This is my end of the year silly side project. Originally posted on the FFFFF.at site.
A friend emailed me the portrait of Georges Emile Lebacq pictured below and I, like many people I know, were struck by the similarity. Somehow we started looking for other paintings to match our modern day friends. (I have done this before with finding stock photography doppelgangers of friends, but no one liked it.)
This is a play on a Ze Frank project called Young Me Now Me where people recreated pictures of themselves when they were younger.
JHEJR: What was the first prank you ever pulled off?
SL: In 8th grade, I realized that if I ran for class president, I got to give a speech in front of the whole school, and they had to listen to me. I ran really just so I could have a couple minutes to talk to the whole school with a microphone.
December 10, 2008
Carpenter Center, 3rd Floor
BYO fosters discussion and debate about pressing issues in contemporary culture across Harvard and Boston area communities by bringing to campus emerging figures in contemporary art for informal evening conversations.
HOW TO WIN:
With Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert
BYO: Voices of the Contemporary at the Carpenter Center is pleased to host a discussion with artist Steve Lambert and theorist/critic Stephen Duncombe about their work-in-progress, “How to Win,” which is part of their ongoing interrogation of the terms and conditions of activism, efficacy, and social and political change in contemporary art. Consisting of interviews with approximately 40 mid-career artists in both the visual and performing arts, this project is currently assembled into a dynamic website, and will result in a book that will explore how contemporary artists conceptualize their work’s success—its efficacy in bringing about real-world change through artistic practices. Is art effective in bringing about change? How is it most effective? What constitutes efficacy? And how does one know if the art has or has not been effective?
Stephen Duncombe is an Associate Professor at New York University where he teaches the history and politics of media and culture. He is the author of “Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy” and “Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture,” as well the editor of the “Cultural Resistance Reader.” Duncombe also writes widely on culture and politics for a number of scholarly and popular publications, from the cerebral Nation to the more prurient Playboy. He is a lifelong political activist, a co-founder of the community activist group The Lower East Side Collective, and a key organizer for the New York City chapter of the international direct-action group Reclaim the Streets. He is currently working on three projects: 1) a book on propaganda and persuasion during the New Deal, 2) an anthology on punk rock and the politics of race and 3) an ongoing exploration of the efficacy of political art (with Steve Lambert). He lives in New York City.
Steve Lambert currently made international news for his role in the hoax New York Times “Special Edition.” A Senior Fellow at Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York, Lambert teaches at Parsons/The New School and Hunter College. Despite never graduating from high school, Steve went on to study sociology and film before receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 and a Master of Fine Arts degree at UC Davis in 2006. He founded the Budget Gallery, an outdoor guerilla art gallery, in 1999 and the Anti-Advertising Agency in 2004 and has collaborated with numerous artists including the Graffiti Research Lab, and the Yes Men. Steve’s projects and art works have won awards from Rhizome/The New Museum, Turbulence, the Creative Work Fund, Adbusters Media Foundation, the California Arts Council, and others. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, and was recently collected by the Library of Congress. Lambert has personally appeared on NPR, the BBC, and CNN, and been reported on in multiple outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, Punk Planet, and Newsweek.
A celebration/collaboration with Steve Lambert, Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men, along with 30 writers, 50 advisors, around 1000 volunteer distributors, CODEPINK, May First/People Link, Evil Twin, Improv Everywhere and Not An Alternative.
On November twelfth, 2008, over 80,000 copies of a replica of the New York Times were distributed in several cities around the United States. The paper included 14 pages of “best case scenario” news set nine months in the future.
Activists often take the the role of critics. We march in response to current events carrying signs that say “NO ______!” “DON’T ____!” and “STOP _____!” It’s inherently reactive, negative, and critical instead of constructive and visionary. And it’s done over and over again.
After the 2008 election of Barack Obama much of the United States population was excited about the future for the first time in years. With the Special Edition, we wanted to find a way to celebrate what we wanted, rather than criticize what we didn’t. We wanted to create our own vision instead of responding to others.
One week after the election a newspaper hit the streets with the surprising headline: “IRAQ WAR ENDS”
Over 80,000 copies of this “Special Edition” of the New York Times were placed directly in commuters hands, free of charge, in several cities around the United States. The paper closely matched the design, look, and feel of Times in every way but for a few small details. For example:
it was distributed in November 2008, but dated July 4, 2009
instead of the motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print” it read “All the News We Hope to Print”
it was free
Inside were 14 pages of “best case scenario” news that describing the world as it could be eight months in the future.
The paper included World, National, Business, and Local sections with hypothetical headlines like “Maximum Wage Law Passes Congress,” “USA Patriot Act repealed,” and “All Public Universities To Be Free.” Each story provided a fictional history of how such a thing could happen on such a timeline through grass-roots pressure using real-world details. A replica of the New York Times website mirrored the stories online and was visited by over 300,000 people in the first two days.
Because The Special Edition was a tangible newspaper it transported people to a parallel world. For a few moments, in the minds of the readers, our hopes and dreams became real news. The goal was to take readers there for fifteen seconds. For fifteen seconds people could feel what it was like to live without two ongoing wars, and some of their dreams to have become reality. For fifteen seconds, after 7 years of ongoing war, to be reminded of what it was like to have peace.
After 15 seconds there were enough clues that people could figure out what was going on. The goal of the organizers was not to have anyone feel “tricked” or the butt of a joke, but to be welcomed in to an inside joke that could be shared with friends. The reaction on the street was overwhelmingly positive.
The project brought together dozens of activists in a collaborative vision of what could be possible (or just on the edge of possible) in a world where we’ve won every battle. More than an incredible, highly coordinated stunt, it was an utopian vision written in a familiar language that involved thousands of volunteers and reached around the world. It ruptured the present and vividly revealed a better world.
Bomb Magazine – Steve Lambert interviews Andy Bichlbaum about their participation in the project
(There’s lots more media attached to this which I plan on adding someday.)
Creative and Logistical Collaborators
DANIEL S DUNNAM
Logistical and Creative Collaborators
FRANCES FOX PIVEN
THE ANTI-ADVERTISING AGENCY
MAY FIRST/PEOPLE LINK
EVIL TWIN BOOKING
NOT AN ALTERNATIVE
UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
CULTURES OF RESISTANCE
Server Survival Team
Video News Release Team
And many others
And many others
This project was also worked under the following names: the Fake New York Times, Spoof New York Times, The New York Times Hoax, Iraq War Ends, Because We Want It, The End of the War of the Worlds, The Massive Power Shifting Exercise, The Good News, etc.
A copy of the The New York Times Special Edition can be borrowed for exhibitions from: