For assessment – Culture Jamming and Aesthetic Resistance

“All that was once directly lived has become mere representation.” (Debord 1967: Thesis 1)

If the medium is the message then advertising is the portal to our deeply rooted needs and wants. Guy Debord was a member of the Situationists International – a group of avant garde thinkers and artists set up in 1957 in Paris. Their ideas were based on concepts of commodification, reification and alienation, meaning that we label products not for their usability, but especially for their market value. In 1867 he wrote the book  Society of the Spectacle, where he sees everyone as victims of a power than can’t be controlled.  He states that “I showed what the modern spectacle was already in essence: the autocratic reign of the market economy, which had acceded to an irresponsible sovereignty, and the totality of new techniques of government that accompanied this reign. The disturbances of 1968, which in several countries lasted into the following years, having nowhere overthrown the existing organization of the society from which it springs apparently spontaneously, the spectacle has thus continued to reinforce itself, that is, to spread to the furthest limits on all sides, while increasing its density in the centre. “

Many of the ideas related to that book, have influenced and inspired the apparition of movements including Punk, Culture Jamming and more recently Remix.

Culture Jamming 

Culture jamming is an intriguing form of political communication that has emerged in response to the commercial isolation of public life. The messages that are being transmitted can be humorous or provocative. The term is defined by Klein in one of his books: “No Logo: taking aim at the brand bullies” as follows, “The practice of parodying advertisements and hijacking billboards in order to drastically alter their message” (Klein, 280).  So in fact, this move emphasise the fact that we are the victims of consumption, that it’s not our call  to be exposed to advertising and that there’s nothing that we can do, except alter their message.

Here is one of their Manifestos:

Culture Jammers Manifesto

We will take on the
archetypal mind polluters
and beat them at their
own game.

We will uncool their
billion-dollar brands
with uncommercials
on TV, subvertisements
in magazines and anti-ads
right next to theirs in
the urban landscape.

We will seize control of
the roles and functions
that corporations play
in our lives and set new
agendas in their industries.

We will jam the pop-culture
marketeers and bring their
image factory to a sudden,
shuddering halt.

On the rubble of the old
culture, we will build a new
one with a non-commercial
heart and soul. [Lasn, p.128]

Rodriguez de Gerada, Adbusters,  Reclaim the Streets (RTS) and Carly Stasko who is only 16 years old are some of the activists who fight for this cause. More and more groups start to appear, and this might be a problem, because culture jamming becomes a brand itself. As Goldman (1999) astutely points out, “Lasn’s career shows that good de-marketing works just like good marketing does”.

The Yes Man managed to raise the attention of a social issues. The idea of this film is to raise awareness  of a practice that is called ” identity correction”. The Yes Men operate under the mission statement of telling the truth and exposing lies. Ben Ayer, co-director of the Kalamazoo Peace Center stated that: The Yes Men are a culture jamming organization that poses as executives and representatives of companies to disrupt the everyday flow of assumption, business and culture. Due to its great success there was made a second film called: the Yes Man Fix the world.

I choose to make a campaign against the consumption of Coke, especially because the slogans that Coca Cola is using are totally inappropriate, ignoring the effects that this drink might have upon people. Here are some example os the slogans used in their advertising campaigns. These slogans made Coca Cola one of the most persistent and loved brands from history, so people have a feeling of comfort when they buy this particular drink. They don’t even care or think at the negative effects anymore. Through these campaigns it became more than a product, it became a need for most people. SO wake up, it doesn’t bring you any good!!!




About adinavlad

Optimist, friendly,'ll get to know me :)

Posted on January 29, 2012, in 260MC - Media Production in Context. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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