Photoshop Assignment #3 Culture Jamming

Learning Goal

Examine culture jamming artwork and create your own, using creative commons photos and Photoshop.

I got this idea from Mr. Arnett at St. Mary’s High School.

What is culture jamming?

According to Naomi Klein, taken from her book, No Logo, culture jamming is

the practice of parodying advertisements and hijacking billboards in order to drastically alter their messages.  Streets are public spaces, adbusters argue, and since most residents can’t afford to counter corporate messages by purchasing their own ads, they should have the right to talk back to images they never asked to see.

One of the more respected and founders of culture jamming is Rodriguez de Gerada.

Rodriguez was in a New York Art Group called Artfux.  They had specific targets when it came to culture jamming which he mentions on his website,

We decided to focus on the disproportionately high amount of damaging products (get drunk quick beverages and menthol cigarette brands) being advertised in poor and minority areas in the Tri State area. The billboard alterations from this time are among my favorites because there was a very clear goal and plan of action. We would illegally alter or replace a tobacco or alcohol ad with a new statement and image that spoke about the negative effects of these products. We would then send out press releases with photos of our exploits. We received a massive amount of attention.

The Billboard Liberation Front from San Francisco has been altering billboards since 1977.

Here are some of their more recent efforts:

This is the before image:

This is the after image:

Adbusters has probably been the poster organization when it comes to culture jamming.  They are based out of Vancouver and have an international circulation of over 120,000 for their magazine (Wikipedia).  They have been  behind the “Buy Nothing Day” campaign and helped promote “TV Turnoff Week”.  They are well known for their spoof ads which target large multinational corporations such as McDonald’s and Nike.  Click here to see some of their popular spoof ads.

Culture-jamming has become quite popular and American Labor rights activist explains why in Klein’s No Logo,

There are certain corporations which market themselves so aggressively, which are so intent on stamping their image on everybody and every street, that they build up a reservoir of resentment among thinking people.  People resent the destruction of culture and its replacement with these mass-produced corporate logos and slogans.  It represents a kind of cultural fascism.

Sao Paulo in Brazil decided to ban billboards years ago.
What does it look like now?
[Link to Flickr images of Sao Paulo458577560_9ccbd6b9bb_z.jpg]

What are your thoughts on culture-jamming?  Is it really effective?  Are corporations harmed by these jams?  Is it fair to target large corporations?  Does culture jamming do the opposite and actually benefit these corporations?  Is Adbusters too mainstream and expensive to be really considered a culture jamming entity?  Click here to read some criticisms of adbusters from Wikipedia.

Photoshop Assignment

Part 1
Critique of a culture jamming ad.
Find a culture jamming ad online, adbusters is a good place to start.  I also have some magazines at the front of the room from back issues of adbusters that I took out from the school library.  Go into your Google Classroom to work on the Critique.

[Link to Rubric]

Part 2

Create your 1 advertisement culture jam using Adobe Photoshop.  It must be 8 inches by 10 inches, with a resolution of 72.

Success Criteria
– must be a parody of a specific organization advertisement (have the URL or magazine date referenced on your blog)
– if using photos that are not yours, make sure you share the link where you got it from, and the name of the photographer
Photoshop skills need to be used well
– parody must be easy to understand and communicated well

[Link to Culture Jam Photoshop Rubric]



One thought on “Photoshop Assignment #3 Culture Jamming

  1. Pingback: Whale Vomit | Under the sea?

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