Centre for Material Digital Culture

Making Meaningful Mischief

Can pranks, mischief, and creativity change the course of history? 

On Thursday 25th May 2017 Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men came to Sussex to deliver a lively talk that began with a brief history of tricksters and progress, and ended with autobiographical lessons they've learned in over 20 years of comic creative direct action. 

The Yes Men are culture jamming activists who pull off hilarious media hoaxes to expose fascist and corporate crimes. By impersonating corporations and government agencies at business events, on the news and in the streets, they use their temporary authority to expose problematic issues in society. 

They knocked billions of dollars off Dow Chemical’s stock value. They reversed the US Chamber of Commerce’s position on climate change. They are the subject of three feature documentaries, most recently The Yes Men Are Revolting. By injecting humor into drop-dead serious subjects, they provoke laughter and debate from audiences.

The three documentaries about them have won numerous awards and been shown at the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennale and ARS Electronica, among others.

Their workshops explain how to attract media attention for low-budget or no-budget activist campaigns. Attendees should come prepared to brainstorm ideas for their own actions.

 Their live presentation includes unreleased behind the scenes video clips from their actions and shared secrets about what worked, what didn’t, and how their successes and failures are inspiring the Yes Men in their actions going forward.