Sunday, January 22, 2012

Activist Art

Check out this interview with Yes Men collaborator Mike Bonanno.

What do you think of the intersection of art and activism?  Art as culture jamming?  This has certainly been an important strain of contemporary art practice since the 1990s.  The Yes Men and Damien Hirst create a stark comparison in terms of their attitudes toward the art market, the role and potential of art, and the social responsibility of the artist.  And yet, do any of the Yes Men's actions lead to concrete change, or even increased awareness of corporations' devaluation of human life?  How are the Yes Men different from Stephen Colbert?

1 comment:

  1. These are activists for a new era. Traditional ways of protesting and calls for change need to evolve to be effective. People tune out or have negative connotations of “the protester”. It sounds like media outlets have not evolved and sometimes they take these elaborate satires to be true. It is scary how they can report on a story without checking facts. I guess this will increase as we expect instant access to information and place high value on the reporting of something first. The activities of the Yes Men are entertaining and after the laughter has died down, the reason for the deception lingers. They may have little impact on these causes, but the important thing is that they have tried.

    Stephen Colbert’s recent creation of his own legally allowed, but ethically questionable, Super PAC is fascinating. Colbert may not be able to trigger immediate changes, but by exposing the sleazy ways these elections are funded he increases the chance that something will be done. Some of the imaginary products the Yes Men propose sound like the real items for the wealthy that Stephen Colbert discusses in his “Colbert Platinum” segment: