you’ve seen and read about anti-globalisation demos, but in case you’re
not up to speed on culture jamming, today I’m going to point you towards
a few Internet sites on that subject. While you won’t emerge as
anarchists, you will come to an understanding of the movement’s aims and
jamming at its most benign can be defined as a form of guerrilla
activism that seeks to subvert society’s norms by use of “maximum
disturbance with minimum damage”. Its primary medium is the Internet
itself, and not unexpectedly its primary campaigners are aged 20 to 40.
The primary approach is via humour.
became aware of culture jamming in a 1998 (Aussie) ABC Radio National
broadcast. It was an episode of Background Briefing, and a
transcript of that informative programme may still be had on their
Web site. Not only does it discuss Pauline Pantsdown (visit the site if
you’re not Australian), it even features the legendary American media
hoaxer, Joey Skaggs, who began doing his thing over three decades ago.
(He’s the one who advertised the Cathouse for Dogs.)
sense, I suppose, culture jamming might be traced back to the beat
generation of the 1960s, to that anarchic literary figure William S.
Burroughs (1914-97). Culture jamming so called, however, had one of its
earliest manifestations in 1989 in a print magazine from Canada called
Adbusters, which made a
feature of adding negative connotations to the advertising images of
Madison Avenue. As well, it gave a voice in its articles to “a global
network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators
. . . Adbusters is an ecological magazine, dedicated to examining
the relationship between human beings and their physical and mental
environment. We want a world in which the economy and ecology resonate
in balance. We try to coax people from spectator to participant in this
quest. We want folks to get mad about corporate disinformation,
injustices in the global economy, and any industry that pollutes our
physical or mental commons.
the magazine boasts a circulation of over 85,000.
comprehensive site for the newcomer to culture jamming is
hosts “the idiosyntactix culture jammer’s encyclopedia”:
this site highlights deception, but it's not because I have a thing for
liars and cheats. I think there's a brand of immunizing deception that
helps us to expose and correct the lies we tell ourselves and the webs
of falsehood that make up our societies. Harmless fibs can remind us
that we've dropped our guard and let the Big Lies in.
good site is Abrupt,
which is run a by a well-known jammer, Daniel Maron. So, spoofs it is,
folks, but with a purpose. There are plenty of similar sites out there.
Here are three more: The
Whirled Bank Group,
Child Slaves and
As I have
to keep the column short this issue and some of you are about to rush
out and tastefully modify your favourite billboard, let me recommend —
in recognition of how important Google thinks culture jamming is — that
you continue your investigations at their special directory category
Society > Activism > Media > Culture Jamming.