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Re: You are the Agent of Alternative Reality

from net art news:

You are the Agent of Alternative Reality

"Alternative Corporate Reality" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical
media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate
icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are
challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad
campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography
features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various
mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then upload samples
of their "subverted" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of
their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every
little bit counts when you're fighting the man.

<http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/issue117/index.php>http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/issue117/index.php

++
this seems like a very interesting project, but the images aren't
anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.

simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.

i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.

good luck to the producer though, it's always nice to get free stock anyway.

<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>

Comments

curt cloninger June 18 2002 01:00Reply

http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&;URL=issues/issue117
/index.php
++
>this seems like a very interesting project, but the images
>aren't >anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.
>simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.
>i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
>except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.

and in your mind too, since you're now in the know.

but, if overtly subversive stock photography is your bag, there's
always kate und bob:
http://www.roggeundpott.de/seiten/stock.html

Rachel Greene June 18 2002 01:00Reply

i agree that the poses aren't subversive. but there is a subtle laugh track
playing in the background… that is the element of resistance i think.


> from net art news:
>
> You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
>
> "Alternative Corporate Reality" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical
> media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate
> icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are
> challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad
> campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography
> features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various
> mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then upload samples
> of their "subverted" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of
> their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every
> little bit counts when you're fighting the man.
>
> <http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/issue117/index.p
> hp>http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/issue117/index
> .php
>
> ++
> this seems like a very interesting project, but the images aren't
> anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.
>
> simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.
>
> i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
> except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.
>
> good luck to the producer though, it's always nice to get free stock anyway.

MTAA June 18 2002 01:00Reply

note: i was referring to the mobile communication collection,
apologies for not being clear.

i looked this site over pretty closely a couple of weeks ago, looking
specifically for images in the backgrounds that could be subversive.
didn't see anything that would be noticeable enough to have an effect
on an average viewer of these images and was left wondering what it's
effect may be outside of those (like us) who are in on the joke.

if an image makes it to a big campaign (highly unlikely) and enough
people know it's 'subversive' then i suppose we can all laugh at the
company. but i don't see this subverting anything other than the
stock houses that may lose a minuscule amount of business (it could
be argued that the images they sell are more satirical than the ones
used at ACR) by people using these free ones.

it's a catch-22, if the images were overtly subversive they wouldn't
get past the clients. if you make the subversion too subtle they
simply become free stock. i would argue that the photographer didn't
hit the sweet spot in the middle.

take care

At 13:35 -0400 6/18/02, Rachel Greene wrote:
>i agree that the poses aren't subversive. but there is a subtle laugh track
>playing in the background… that is the element of resistance i think.
>
>
>> from net art news:
>>
>> You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
>>
>> "Alternative Corporate Reality" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical
>> media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate
>> icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are
>> challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad
>> campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography
>> features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various
>> mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then upload samples
>> of their "subverted" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of
>> their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every
>> little bit counts when you're fighting the man.
>>
http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/issue117/index.php
>>

twhid wrote:
>> this seems like a very interesting project, but the images aren't
>> anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.
>>
>> simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.
>>
>> i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
>> except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.

<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>

Eryk Salvaggio June 18 2002 01:00Reply

Mr.Whid,

I'm with you on this, but maybe for different reasons. It's my idea that
"in-joke subversion" is a kind
of slacktivism- you could theoretically argue that if this work is
subversive just because the creators
of the piece say so, then going to a starbucks for an "ironic latte" is
subversive as well. Ironic posturing
is not a form of activism.

That said, I also recieved the new issue of Adbusters in the mail today,
which is oftentimes accused of
being the same thing. In the past two issues, they've run full-page ads,
unaltered, for microsoft and the
US Military. They don't print ads for money, but the idea was a sort of
"Because it's our magazine, this
is subversive," which was kind of okay, but mostly it was just, I don't
know, odd, and kind of empty.

Cheers,
-e.




t.whid wrote:

> note: i was referring to the mobile communication collection,
> apologies for not being clear.
>
> i looked this site over pretty closely a couple of weeks ago, looking
> specifically for images in the backgrounds that could be subversive.
> didn't see anything that would be noticeable enough to have an effect
> on an average viewer of these images and was left wondering what it's
> effect may be outside of those (like us) who are in on the joke.
>
> if an image makes it to a big campaign (highly unlikely) and enough
> people know it's 'subversive' then i suppose we can all laugh at the
> company. but i don't see this subverting anything other than the stock
> houses that may lose a minuscule amount of business (it could be
> argued that the images they sell are more satirical than the ones used
> at ACR) by people using these free ones.
>
> it's a catch-22, if the images were overtly subversive they wouldn't
> get past the clients. if you make the subversion too subtle they
> simply become free stock. i would argue that the photographer didn't
> hit the sweet spot in the middle.
>
> take care
>
> At 13:35 -0400 6/18/02, Rachel Greene wrote:
>
>> i agree that the poses aren't subversive. but there is a subtle laugh
>> track
>> playing in the background… that is the element of resistance i think.
>>
>>
>>> from net art news:
>>>
>>> You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
>>>
>>> "Alternative Corporate Reality" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical
>>> media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate
>>> icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are
>>> challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad
>>> campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography
>>> features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various
>>> mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then upload samples
>>> of their "subverted" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of
>>> their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every
>>> little bit counts when you're fighting the man.
>>>
> http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/issue117/index.php
>
>
>>>
>
> twhid wrote:
>
>>> this seems like a very interesting project, but the images aren't
>>> anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.
>>>
>>> simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.
>>>
>>> i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
>>> except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.
>>

Christopher Fahey June 18 2002 01:00Reply

Here's a great example of advertising subversion: A graphic designer
working for a swiss bank designed a suite of four posters, each of which
prominently featured a photograph of a human figure contorting their
arms in a different way. When arranged on a wall, the arms turned into
letters and the letters spelled "NAZI". I believe that these posters
actually made it out to the public. That's subversiveness.

The ACR stuff is cool (and thought provoking as evidenced by this
thread) but like 99% of subversive art projects, it's more of a
commentary for the choir than a goal-oriented political action. (dplanet
sux!)

Another example of prankish quasi-subversion: Bill Ripken, brother of
Cal Ripken the now-retired Baltimore Oriole baseball star, appeared in
his official Topps Baseball Card photograph in 1989 with a bat on which
he had written (or, as he alleges, a mischeivous teammate had written)
"Fuck Face". He even held the bat strategically so that the phrase was
easily visible:
http://www.snopes2.com/business/hidden/ripken.htm

-Cf

[christopher eli fahey]
art: http://www.graphpaper.com
sci: http://www.askrom.com
biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com






> —–Original Message—–
> From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org]
> On Behalf Of t.whid
> Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 1:56 PM
> To: list@rhizome.org
> Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
>
>
> note: i was referring to the mobile communication collection,
> apologies for not being clear.
>
> i looked this site over pretty closely a couple of weeks ago, looking
> specifically for images in the backgrounds that could be subversive.
> didn't see anything that would be noticeable enough to have an effect
> on an average viewer of these images and was left wondering what it's
> effect may be outside of those (like us) who are in on the joke.
>
> if an image makes it to a big campaign (highly unlikely) and enough
> people know it's 'subversive' then i suppose we can all laugh at the
> company. but i don't see this subverting anything other than the
> stock houses that may lose a minuscule amount of business (it could
> be argued that the images they sell are more satirical than the ones
> used at ACR) by people using these free ones.
>
> it's a catch-22, if the images were overtly subversive they wouldn't
> get past the clients. if you make the subversion too subtle they
> simply become free stock. i would argue that the photographer didn't
> hit the sweet spot in the middle.
>
> take care
>
> At 13:35 -0400 6/18/02, Rachel Greene wrote:
> >i agree that the poses aren't subversive. but there is a
> subtle laugh track
> >playing in the background… that is the element of
> resistance i think.
> >
> >
> >> from net art news:
> >>
> >> You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
> >>
> >> "Alternative Corporate Reality" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical
> >> media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate
> >> icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are
> >> challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad
> >> campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography
> >> features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various
> >> mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then
> upload samples
> >> of their "subverted" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of
> >> their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every
> >> little bit counts when you're fighting the man.
> >>
> http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/i
ssue117/index.php
>>

twhid wrote:
>> this seems like a very interesting project, but the images aren't
>> anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.
>>
>> simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.
>>
>> i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
>> except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.

<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>
+ dirty.bomb$THpleted.uranium
-> Rhizome.org
-> post: list@rhizome.org
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+
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Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php3

curt cloninger June 18 2002 01:00Reply

Eryk says:
It's my idea that "in-joke subversion" is a kind
of slacktivism- you could theoretically argue that if this work is
subversive just because the creators
of the piece say so, then going to a starbucks for an "ironic latte"
is subversive as well. Ironic posturing
is not a form of activism.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I disagree. If this project is taken to a successful conclusion, it
will have achieved more than most activist art projects do, by virtue
of the fact that it will have literally infiltrated the corporations.

Most anti-corporate art activism occurs outside the corporations,
without their awareness. Etoy is an exception, and I'm sure there
are others. But do shop owners and governments really care about the
surveilance camera players? It makes for good copy, but what
changes? With this ACR project, once (if) the corporations discover
they have been the target of the project, they are forced to confront
practical issues – "do we pull the ads, do we fire the designers, do
we just ignore it? Better call our lawyers."

In that sense, this project stands to be much more effective than an
ironic latte. The corporations will have been literally, practically
influenced by the project, financially and in terms of their brand
identity. They may decide not to take any action at all, but they
will have at least been made to intentionally decided something.

Additionally, the project causes participating designers to decide
whether they want to risk getting fired for the sake of the joke.
_
_

joseph mcelroy June 18 2002 01:00Reply

> will have achieved more than most activist art projects do, by virtue
> of the fact that it will have literally infiltrated the corporations.

Except that this sort of "infiltration" has been done on a regular basis for
years. Talk to a lot of designers with any art/political aspirations, they
will give you the wink-wink talk of how they put subversive images into their
designs and point out how clever they were. Programmers also. I used to get IBM
to put out applications with the occasional help message saying "Only God or
Joseph McElroy can help you now"… (I was a "clever" pup) If caught, more
likely made into part of the corporate story instead of causing any problems
for the corporation.

The point, is that corporations and public are only going to view this as a
publicity ploy by some smart-ass designers. Unless someone is willing to do it
in a big, huge way - I mean sacrifice a multi-million dollar contract, kill the
design firm, never be trusted by corporate america, kind of way. Then some
stories might focus on "Why" they did it.


Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]

Eryk Salvaggio June 18 2002 01:00Reply

Hey Curt.

I'm not sure I get why "literally infiltrating the corporations" is a
measure for subversion-
aren't hundreds of newbie business graduates "subverting" corporate
culture every day?
In activism isn't there an accountability for the end result? Lets say
the corporation finds
out that the stock photography they bought was photographed by a guy who
made a vague
statement about infiltration; never targeting a specific company, does
not espouse any
political agenda; does not expose a cause or belief. How is this
activism? This is essentially
the same as if a company found out that the actor in the ad for the beef
council was a
vegetarian. Are they going to pull the ads? I sincerely doubt it.

This seems more to me like a wink and a nod for designers who feel
guilty about what they
do for money. They get a chance to feel like they're making a
difference. Some corporate
art can be subversive- Tibor Kalman [was that his first name?] would
send clients a lunch
box with 20 dollars, a banana, and a sandwich, then asking them to
donate that twenty
dollars to a local food shelter.

It's a good idea, maybe not changing the world, but hell, activism is
baby steps. But you
have to actually be taking steps; not just saying you've walked.

Cheers,
-e.




Curt Cloninger wrote:

> Eryk says:
> It's my idea that "in-joke subversion" is a kind
> of slacktivism- you could theoretically argue that if this work is
> subversive just because the creators
> of the piece say so, then going to a starbucks for an "ironic latte"
> is subversive as well. Ironic posturing
> is not a form of activism.
>
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
> I disagree. If this project is taken to a successful conclusion, it
> will have achieved more than most activist art projects do, by virtue
> of the fact that it will have literally infiltrated the corporations.
>
> Most anti-corporate art activism occurs outside the corporations,
> without their awareness. Etoy is an exception, and I'm sure there are
> others. But do shop owners and governments really care about the
> surveilance camera players? It makes for good copy, but what changes?
> With this ACR project, once (if) the corporations discover they have
> been the target of the project, they are forced to confront practical
> issues – "do we pull the ads, do we fire the designers, do we just
> ignore it? Better call our lawyers."
>
> In that sense, this project stands to be much more effective than an
> ironic latte. The corporations will have been literally, practically
> influenced by the project, financially and in terms of their brand
> identity. They may decide not to take any action at all, but they will
> have at least been made to intentionally decided something.
>
> Additionally, the project causes participating designers to decide
> whether they want to risk getting fired for the sake of the joke.
> _
> _

Plasma Studii June 19 2002 01:00Reply

>Eryk says:
>It's my idea that "in-joke subversion" is a kind
>of slacktivism- you could theoretically argue that if this work is
>subversive just because the creators
>of the piece say so, then going to a starbucks for an "ironic latte"
>is subversive as well. Ironic posturing
>is not a form of activism.
>
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>
>I disagree. If this project is taken to a successful conclusion, it
>will have achieved more than most activist art projects do, by
>virtue of the fact that it will have literally infiltrated the
>corporations.

( whoever started this big type thing, thanks.)

well, it might be subversive or not, but what's the real end effect
they're shooting for.

i thought this was just a spoofy joke and still think it would make a
fitting one (though not a real knee-slapper). maybe rhizomers are
falling for this and the creator(s) are getting a laugh.

but no matter what the case, it's just a laugh. starbucks is not
going to reconsider their immoral property grabbing techniques. at
best, we have your scenario where they consider wether or not to pull
the specific campaign. this has no effect though on what makes the
subverter target them in the first place though.

it's sort of just like feeling smug saying "I can make you think
about 'potato chips'." which is why i'm surprised that you (curt)
would be in favor of it. it seems entirely CONceptual.

but then even if you turned around now and said "ha ha, that was a
joke and you all fell for it." ok. but nothing has changed. You
could also just read this as some guy posted a bunch of pictures of
himself and wants to get in big brochures and ads.

judson


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PLASMA STUDII
http://plasmastudii.org
223 E 10th Street
PMB 130
New York, NY 10003

curt cloninger June 19 2002 01:00Reply

Judson says:

>but no matter what the case, it's just a laugh. starbucks is not
>going to reconsider their immoral property grabbing techniques. at
>best, we have your scenario where they consider wether or not to
>pull the specific campaign. this has no effect though on what makes
>the subverter target them in the first place though.

It's all speculation at this point. Who knows in which ads it will
be appear? Who knows how the corporations will respond? It is at
least a laugh. It may be more.




>it's sort of just like feeling smug saying "I can make you think
>about 'potato chips'." which is why i'm surprised that you (curt)
>would be in favor of it. it seems entirely CONceptual.

It's conceptual, but not entirely conceptual. Literal advertisements
are being produced. And the goal is to CON corporations, not to CON
the project into some gallery. That's what makes it more itteresting
to me than mere peer/scene-referenced conceptual masturbation. It
touches the actual corporations. Probably not in a big way, I agree.
But its effects are yet to be seen.




>but then even if you turned around now and said "ha ha, that was a
>joke and you all fell for it." ok. but nothing has changed. You
>could also just read this as some guy posted a bunch of pictures of
>himself and wants to get in big brochures and ads.

he has been accused within the design community of doing just that.
It's not the most massive anti-commercial campaign ever waged. It
is, as the article observes, a sly wink rather than a thrown brick.

marc garrett June 19 2002 01:00Reply

Creating Reality

This reminds of an image created by a photographer friend of mine. In the
early days of Thatcher dominance over the land of scrappy little of England.
Around 1982 I think, Paul took this photograph from his black and white TV,
of Mrs. Thatcher as she glared for one moment on the screen. He pasted the
image on billboards, walls all over London of this 'mad' looking woman who
just so happened to be our Prime Minister at the time. This subversive image
caught the people's imagination, then suddenly the image was in magazines,
newspapers, the television again. And everyone can now remember her by this
image in the UK. A staring monster who had no empathy for other people,
obsessed with power.

Marc Garrett




> Here's a great example of advertising subversion: A graphic designer
> working for a swiss bank designed a suite of four posters, each of which
> prominently featured a photograph of a human figure contorting their
> arms in a different way. When arranged on a wall, the arms turned into
> letters and the letters spelled "NAZI". I believe that these posters
> actually made it out to the public. That's subversiveness.
>
> The ACR stuff is cool (and thought provoking as evidenced by this
> thread) but like 99% of subversive art projects, it's more of a
> commentary for the choir than a goal-oriented political action. (dplanet
> sux!)
>
> Another example of prankish quasi-subversion: Bill Ripken, brother of
> Cal Ripken the now-retired Baltimore Oriole baseball star, appeared in
> his official Topps Baseball Card photograph in 1989 with a bat on which
> he had written (or, as he alleges, a mischeivous teammate had written)
> "Fuck Face". He even held the bat strategically so that the phrase was
> easily visible:
> http://www.snopes2.com/business/hidden/ripken.htm
>
> -Cf
>
> [christopher eli fahey]
> art: http://www.graphpaper.com
> sci: http://www.askrom.com
> biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > —–Original Message—–
> > From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org]
> > On Behalf Of t.whid
> > Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 1:56 PM
> > To: list@rhizome.org
> > Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
> >
> >
> > note: i was referring to the mobile communication collection,
> > apologies for not being clear.
> >
> > i looked this site over pretty closely a couple of weeks ago, looking
> > specifically for images in the backgrounds that could be subversive.
> > didn't see anything that would be noticeable enough to have an effect
> > on an average viewer of these images and was left wondering what it's
> > effect may be outside of those (like us) who are in on the joke.
> >
> > if an image makes it to a big campaign (highly unlikely) and enough
> > people know it's 'subversive' then i suppose we can all laugh at the
> > company. but i don't see this subverting anything other than the
> > stock houses that may lose a minuscule amount of business (it could
> > be argued that the images they sell are more satirical than the ones
> > used at ACR) by people using these free ones.
> >
> > it's a catch-22, if the images were overtly subversive they wouldn't
> > get past the clients. if you make the subversion too subtle they
> > simply become free stock. i would argue that the photographer didn't
> > hit the sweet spot in the middle.
> >
> > take care
> >
> > At 13:35 -0400 6/18/02, Rachel Greene wrote:
> > >i agree that the poses aren't subversive. but there is a
> > subtle laugh track
> > >playing in the background… that is the element of
> > resistance i think.
> > >
> > >
> > >> from net art news:
> > >>
> > >> You are the Agent of Alternative Reality
> > >>
> > >> "Alternative Corporate Reality" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical
> > >> media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate
> > >> icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are
> > >> challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad
> > >> campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography
> > >> features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various
> > >> mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then
> > upload samples
> > >> of their "subverted" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of
> > >> their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every
> > >> little bit counts when you're fighting the man.
> > >>
> > http://media.k10k.net/issues/issuewarp.php?ID7&URL=issues/i
> ssue117/index.php
> >>
>
> twhid wrote:
> >> this seems like a very interesting project, but the images aren't
> >> anti-corporate or subversive in anyway that i can tell.
> >>
> >> simply labeling an image 'subversive' don't make it so.
> >>
> >> i don't see how this project works to 'subvert' anything at all,
> >> except in the minds of few designers who are in the know.
> –
> <twhid>
> http://www.mteww.com
> </twhid>
> + dirty.bomb$THpleted.uranium
> -> Rhizome.org
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/subscribe.rhiz
> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php3
>
>
> + dirty.bomb$THpleted.uranium
> -> Rhizome.org
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/subscribe.rhiz
> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
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curt cloninger June 19 2002 01:00Reply

eryk says:

>I'm not sure I get why "literally infiltrating the corporations" is
>a >measure for subversion-
>aren't hundreds of newbie business graduates "subverting" >corporate
>culture every day?

no, they're just working for the corporations. they're "within"
alright, but they're not undermining anything while their in there.

If I spraypaint "Nike exploits" on a subway wall, I am subverting the
company from without.

If I trick Nike into saying "Nike exploits" in their own ad
campaigns, if I trick them into using their own marketing money to
distribute this slogan, if I trick them into thinking that they are
promoting their own brand when in fact they are undermining it – I
am subverting the company from within.

That is what I mean by "literally infiltrating the corporations."
The goals of this project may well be vague, too subtle,
unaccountable, misdirected, whatever – but the vehicle this project
uses to subvert the companies is unique to most hacktivist art
projects. It is an attack from within rather than from without.
Nike is not obliged to deal with the scrawled subway criticism, but
they are obliged to deal with their own ad campaign.

Obviously this ACR project won't get Nike to advertise "Nike
exploits." But it has already gotten corporations to distribute an
icon that is now recognizable as anti-corporate by anybody familiar
with the project. In that sense, it has literally infiltrated the
corporations.




>In activism isn't there an accountability for the end result?
>Lets >say the corporation finds
>out that the stock photography they bought was photographed >by a
>guy who made a vague
>statement about infiltration; never targeting a specific
>company, >does not espouse any
>political agenda; does not expose a cause or belief. How is this >activism?

The project's organizer does espouse an agenda (although I agree that
it's difficult to decipher from the "crypt.CORPS" text accompanying
the project's web site). He may be lurking even now reading this.
Damian, what is your agenda?






>This is essentially
>the same as if a company found out that the actor in the ad for >the
>beef council was a
>vegetarian. Are they going to pull the ads? I sincerely doubt it.

If the vegetarian spokesperson set up a website about how clueless he
thought the beef council was and how he thought they were mindless,
greedy fools, and if that web site got a lot of press, you bet they
would pull the ads.






>This seems more to me like a wink and a nod for designers who >feel
>guilty about what they
>do for money. They get a chance to feel like they're making a >difference.

As opposed to unemployed anti-corporate performance artists who are
making a real difference?

As I've said elsewhere, this is not the A1 best anti-corporate
project to ever come down the pipe, but I find its tactics
interesting and instructive.

_
_

MTAA June 19 2002 01:00Reply

At 15:25 -0400 6/19/02, Curt Cloninger wrote:

If I spraypaint "Nike exploits" on a subway wall, I am subverting the
company from without.

If I trick Nike into saying "Nike exploits" in their own ad
campaigns, if I trick them into using their own marketing money to
distribute this slogan, if I trick them into thinking that they are
promoting their own brand when in fact they are undermining it – I
am subverting the company from within.

That is what I mean by "literally infiltrating the corporations."
The goals of this project may well be vague, too subtle,
unaccountable, misdirected, whatever – but the vehicle this project
uses to subvert the companies is unique to most hacktivist art
projects. It is an attack from within rather than from without.
Nike is not obliged to deal with the scrawled subway criticism, but
they are obliged to deal with their own ad campaign.

Obviously this ACR project won't get Nike to advertise "Nike
exploits." But it has already gotten corporations to distribute an
icon that is now recognizable as anti-corporate by anybody familiar
with the project. In that sense, it has literally infiltrated the
corporations.

no argument. the images seem to have infiltrated the corporate wall,
but my point IS STILL, "so what"? the images don't carry an
anti-corporate message no matter how hard the photographer and we may
wish them to.

>In activism isn't there an accountability for the end result?
>Lets >say the corporation finds
>out that the stock photography they bought was photographed >by a
>guy who made a vague
>statement about infiltration; never targeting a specific
>company, >does not espouse any
>political agenda; does not expose a cause or belief. How is this >activism?

The project's organizer does espouse an agenda (although I agree that
it's difficult to decipher from the "crypt.CORPS" text accompanying
the project's web site). He may be lurking even now reading this.
Damian, what is your agenda?

>This is essentially
>the same as if a company found out that the actor in the ad for >the
>beef council was a
>vegetarian. Are they going to pull the ads? I sincerely doubt it.

If the vegetarian spokesperson set up a website about how clueless he
thought the beef council was and how he thought they were mindless,
greedy fools, and if that web site got a lot of press, you bet they
would pull the ads.

>This seems more to me like a wink and a nod for designers who >feel
>guilty about what they
>do for money. They get a chance to feel like they're making a >difference.

As opposed to unemployed anti-corporate performance artists who are
making a real difference?

[always have to get yer little shots in dontchya curt? i think the
axe is plenty sharp ;-)]


As I've said elsewhere, this is not the A1 best anti-corporate
project to ever come down the pipe, but I find its tactics
interesting and instructive.

and it's judged against the exploits of RTMark, eToy, EDT who are
doing a much better job at this sort of thing.

i don't think the project is horrible; i like it quite a bit esp on a
formal level. but i have to agree with eryk, it seems to be a way for
guilt ridden corporate lackeys (a group to which i proudly belong) to
attempt a safe and tidy protest.

more of a whine than a wink imo.



<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>

Eryk Salvaggio June 19 2002 01:00Reply

Curt Cloninger wrote:

> no, they're just working for the corporations. they're "within"
> alright, but they're not undermining anything while their in there.


That's my point, neither are these images.

> If I spraypaint "Nike exploits" on a subway wall, I am subverting the
> company from without.


Not exactly. Hasn't the Gap been spraying "freedom" on its own windows
for the publicity?

> That is what I mean by "literally infiltrating the corporations." The
> goals of this project may well be vague, too subtle, unaccountable,
> misdirected, whatever – but the vehicle this project uses to subvert
> the companies is unique to most hacktivist art projects. It is an
> attack from within rather than from without. Nike is not obliged to
> deal with the scrawled subway criticism, but they are obliged to deal
> with their own ad campaign.


I agree, the idea is great, if only it actually did what it claimed to
do, ie, subvert anything. In this situations you could
just as well claim that the advertisers are subverting the images by
using them to promote thier buisinesses.

> As opposed to unemployed anti-corporate performance artists who are
> making a real difference?


Well, I suppose there's just no such thing as making a difference
anymore, is that what you are saying?


> As I've said elsewhere, this is not the A1 best anti-corporate project
> to ever come down the pipe, but I find its tactics interesting and
> instructive.


I'll say it's a good idea, just one that did not have enough guts to
pull off what it would need to do in order to be
a great one.



-e.