Campaign 1991 Ñ A Television History

By appropriating materials from the mass media, and rearranging them against their original intentions, these artists have created a genre of ‘anti-propaganda’ which may make connections in a lateral, surrealist manner, or sustain an informative and rational argument.

Many people will remember the remarkable satellite-feed footage in Kevin Rafferty & James Ridgeway’s documentary Feed. Brian Springer, who was responsible for providing that footage, has extended the idea of Feed in his 1994 video, Spin. The tape juxtaposes regular broadcast television with satellite-feed material only available to those with satellite dishes, creating a damning portrait of the role played by television during the1992 U. S. presidential election. In a voice-over which is carefully reasoned, but burning with anger, Springer elaborates some of the strategies employed by our post-modern ‘media-political complex’: the tacit censorship of ideologically undesirable events, including a virtual media ban on one Democratic candidate; the ‘video news release’, a kind of ready-made news story provided to tv stations by political campaigns; the use of satellite- feeds as remote security cameras; and a host of other techniques, all characterized by an utter contempt for both the facts and the public.

Phil Patiris’s The Iraq Campaign 1991: A Television History is an uncomfortably funny video account of the 1991 Gulf War as constructed by the American media. By mixing newscasts with feature films and fictional television programs, Patiris identifies a whole complex of assumptions, never directly expressed, which underlie the propaganda campaign around the war.

Thanks to A Space Gallery – Events Committee for their sponsorship.