On 6 May 2014, a joint opening event will launch re:publica and the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin at the STATION-Berlin. For our keynote, we’ve invited a team that usually howls at official invitations and, instead, has become internationally renowned for their unsolicited appearances: The Yes Men!
They are regarded as the grandmasters of unpredictability and strategically pushing and crossing boundaries. Their goal: political activism to save the planet. Their strategy: identity theft and disinformation. For more than a decade, Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum – better known as the Yes Men – have been professionally going INTO THE WILD and kept the world’s great and the powerful in their crosshairs.
Their protest is aimed at profit greed and reckless market capitalism.
Their direct actions are defined by their use of false identities, appearing to be “official representatives” in the role of company spokespeople or government representatives and hijacking conferences, news and television studios. What follows are calculated PR disasters, such as in 2006 when they took on the role of an official spokesperson of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and presented an initiative for a modern slavery programme in African countries.
Headlines were also made when they impersonated Exxon representatives at an oil industry conference and presented “Vivoleum” – a new fossil fuel production method based on processing the corpses of climate change victims.
Ok, so Yes Men performances can be macabre. But they are intended to poke at open wounds and make headlines through grotesque exaggeration. Their impersonations are design to expose all those whose public perception and integrity is measured simply by the tailoring of their suits.
The Yes Men are hackers of public perception, dramatic comedians flying in under the radar and influencing the world’s future.
INTO THE WILD was also conceived as a move towards unpredictability, making the opening keynote by the Yes Men a perfect accompaniment.
And perhaps not. Playing ball is definitely not part of the Yes Men principle. But one thing is clear: Don’t miss it!
Photo: The Yes Men