CULTURE JAM: Hijacking Commerical Culture
As Corporate Brands and Commercial Messages Saturate Popular Culture like Never Before, the Empire of the Sign Strikes Back!
A fascinating rap on the 20th Century movement called Culture Jamming. A new breed of revolutionary stands poised along our information highways waging war on logos and symbols. Pranksters and subversive artists are causing a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare.
In Culturejam: jammers, cultural commentators, a billboard advertiser and a constitutional lawyer take us on a wild roller coaster ride through the back streets of our mental environment. Stopping over in San Francisco, New York’s Times Square, and Toronto, we catch the jamming in action with Batman-inspired Jack Napier of the Billboard Liberation Front, Disney arch-enemy Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping and Media Tigress Carly Stasko.
Hard hitting, controversial, wacky and engaging, this film asks: Is Culture Jamming civil disobedience? Senseless vandalism? The only form of self-defense left?
APPEARING IN CULTUREJAM
Jack Napier – Midnight Billboard Editor- BILLBOARD LIBERATION FRONT
Jack Napier (a nom de guerre from the Joker in the Batman comics) is a founding member of San Francisco’s notorious Billboard Liberation Front (BLF). He’s been hijacking San Francisco’s billboards in a state of the art fashion for over 20 years strategically avoiding injury and arrest. With a membership of professional climbers, graphic designers and a few guilt ridden ad men, the BLF tackle anything from freeway overpass signs to neon installations.
Reverend Billy – Public Space Reclaimer – CHURCH OF STOP SHOPPING
Fueled by his anger at the gentrification of New York’s Times Square by the Disney Corporation, 50-year-old theatre actor Bill Talen has taken up the evangelical cloth for the Church of Stop Shopping. Reverend Billy stages occupations of the Disney Store and preaches from the cash register pulpit about Disney’s questionable corporate practices – manipulative marketing initiatives, foreign factory labour policies, and excessive profits. And Mickey M.O.U.S.E. turns Mickey Martyr as he is graphically strung up on a cross generating quite a few comments from the Times Square shoppers.
Carly Stasko – Media Tigress & Zine Publisher of UNCOOL
At the age of 16 Carly was frustrated with the advertising images of female beauty. She fought back by self-publishing her own “zine” entitled Uncool – a magazine of “jammed” ads and manifestos on culture jamming which featured a full-page ad for Philosophy Barbie. “What came first…” Stasko’s Barbie wonders, “the beauty or the myth?”. Now a university graduate in Semiotics, Carly deconstructs ads in the subway using magic markers and stickers, which are easily slapped on in a crowd. She also gives workshops to youth at alternative schools on how to deconstruct marketing messages.
Culture Jamming Elder and found-footage filmmaker who made the underground classic film about culture jamming – Sonic Outlaws.
Expert witness and cultural critic who wrote the first article on culture jamming in the early ‘80s entitled Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs.
Manager, Transit Division for Infinity Outdoor Advertising, the largest billboard advertising company in the world and the company responsible for many of the “raw canvasses” culture jammers love to edit.
Criminal & constitutional lawyer and co-founder of the Center For Constitutional Rights in New York. Legal Partner of William Kunstler, the firm who represented great civil rights cases such as Martin Luther King and Abbie Hoffman.
And… Featuring an audio collage appearance by NEGATIVLAND, the band of rebels who originally coined the term “culture jamming”