CULTUREJAM: Hijacking Commercial Culture
As Corporate Brands and Commercial Messages Saturate Popular Culture like Never Before, the Empire of the Sign Strikes Back!
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. A fascinating rap on the 20th Century movement called Culture Jamming. Hard hitting, controversial, wacky and engaging, this film asks: Is Culture Jamming civil disobedience? Senseless vandalism? The only form of self-defense left? Featuring: Billboard Liberation Front, Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping, Cultural Theorist Mark Dery, Media Tigress Carly Stasko, Constitutional Lawyer Margaret Kunstler and more!
"An Edifying Treat" - Variety Magazine
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.
Armed with DIY anti-ad stickers, custom neon, and stuffed mice on crosses, these jammers hijack, subvert and reclaim corporate media space. Enter the intriguing worlds of midnight billboard raids and the mid-afternoon hijacking of public space. Ultimately Culture Jammers wage a war of "meaning". They use the tools of the medium to re-wire the "message". Will Disney’s Mickey represent a "world of laughter" or will he become the anti-christ representing "sweatshop labour practices".
The verdict of public perception lies in a battle between billion dollar PR campaigns and guerrilla tactics of rebel activists. A relatively young movement, contemporary Culture Jammers first appeared in the early 80’s in San Francisco. But court jesters of medieval Europe, and movements like Dada, Surrealism, and the Situationist International of Paris, as well as the recent range from punk to "post", all provide a philosophical lineage for this new brand of rabble rousers.
French Situationist Guy Debord declared in the 1960’s that we inhabit the "society of the spectacle" - where leisure and real living had been replaced by pre-packaged media simulated experiences. The moment has come for a new message to take back the medium. Through their interventions culture jammers make a spectacle of ad-culture.