2014 | 05 | 08
The Yes Men at the Opening of the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin:
This well-known duo has made a name for itself in the past several years with a number of spectacular media hacks. In fact, for more than a decade, the Yes Men have been actively and effectively questioning the function of media in our lives. Time and again, their unique projects have played with our expectations and learned behavior patterns. For example, they often appear as "official representatives" under false names, take on the role of corporate spokesmen and government officials and even ambush internet sites, conferences and TV studios.
In their opening keynote, the Yes Men presented their latest projects. For example, they recently used false identities to gain access an event organized by the US Department of Homeland Security and convinced the politicians and military officials there to join them in an Indian dance designed to celebrate their manifesto for renewable energies. "Identity Correction" is the term the Yes Men give to this approach.
They also promoted their "Action Switchboard," a website designed to provide a platform on which activists can submit their ideas and/or showcase their existing activities – it's a kind of "dating portal" for activists worldwide. The Yes Men based the idea for this platform on their own experience that many protest actions are limited to being one-time events, i.e. they usually get lots of press and much praise, but they are soon forgotten. According to the Yes Men, it's much more important these days to be able to exert long-term pressure on relevant institutions and authorities.
The Action Switchboard is designed to collect activities in so-called "theme silos" and to organize the activists and NGOs among themselves. It's all about "culture jamming" for the masses – an indirect call to civil disobedience in the form of infiltration and exposure: "We need to try everything we can," noted the Yes Men at the end of their keynote.