Viva Vivoleum

Collective efforts to expose injustice and systemic hypocrisy manifest in many different forms. Some people take to the street, others get loud in the blogosphere, while the Yes Men head to the limelight, using web- and email-based trickery to commit sensational acts of 'identity correction,' capture media attention, and ultimately cast their targeted subjects into dubious light. In the past, the Yes Men have impersonated, representatives from Dow Chemical, McDonalds, and the World Trade Organization. On June 14th, Yes Men Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno struck again, taking the stage at Calgary's Gas and Oil Exposition, as Shepard Wolff of the National Petroleum Council and Florian Osenberg of Exxon Mobil. The featured speakers at the costly keynote luncheon, Wolff and Osenberg discussed their plans for Vivoleum, a new fuel made from the deceased human bodies of climate-change casualties. Their message had a twisted logic that doubled as harsh criticism of the oil industry: Vivoleum wouldn't help the environment but would rather ensure the oil industry wouldn't dry up. Wolff and Osenberg were forced off the stage after they began playing a video detailing their first Vivoleum experiment. (See 'Tribute to Reggie,' as well as photos and press on their site.) Their performance may not have saved the world from global warming, but it has whipped the press into a frenzy of activity, and the Internet into a cacophony of discussion. The Yes Men have proved, yet again, that two regular guys can put a wrench in big power machinery, with the aid of faked websites and rented suits. In the words of artist and Rhizomer Pall Thayer, 'Viva Vivoleum!' - Lauren Cornell