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Just do it!

Lentos Art Museum, Linz

The subversion of signs from Marcel Duchamp to Prada Meinhof. A thematic exhibition with works by over 50 international artists and group, on the disturbing reinterpretation of powerfully effective images in art, popular culture, political agitation and advertising. 'Culture Jamming' is an aesthetic strategy of civil disobedience which has been used increasingly frequently not only in Pop and Art, but also in political activism over the last two decades.

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The subversion of signs from Marcel Duchamp to Prada Meinhof

A thematic exhibition on the disturbing reinterpretation of powerfully effective images in art, popular culture, political agitation and advertising. "Culture Jamming" is an aesthetic strategy of civil disobedience which has been used increasingly frequently not only in Pop and Art, but also in political activism over the last two decades. However the history of cultural "disruptive sounds" goes back a long way, for instance to Marcel Duchamps Ready-made of the Mona Lisa with a painted moustache from the year 1919. It includes Kurt Schwitters use of the series of letters MERZ, which the Dadaist took from the name "Commerzbank", and culminates in Andy Warhols hyper-affirmation of consumption. It branches out from the comics of the "Situationist International" which were politicized with radical slogans, to the Punk Fanzines of the 1970's, and leads to the present with Media Activism forms like Hoaxing, Sniping or Viral Marketing. Just do it! endeavors to portray the area of conflict between new emancipatory codification of signs and the appropriation of "Culture-jamming" technologies in consumer-oriented deviation marketing, taking into consideration the art-historical references.

From Marcel Duchamp's readymade of Mona Lisa with a mustache painted on, through the comics politicized with radical slogans and other detournements of the Situationists, all the way to current forms of media activism like hoaxing, sniping or viral marketing: the arsenal of techniques for subverting meaning in (mass) media cycles has been definitively expanded, not least of all due to the possibilities provided by the Internet. If producing one's own signs appears to be the only possibility for generating autonomous and communicatively relevant meaning within the social machinery of the production of signs, then "Culture Jamming" operates as a placeholder for all the forms of the appropriation, plagiarizing, parody, over-affirmation and distortion of media events and advertising campaigns.

Culture Jamming derives from the term "jamming", meaning the interference noises of CB radio operators who disrupt radio broadcasts with obscenities. Culture Jamming can thus be regarded as the wily response to semiotic coercion by the hegemonial circulation of signs as civil disobedience, which is frequently electronically mediated today. Here the twisting of the (advertising) message does not refer primarily to the product. Cognitive dissonance emerges at a more general level, where the communicated values of the original are called into question. An advantage of this technique is that Culture Jammers frequently allow the image of the adversary, which may be worth millions, to work for them. The insurrection is not based on actual power relations, but rather on difference.

The production of the interplay of difference and repetition can be recognized in numerous art-historical examples as an applied strategy; from Kurt Schwitter's use of the letter sequence MERZ, which the Dadaist lifted from the name "Commerzbank", through the transformation of the brand Ricard into the Pop Art artist Richard Hamilton's Richard, to the use of Culture Jamming by the US American artists General Idea in their agitation on the theme of AIDS. Culture Jamming thus proves to be an aesthetic technique used continuously by the (neo-) avant-garde of the 20th century. Today this flows into a controversial, mass cultural practice of sign production, which is constantly newly coopted on the one hand by activism striving for criticism and subversion, and on the other by entrepreneurial and political advertising in their battle for a "cool" deviation from the norm.

In multiple, thematically structured stations, the exhibition seeks to sketch out current areas of application - such as the image and logo value of Nike, for instance - as well as to illustrate the historical relationships of affinity and the charged fields of Culture Jamming in and between art, pop culture and activism. In addition, a separate information and working space will be set up for visitors, in which supplementary and accompanying material (documents, magazines, audiovisual media, copy machines, readers, Internet access with links to net activism addresses, a music station with relevant record covers, etc.) will be made available.

Jay Adams, AES-Group, autonome a.f.r.i.k.a.-gruppe, Martin Arnold, Craig Baldwin, Mike Bidlo, Pierre Bismuth, Michael Blum, Daniele Buetti, Captain Zip, Marcel Duchamp, Oyvind Fahlstrom, R. Buckminster Fuller, General Idea, Johan Grimonprez, Grupo de 'l Arte Callejero + Mesa de Escrache + Colectivo Situaciones, Guerilla Girls, Richard Hamilton, John Heartfield, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Andreja Kuluncic, Sherrie Levine, Marco Lulic, George Maciunas, Michel Majerus, Michael Mandiberg, New Collectivism, Olaf Nicolai,, Dan Panaitescu, Bruno Peinado, Dan Perjovschi, Raymond Pettibon, Daniel Pflumm, Tobias Rehberger, Jamie Reid, Ad Reinhardt, Stefan Romer, Martha Rosler, Sabotage, Anne-Marie Schleiner, Kurt Schwitters, Santiago Sierra, Sister Corita Kent, Situationistische Internationale, Valerie Solanas, Elaine Sturtevant, Die Todliche Doris, ubermorgen, Piotr Uklanski, Jeronimo Voss, Silke Wagner, Peter Weibel, Johannes Wohnseifer, Yana Yo.

Thomas Edlinger
Raimar Stange
Florian Waldvogel

Opening: 25-02-2005, 19.00h

Exhibition Program 26-02-05:

10.30 Thomas Edlinger: Begrussung und Einleitung
11.00 Elke Marhofer / Sandy K.: Gender Jammer - I crossdress my Barbies - Riots not Diets
11.45 Marion von Osten: Der kreative Imperativ! - Abweichung als Anforderung
12.30 Stefan Romer: Das Fake als mediale Strategie und das Fake einer so genannten politischen Kunst
13.15 Pause/Break
14.30 Oliver Marchart:: Multiply! Zur Strategie der Selbstvervielfachung in Kunst und Politik
15.15 Christoph Behnke / Margarita Tsomou: Zur politischen Kritik von Culture Jamming
16.00 Mercedes Bunz: Die Entfremdung zur Waffe machen
16.45 Round Table

Image: Olaf Nicolai, Big Sneaker

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz
Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1
A-4020 Linz

Cathy Wilkes
dal 1/7/2015 al 3/10/2015

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