Category Archives: Creative Activism

Creative Activism – Evaluation

Looking back over the whole project, I feel I could have been more active in it. I could have produced more content that created and impact.

The module on a whole was interesting and challenged my pre-conceptions of being an activist. There is so many different ways to be an activist and in the digital era, so many ways of getting other people involved. I have learnt how to operate a large number of people in demonstration to put a point across whilst doing so from a creative manner – ie the Ikea Flash Mob as we were making the point that people should be independent and not have Ikea design how they should live.

Looking back over my work, I can see I have learnt how to make an impact with it and how to construct my arguments and approach people with them in the best manner.


Creative Activism – Jamming and Remixing

I’ve waited to hear about the 2012 Budget proposals for my remix. I’ve decided to go with a clip from the House of Commons in which Ed Milliband openly mocks David Cameron and his party for their intentions with the cuts. Everyone knows that these bureaucrats will benefit immensely in terms of wealth and finance from the Income Tax Cut and Milliband strives to coerce them into admitting this. But they will not. Their silence is enough to confirm this.

This is a very striking issue especially after the politician expenses scandal and one with I think will provoke a strong reaction. The clip actually speaks for itself however, with subtitles detailing what is actually being said (through a comedic front) viewers can see how I understand what is going on and hopefully agree and support my thoughts. The fact that Cameron and his party simply do not retort to Millibands accusation is camouflaging the truth and I think people need this to be made obvious.

I have uploaded my video to YouTube as here it can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet and shared and distributed as and when people want to. This helps spread the meaning of the piece.


Creative Activism – Flash Mob

A flash mob is a group of people meeting in a public space and performing to put a point across to bystanders and entertain them. They are a recent activity however, they have become immensely popular in recent years. YouTube has really helped propel Flash Mobbing into a popular event with millions of people recognising one.

Flash Mob

Our challenge this week was to perform one of our own.

Improveverywhere were probably the first high profile flash mob group that appeared on the internet.

http://improveverywhere.com/

In our group we had two main ideas which stemmed from these:

So our group looked into several ideas and we narrowed them down to our 4 main ideas, of which one we would be taking forward and doing,

1. Wow – This idea came from people conforming to being like sheep and following a crowd despite not knowing what was going on. We would lay a piece of paper with WOW written on it on the ground in a public space, take photos of it and try and draw in the public in hope that they would want to know what the big fuss was about. We thought about pointing out to people how likely they are to act like a sheep by writing on the paper “and you thought you were independent!”.

2. Human Snake –This literally consisted of making a conga line and seeing if we could get random people to join by pretending to be bystanders and joining in ourselves. It would have been great but we thought about a H&S risk that prevented the go ahead.

3. The Theme Song – We would sing, hum, whistle famous theme songs in a public space and then more of the group would join in in hope that people around us would too.

4. Ikea – In “500 Days of Summer”, the lead actors act out their lives as if they were living in Ikea. We would pretend to be in a situation depending on which show room we were in; people in the kitchen would pretend to cook whilst in the living room they would shout at the TV not working etc.

We narrowed this down to two:

– Perform in Ikea or
– Sing easily recognisable tunes in public spaces.

We went for the latter and practiced humming and whistling to try and put together a medley of famous tunes people could join into. These consisted of the Great Escape, Aadams Family and the Pink Panther themes. We would hit the Uni Libary, Students Union, Town Square and our own Ellen Terry building. It would have gone greatly but there was a lack of people being able to keep rhythm, pace and in tune. It started to go badly and with a deadline drawing ever nearer, we decided to scrap this plan and fall back on the Ikea idea.

Ikea Logo

We plotted to hit Ikea on the same floor but in different locations around the store. We would be in groups of 4 or 5 with one person nearby filming the action. The next step was getting to Ikea. We went down in groups but entered the store separately. A couple of group members would find a location and then we would find them and start. There was also a couple of the whole group knocking about who were there to try and get people involved asking them what was going on.

The Plot

My group hit the bedroom. Jess and I stripped down to pyjamas and got into a bed. Jack hid in a wardrobe and Adina hit in the bathroom with a robe over her. James was filming us and waved to start when a few people were nearby. Jess and I talked loudly which drew bystanders attention. At this point Adina raced into the room screaming at me for having an affair. I leapt out of bed and argued back. This attracted a lot of attention from the staff on the floor. As they came over, Jack jumped out the wardrobe and slipped into bed with Jess. Adina and my argument blew way over the top and she was hysterical slapping me in the face while I pleaded my innocence. As the Ikea staff started to shout at us and ask us what was going on we looked at them and drew them into the argument asking them what they were doing in our home and who did they think they were walking into our bedroom. They didn’t seem impressed and escorted us out the building. As soon as the commotion with us had died down, the other two groups started to kick off. They were given a similar treatment but with a faster response.

We thought we had been really effective in flash mobbing but we were made to feel by the staff that we were more of a nuisance. As we returned to HQ, we realised that some members of our group had just taken it too far, stripping in the shower for example. A bit out of order even though some of our stunts were risqué.

In reflection, it is amazing how quickly we could get organised and put into effect a plan and get people involved. Maybe a little more time and deliberation and make sure people know EXACTLY what to do (and what not) and we could re-create something more spectacular.

 

 


Creative Activism – Empathy Documentary

This documentary failed. I couldn’t do the things I had to do and carry on filming it. However I do have a lot to say.

The idea came about after reading this article:

http://news2.onlinenigeria.com/world/15740-More-than-100-soldiers-have-had-limbs-amputated-after-roadside-bomb-attacks-Afghanistan.rss

It talks about how so many British Soldiers have been maimed and incapacitated as a result of the current war in Afghanistan. The issue that bugs me, not in this article, is not the fact it’s happened to them, they are soldiers at war, these things happen. It’s more the fact that once they’re out of rehabilitation, they are pretty much left to their own devices and forgotten about. This is only covering the ones with physical injuries. A lot of soldiers are having post traumatic stress which is common and does happen. The thing is, they are discharged from the Forces and cannot reapply as they have mental health issues. They then cannot fit back into civvie street.

This article helped me find out more about how common this is and some people that are affected:

http://www.rt.com/news/uk-war-soldiers-ptsd/

This second article was an illumination to me as I saw that things were being done to help those affected but still I dont think enough support is available and more initiatives should be set up.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/01/post-traumatic-stress-disorder

My Documentary:


Creative Activism – Song Case Study

A band that has always struck me as highly politically motivated and very left-winged. They have been involved in hundreds of political movements, including a take over in Wall Street to shoot a music video, and have had their videos made by Michael Moore who strives to document political responsibilities. Their music is heavy thrash metal with rap and hip-hop lyrics entwined in a funky style. Their lyrics talk about politics, unrest, world issues and oppression and their aim is to fight these issues, bring them to the public eye and motivate people to speak out. They are a voice of thousands with the same opinion

I have chosen their song, Killing In The Name Of, one for it’s popularity and what it has been used to change and secondly because of its context:

It really punches a knock-out blow to the viciousness and immoral side of American society and specifically targets racism in enforcement and agencies there. It relates them to being just as racist as the Klu Klux Klan which is a bold statement as they are saying that these bodies are as evil as the white supremacists who burnt, tortured, mutilated and harassed African Americans. They repeatedly scream the line “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” (the screaming connotes their anger and them shouting out against being oppressed) which basically inspires people to say, “Yes, I disagree with what is happening here and I can tell them to fuck off”.

In modern society, there is still an issue with unequal distribution of wealth with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Power is judged by wealth and if you do not have one, you can’t have the other and should be kicked down to a lower level of society. However, armed with this song, the poor can combine together and expressed their mistreatment and help gain a foothold in society they so long for.

Despite being a controversial song, it is easily recognised and has been in many debates which go against corporations making money. In 2009, Facebook users starting spreading the word to get people to download this song for the upcoming Christmas sell out that would have been won (for the 5th consecutive year) by an X-Factor finalist. This would give a two-fingered salute to the corporations and people who want to make money instead of making real good music. It would also prove that people will use what ever means to prove their point. Tom Morello, the bands founder and guitarist, said that this act was “a wonderful dose of anarchy” which is something he has always strived to achieve – going against what the powers are telling them to do.

When the concept of hegemony is thrown into this equation, we can clearly see that this song, the band and it’s entire music base goes against hegemony in it’s direct meaning (of course they are signed by the label Sony and are therefore part of a huge hegemonic corporation which adds the question of morality). It has proven that people can use the piece to hit out against the dominating music corporations and trends (like the X-factor dilemma) and therefore still fully works as a song which can change people’s lives.


Creative Activism – Challenge One

This weeks task is to think of an issue that bothers us and create an image that, through symbolism alone, challenges this issue and gets people to think about it in a different manner. Two subjects sprung to mind. The ideology of “beauty” in modern day society and the highly personal issue that I have a lot of hostility against, the fact a footballer plays for his city and gets hundreds of thousands of pounds a week whereas a member of the armed forces who lay down their lives every day for their country get a pittance and then are abandoned whilst footballers are named heroes.

I decided to roll with the natural beauty piece as I had an image in mind from my poetic eyes piece from my first year:

The images I used were off Michaelangelo’s statue of David. It is chiselled to perfection; it gives the perception of the ‘perfect man’. But what does it matter how somebody looks. To counter this innate belief that has been drilled into modern society that we all should look like this, I used a photoshopped image from the same angle in which David has been made fat, lost his toned muscles, has a double chin, moobs and a pot belly. (Click on Link to view image on Flickr)

David

My feedback was really positive for this mashed image that speaks for itself. It really challenged what people thought about how they should look at firstly, their own image then secondly, at other people’s. I was proud with the fact that it attacked people’s preconceptions of “Natural Beauty”. What is it? Who has it? What should we look for?

On another note, I used an image of a football made of money and just asked people to compare it to a MOD logo. No response on this image and it is really rubbish to be frank as I am no wizard with Photoshop. But I wanted to make it and get the inception across to people that this issue is despicable. (Click on Link to view image on Flickr)

Which Is Worth More?