Tag Archives: subversion

Rinsing Out Fascism

In our censorious times, it’s nice to see a bit of good old-fashioned subversion.

These t-shirts handed out at a neo-Nazi concert challenge the wearers’ politics by changing message in the wash. The campaign was conceived by Exit, an organisation which encourages individuals to leave the far right in Germany. The message reads: ‘If your t-shirt can do it, you can do it too — we’ll help you get away from right-wing extremism.’ According to Bernd Wagner of Exit, the t-shirts not only reached some 250 of their intended target but simulated debate and conversation within both the far right movement and German society at large. Result.

Via The Next Web.

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Subversion on the Streets

Spotted in Shoreditch. Niiiice.

bus stop.jpgSpotted in Shoreditch. Niiiice.

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Arse About Facebook II

It’s not often we post back-to-back on the same topic, but today we’re fired up about Facebook…

An eagle-eyed observer on the iDC mailing list (who admittedly found this news on Slashdot) recently noted that Facebook applications — those silly little ‘hug me/kiss me/make love to me now, right here, coz honey we’re the last two people on earth and ain’t neither one of us gonna see that sunrise tomorrow’ plugins — are maybe not quite as innocent as they seem. The clue is tucked away in the Facebook Platform Application Terms of Use. Section (II) is in essence a grant of all — repeat all (with the exception of your real-world contact details) — the data Facebook stores about you, to any application you choose to enable.

So: in return for the ability to ‘spank’ your buddies on Facebook (yee-hah!), application creators get to know all manner of succulent facts about your online existence — how often you log in, who your friends are, which groups you’ve joined… and much more. Think about it.

There is — of course — no such thing as a free service. Facebook (I hear) has ads on most pages. I don’t see ‘em because I have decent ad filters. But you can bet those ads are tailored to your profile as Facebook’s data-miners see it. Maybe you’ve balanced that value exchange mentally, and decided that for you the fun of Facebook is worth a few dodgy banners. But we don’t think we’re the only ones who object to the same amount of personal information going to the creators of teeny applications which only briefly amuse. And we’re betting that many of those apps only exist to suck up and sell on all that lovely personal data.

Who’s feeling well and truly ‘spanked’ now?

Of course, you can just refuse application requests. That’s no big deal. But why don’t we have some fun with this? We wouldn’t be the first to try and subvert the engines of social media capitalism. Take the long-established Google Will Eat Itself project, for example:

We generate money by serving Google text advertisements on a network of hidden Websites. With this money we automatically buy Google shares. We buy Google via their own advertisment! Google eats itself – but in the end “we” own it!

By establishing this autocannibalistic model we deconstruct the new global advertisment mechanisms by rendering them into a surreal click-based economic model.

After this process we hand over the common ownership of “our” Google Shares to the GTTP Ltd. [Google To The People Public Company] which distributes them back to the users (clickers) / public.

Likewise the hypothetical (?) Amazon Noir, which uses a crafty bot to steal digital copies of books from the retailer:

The bot will outwit Amazon’s “search inside the book” system, making up to 5,000 inquiries per book and assembling the individual parts afterwards to compile entire books. This would allow “users to ‘legally’ copy and redistribute copyright books from amazon.com.”


So why not spank back on Facebook? We’re thinking of building a Facebook app to do just that. Enable it, and it will slurp up all your Facebook data, same as all the others apps. The difference would be that it will be upfront about its function — only people who want to donate their data to our database need install the thing in the first place. Then, we end up with a huge pool of valuable user data — and some good free press. We go out and sell that data: to marketeers, researchers, whoever pays the highest price. And everyone who contributed gets a proportional share of the profits (if any). Ok, no-one will get rich, but it will raise awareness, be an interesting bit of hacking and maybe a bit of a laugh. Brothers and sisters, we are the means of production. Let it begin.

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Broken Link

More subverting white spaces …

borkenlink.jpgActivists Niko and Andrea place stickers of the “broken link” icon that appears on a web page when the image is missing. We think there’s something enormously sad about it…

A nice follow on from Mr beautiful blank who we wrote about a while back.

Via Wooster Collective.

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Wall Art

Mischief with walls in Shoreditch.

wall art 1.jpgwall art 2.jpg

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Messin’ With Magazines

Culture jamming in Vogue.

magazineconfess_02.jpgArts collective Are You Generic declare sweetly ‘we miss content’ and invite readers to critique glossy mags by inserting the following diatribe between the ads:

The confessions of a generic magazine We loaded this issue with more advertising than content. The content we did publish was edited, censored and manipulated to please our advertisers or as lame filler between the product pushing ads. We got paid quite handsomely to produce this issue and are glad you will pay to read what we already got paid to print. Are You Generic?

Are You Generic? say that they are

A group of artists that seeks to protest, to question, and to disprove. Its nemeses are unethical corporations, censorship, the slanted media, hypocrisy, excessive advertising, and plain stupidity. Its heroes are art, discussion, independent thought, and creation.

We like. Via Wooster.

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Poster Hack

Docteur Gecko modifies poster advertising in ways that only become apparent at night.

doctor fear.jpgThree years ago, Docteur Gecko found a new way for ‘hacking’ advertising that you find in bus shelters and his modifications can only be seen during the night when the signs become illuminated. Dark. pictures.jpg

Via Wooster with thanks to King Adz for the tip.

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American Idiot

Subversive clothing labels.

idiot president.jpg
C/o A Socialite’s Life blog.

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More subversive wallpaper, this time from Chinese artist Tsang Kinwah.

ugly pretty 2.jpgKinwah produces florid wallpaper which on closer inspection turns out to be composed of profanities and anti-consumer culture messages. He says of his work:

Our personalities contain so many different aspects and layers that we cannot really figure it out. Some are more obvious while some are not, or even repressed deep inside our minds. But I guess some people would just assume there is only one aspect, one fact, one truth and one reality but, in fact, they are just part of the whole.

Featured wallpaper is ‘Untitled’ – Hong Kong, shown at The Room With A View Gallery, Shanghai, 2003-04. Click to enlarge the image but please don’t bother if you’re easily offended or still at school.

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