Steve Lambert

is staying inside.

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Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 – YouTube Comments

As much as I like YouTube, more than any other site the commenters on YouTube can be surprisingly, well, horrible. In my research I found this was true even on videos of the highest-of-high culture. Operas and symphonies had the same hostile, petty, and juvenile comments as nearly any other video on the site.

The commentary track I made for this video is literally the commentary from the original Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 video, read aloud by actors.

Created for the Artists’ Space WebCast for January 2009. Thanks to Joseph Del Pesco, Emily Gallagher, Scott Vermeire, Jeff Crouse, and Christina Kral.

About Artists’ Space YouTube Commentary Project

Like ‘special features’ commentary on a commercial dvd, The YouTube Commentary Project involves injecting ideas, critique and comments recorded by artists about a YouTube video of their choice. After overlaying the recorded audio onto the video, we upload the results back onto YouTube and present it here. It’s part of Artists Space’s new WebCast: internet and computer based cultural content co-produced with artists around the world.

“But Does it Work?” discussion at Elizabeth Foundation

But Does it Work?
Art, Activism and the Interventionist’s Gesture

Tuesday, February 24, 6:30 pm
A Conversation between Joseph DeLappe, Stephen Duncombe, and Steve Lambert

Artists/activists Joseph DeLappe and Steve Lambert join writer/activist/media scholar Stephen Duncombe to discuss what happens when artists interfere with existing structures of media in order to manipulate and use them as vehicles for political and social commentary. How do these forms of intervention compare to straight-forward art activism, and what are these artists hoping to achieve? How does one even measure success when utopia is the goal? The talk will focus on the artists’ works “dead-in-iraq”, “” and the recent faux New York Times “Special Edition” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

EFA Project Space presents this event in conjunction with the exhibition Post Memory: A Collection of Makeshift Monuments, on view February 21- March 28.

Ronald’s Crisis

On September 15, 2007 Ronald McDonald, who had fallen in love with the food of New York and become frustrated with the corporate agenda of McDonald’s, stepped into action closing every McDonald’s store in Manhattan. The closure, while temporary, affected all stores and was accomplished using simple signs and tape.

Later that day, L.M. Bogad (of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army and author) appeared as Ronald McDonald giving a press conference. Also involved was writer/performer Kevin Crook as a McDonald’s corporate representative who somehow showed me up as a straight man. See the video:

download quicktime file or YouTube, or Vimeo

Photos: Ronald’s Crisis on flickr.
Script: download draft script as a text file.

Video With Commentary


  • One participant was chased down the street by a McDonalds manager.
  • Toward the end of the day it seemed managers had been tipped off and were waiting for the signs.
  • Writing about the project from Sarah Nelson Wright.


Ronald’s Crisis was a direct collaboration with L.M. Bogad and Kevin Crook as co-writers and performers. The project involved the contributions of nearly 30 people, especially Jeff Crouse, and Brian Smeets. The kernel of the idea was developed at Eyebeam in discussions with Julia Schwadron, Mouna Andraos, and James Powderly among others.

UPDATE: Ronald’s Crisis was used as a template for the recent Rainforest Action Network protest in their campaign against Bank of America. See the slideshow here.

OpenLab Conflux