The Yes Men & Cornelia Sollfrank · Unmasking Power as Art: Sharing Tactics & Practice

The Yes Men & Cornelia Sollfrank · Unmasking Power as Art: Sharing Tactics & Practice

The Yes Men & Cornelia Sollfrank · Unmasking Power as Art: Sharing Tactics & Practice at Disruption Network Lab's conference Artivism

This panel is part of Disruption Network Lab’s conference Artivism.
The Yes Men & Cornelia Sollfrank · Unmasking Power as Art: Sharing Tactics & Practice. 

How can artists use their special expertise to draw attention to political grievances and contribute to their redress? And what does it do to art when artists get politically involved? This keynote panel brings together three artists that have been working in the field or critical technology and political awareness since more than three decades, Mike Bonanno & Jeff Walburn,, from the culture jamming and activist group, and Cornelia Sollfrank, one of the pioneers of net art and cyberfeminism.

In the realm of Artivism, where the boundaries between art and activism blur, 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗬𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗲𝗻 have been working as provocateurs who delight in unmasking the puppeteers of power through their collectively orchestrated interventions. Combining media-hacking and social-engineering tactics, they challenge corporate malevolence while simultaneously amplifying the voices of activists. Their social-engineering tactics steal media space from commercial interests, questioning the motives of those who wield authority.

The Yes Men have participated in many attempts to ignite a network of truth-seekers, activists, and makers of meaningful mischief. Mike and Jeff of the Yes Men join the ARTIVISM conference with the hopes that they can swap stories and tactics of wit, creativity, and defiance: teaching and learning how to challenge the systems that bind us in today’s tumultuous social and political landscape.

They will share some funny videos of their interventions and break down how they are designed to plague corporate evildoers, amplify activist campaigns. and expose the flaws of established power structures. Along the way, they discuss the importance of tricksters in subverting power, and explore how these media-hacking and social-engineering tactics can be stolen and remixed by anyone.

Alongside, 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗮 𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗳𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗸 has accumulated a manifold oeuvre in which she is challenging traditional aesthetic categories by confronting them with the potential of digital networked technology. Based on the assumption that there is no place outside the political, she, for example, extends her concept of material into the social and experiments with new forms of organization as aesthetic practice.

True to the motto “the mode is the message,” she strives to create space for the quiet, the minor, the difference – for what happens in the cracks and in-between spaces, for the cement that holds the social together by activating individual agency within a collective structure while never losing sight of the symbolic power of art.

As the initiator of the campaign TammTamm – Artists Informing Politicians (2005/06), she created a form of protest that involved several hundred actors. At the same time, the protest was based on private conversations between one politician and one artist in each case. In this way, a massive political confrontation over a controversial museum project and 30 million euros of public funding was broken down to an encounter between two people. Eventually, the action developed its political impact by gathering the reports on the individual encounters on a joint website, which allowed to create attention and support also beyond the local.

Although this campaign deals with a very specific situation in a local context with a clearly defined goal, it will be presented through an artistic production at the Artivism conference, and it will serve as a basis for this keynote discussion of the core questions regarding the relation of art and politics.

ARTIVISM: The Art of Subverting Power

Berlin (DE)
Partner organisation