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By (February 1, 2009) ()

Of the readings, the intervention and reverse engineering ones resonated most.  Some past projects I worked on fall into these categories; I worked on a project (www.whirledbank.org) to create a parody of the World Bank website – we copied the design of their site and replaced its content with critical essays and documentation of negative impacts of World Bank policy in a variety of areas.  Another project (http://www.derekchung.org/itp/butterfly.html) was to create Match.com profiles for the main characters of Madame Butterfly, and making the accounts (and correspondence) available as an interactive installation in a gallery exhibition. The piece highlighted the story as an early source for problematic stereotypes of Asians, and how the dynamics it generated have affected attraction  and modern relationships, across the cultures.

I’ve followed Negativland for a long time – it’s kind of nice to see that their work has stayed relevant.  I actually have that Fair Use book and CD that was mentioned, and I used to have the Dispepsi CD.  In contrast, the Improv Everywhere project was cute, and I’m sure it was fun for those involved, but ultimately it doesn’t seem to say anything. It’s not really much of a critique of corporate chain stores, it doesn’t really communicate much to the customers besides either amusement or confusion. These things have their place – it’s got some entertainment value, and it make wake a few people up to get them to notice their environment – but for all the work put into organizing, documenting and promoting, and the attention it receives, I wish they’d put their efforts into something which really effects social change. The Yes Men’s projects (on the WTO, and more recently, their fake New York Times) are much more interesting to me – there’s a social purpose behind them. Similarly, the architecture project is really cool, but it was a lot of work that will primarily benefit one (extremely) wealthy family.  

February 1, 2009

One Response to “[week 2] interventions and reverse-engineering”

  1. John Dimatos

    I found some value in the best buy improv piece. Specifically the notion that just because a person is wearing something that looks like a uniform that doesn’t mean they’re a person of authority. To generalize a bit, i think anything that forces people to consider how much corporate design is meant to take advantage of our reliance on heuristics, is a good thing.

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