Cultural Jammers are the History Writers of Our Time

Through the ages people have always found ways to express themselves, their views and their affiliations. Artist like Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Andy Warhol had left their marks behind for generations to some, some were controversial at their time, like Picasso’s Guernica painting or Warhol’s art. These figures can be described as Cultural Jammers, create with mirrors’ and are related to what Gramsci (1971: 417) called a ‘new way of conceiving the world’ and ‘modifying . . . popular thought and mummified popular culture’ (Baily, 2007).

However, many whom are considered Cultural Jammers today are forces [that] counter-hegemony as a strategy to challenge dominant forces and discourses in society (Baily, 2007), among these, the name of Ron English come to the surface as one of the most recognizable artists of current times who had made some powerful images on the street, in museums, movie, books and television. He had a very unique way of combining, what he describes as, high and low culture, his images meshes together modern superheroes to figures from far away history. One of his famous art works is Marilyn Monroe’s image he made. However, another important Jammers of our internet age are the Anynomous group, which is a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities which promote anonymous social engagement by direct action. It originated in 2003 on the image board 4chan [website], representing the concept of many online and offline community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic*1. hacktivism, another notion that has become commonplace in recent years to describe digital activism (Baily, 2007). The Anynomous group has been active in opposing behemoth corporations and government organization because of their practices against ordinary citizens. Such hacktivist work included hacking the U.S Federal Reserve. I think this is one of the most powerful movements of our time, its un-centrality and unclear chain of commands (which I doubt to exist) made it so wide spread worldwide.

These Jammers are contributing in shaping our societies that we live in. Their work can be felt and reach everyone today, especially with the Internet. So, no one can deny their impact and perhaps their work can get to be so profound that it can change the course of history.



Ron English Website

Baily, O. Cammaerts, B and Carpenier,N. (2008) Understanding Alternative Media. Berkshire: Open University Press

Brands also are using Alternative Media

When we talk about street marketing, we are talking about this marketing that is trying to copy the techniques of graffit, or any street art that we can imagine.
It happens because their target group probably are this kind of people that are following this Alternative Media, because of this, the normal media are not a correct channel to launch their publicity.
Banksy is one of the most famous graffiti drawers of the world, and always we can listen that he has a lot of offers to work with some famous brands, but of course he has declined all this offers, since in his opinion the alternative media is a way of expression of ideas, not a medium to sell nothing.
Also as we can imagine, advertising is always trying to find the most alternative way to reach us, and then they really can make  a surprise.
In my opinion, the street Marketing is a copy or an alliance  with the street art, with the objective to reach the people in a different way, and reach this people that are not following the mass media, using this technique is a way to try to find differentiation, and we can see clearly how this alternative media is so effective that the highest brands in the world are trying to imitate it.



Culture jamming

When we defined as culture jamming, “is a tactic used by many anti consumerit social movements to disrupt or subvert media culture and its mainstream  cultural institutions, including corporate advertising”. (wikipedia) Using on bilboards, posters and others . Their aim are avoke behavioral change and political action. An example of cultural jamming work use very known ads MCDONALDS . In there their aims peoples eating habbits. In example of cultural jamming works ‘ Buy nothing day’. In that they they are going to shops but they are not buy anything.  They want to create some awarnesses. Some critises of the cultural jammers ; confused with articstic appropation and act of vandalism . In Turkey we see it against to the politics. Like vote times and nowadays we faced with these against the AKP. Expecially Tayyip Erdoğan.


The first graffiti emerged in the late seventies in the United States, specifically in New York, in the Bronx, where the pioneers of this art began to transfer sketches of drawings, letters on the wall, adopting the common name for this form of artistic expression – graffiti. The first European graffiti were created in the early eighties on the Berlin wall. So the graffiti are first used as propaganda aimed at the reunification of the German people, what happened about ten years later, when the Berlin Wall fell, and with it the first European graffiti are destroyed. Shortly after Berlin, graffiti are appeared in Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and London. In the mid-eighties graffiti could be seen in every major city of Europe and the rest of the world.

Social meaning of graphite lies in the fact that they present an alternative media of communication that opposes means of mass communication. Young people use these activities and ways to interact because they are unable to communicate in socially acceptable ways, and they have a need to convey their attitude and values, even if it is done by writing and drawing on public land. This specific form of human expression allows individuals to learn about the social environment with its identity and values often deviate from the norms of the environment. In that way they want  to connect with like-minded people.

Graffiti is often associated with the political and social situation in the society, and as such serve as a parameter of social change. It is not unusual that in tense , even crisis situations, spontaneously react to the political, and social realities with graffiti. Graffiti can also serve as an important platform to raise public and disruption of other cultures. Authors graphite their visual work of art placed in public space and they see it as “intact format” to communicate with ordinary people, and about socially relevant topics. Thus aesthetically valuable messages sent in the form of simple written words, sometimes elaborate wall paintings. With their own work and language they are trying to encourage changes in the social and cultural spheres of society.


“Israel Loves Iran” Campaign

The conflict between Iran and Israel causes black clouds on Middle East region. All over the World, the tension between these two states, Iran and Israel, is wellknown. However, “Isreal-Loves-Iran” Movement in Facebook was a good example of people who are eager to create communication with eachother in this crisis environment.  Movement startted with Ronny Edry, citizen from Israel, postted a photo on Facebook holding his daughter and an Israeli flag saying “Iranians, we will never bomb your country, we love you ” on 12/03/2012. In few hours, many people from Israel shared the same message in their profiles with their own pictures.  In 24 hours Iranians startted to send same massages back : “Isrealians, we love you too”. This huge wave grew day by day and gave a kick off to the establishment of “Peace Factory”. The motto was simple but clear ” They advertise war. We will advertise peace.”


We can categorize the slogan of “Israel Loves Iran” as cultural and political jamming.  There is political aspect of this conlict issue as well as its social aspect. Just like with the more classic  ‘corporate’ cultural jams, civil society actors also increasingly use cultural jamming techniques in their political communication and politically orientted campaigns. (Bailey, Cammaerts & Carpentier,2008) In the beginning of the “Israel Loves Iran” Campaign, it was more relatted to social aspects of the issue. We can see this by looking at the projects they worked on. Projects like “Iranians in Tel Aviv”, “Peace-Product of the Year” , “Shana Tova/ Happy New Year”, “Send a Heart” and “Coffee with You”  are basicly focusing on increasing the social awareness in both societies by mentionning better communcation and creating peaceful communication environment between two communities. Project about the political aspect came afterwards. “Vote Peace” ,”Stop War”, “War! What War?”, “Not Ready to Die in Your War” and “M12-Peace Day” projects aim to show Isrealian’s reactions about the government’s policies.


The policies that both governments foster is not supportted by certain amount of people from both communities. This campaign helped them to show their dissents by jamming the so-called verity, Israel hates Iran and turned it to a slogan. It can be a good example to take attention of a lot of people and create a certain awareness. However, it can not be effecient unless there is a physical communication not just a virtual one. Until, they make new projects in order to build the physical interaction among the citizens of two states, the campaign will not go forwards.



Bailey, O. G., Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. (2008) Understanding Alternative Media. Berkshire: Open University Press



Artwork And Movements Behalf Of Alternative


I want to start with crucial points from article which is called ‘Art, Aesthetic, Radical Media and Communication’. In this article, the concent encircles about relations between art and media. In order to evaluate this relation, there are three movement are evaluated. These are called Dada movement, Surrealists, and Situationists. How these are shaped was that in terms of war,  political events  so through these movements, we come to term ‘art work’.  According to Walter Benjamin (1973)  ‘artworks which in the era of technical reproducibility.’ On the other hand, Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator who injected a series of new dimensions into theatrical performance during the 1920s. They worked in Germany. Also, their works reflected to films so undoubtedly, what I learn from this article is that yes there were some movements which were shaped by political conditions and reacted situations and then we get access to artworks and we see creative paintings which are meaningful for painters.

Now, I want to give knowledges about movements from different sources to have and idea. Dada movement was the first one and I think that which enfoulded shaping other movements.. Dada emerged in Germany in 1916 as a collaboration between artists of several nations including Germany, France, and Switzerland. Initially, it was conceived as an anti-war art movement, and much of the early work takes the form of protest art. The movement chose the name “Dada” by inserting a slip of paper into a French dictionary and choosing the word it landed on, which happens to mean a hobbyhorse or child’s toy. ( Also, I give one example of Dadaism. The link is here to see  ( In this picture, there were crucial people who were from different areas like politician, balet dancer, physicist, philosopher from different angles who were defragment in the same place so if I evaluate dada art, there won’t be any special rule which apply in paintings from dissimilar drawing. It isn’t react something although it emerged in war time so according to dada, we have chance to dissimilar paintings from painters’ point of view.

The other movement,after Dada, was Surrealism. The Surrealists movement was founded in Paris by a small group of writers and artists who sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination.( It is different than Dada movement because it uses Cubism, it engages with unconscious because they want to reflect unconscious thing to their paintings and especially they were inspired by Freud.

I want to give some examples about Surrealist picture. And then I evaluate their common points.

1-      (,

2-      (


so what common characteristic of this painting are they are shaped in terms of different things and they aren’t relevant to each other. They show to us out of familiar things and I think that they represent to think our world, things which we know from dissimilar angles. It isn’t service specific purpose but they work to budge on their paintings with their unconsciousness.

Last movement is called Situationists. They originated in a small band of avante-garde artists and intellectuals influenced by Dada, Surrealism and Lettrism.  The Situationists increasingly applied their critique not only in culture but to all aspects of capitalist society. ( so if I compare Situationists to other movements, it is quite reactionary and I think it is more realistic picture than others because it shows us that realities of the world which we live in in terms of economic frame.

As I think that relatedness of these movements behalf of alternativeness, it encircles with colours, drawings. It isn’t any written thing , defenders of these movements reflect their ideas, their opinions, their inner world to us whether we understand or not. Also, they show us to creativeness because it is subjective because it isn’t restricted in any way. Especially, for example Dadaism, it combines things or people in the same picture but some people don’t understand what its meaning or what it implies for us. On the other hand, Surrealism is so meaningless because it defragments components which are irrelevant with each other and represents to us utopic picture which won’t realize and won’t see in real world. Actually, it detachs us from real world but generally, according to these movements which were developed by painter and shaped in terms of specific issues and so  we see that how people use their own perpectives and use their reflections to their paintings about our social life so what they represent to us is alternative works behalf of dissimilar contents with paintings but at that time defenders of these movements reflect or react but today is it possible to say that they are free , they don’t encounter pressures?






Tactics of cultural resistance graffiti, jokes, street theatre, and culture jamming


Culture jamming, is the act of using existing media such as billboards, bus-ads, posters, and other ads to comment on those very media themselves or on society in general, using the original medium’s communication method. It is based on the idea that advertising is little more than propaganda for established interests, and that there is little escape from this propaganda in industrialized nations.

The most well known form of culture jamming may be the subvertising which can be defined as the creative anti-ads of making parodies of corporate and political advertisements in order to make an ironic statement. these images target a specific audience to whom they wanted to make an enlightenment and make them to think about their decisions. In other words subvertising means sabotaging advertising / political campaigns, the encroachment of multi-national corporations on everyday life, and attacking other high profile targets. It can be considered as a process to create some awareness. the images I have uploaded below can be thought as the political forms of culture jamming. As we can see from the examples subvertising aims to subvert the intended messages of the advertisements. these subvertisings can be completely a new created image or an alteration of an existing one. and it is often done in a satirical way.

ı can say that in Turkey these political subvertising are mostly executed by the left. we can hardly ever see the right in such activities. These type of subvertisings can only be seen in social media like websites, blogs, facebook or twitter. we cannot see them on billboards or on TV because government has the power to cover them up but it is hard to control all the social media. Nevertheless they even do that.

Murder King – Cultural Jamming

When we walk down the street, when we drive a car, or take a bus trip, we may be thinking that that is all there it is – us, the other people and the town (streets, road, building etc). However, there is always much more that comprises our reality, and those are the symbols, the signs which prey on us from all directions. We think we may understand them or take them as a basic messages:” Oh another McDonald’s add,” or an advertisement of a beautiful girl posing for a famous clothing or shoe brand or a picture of a well-known smiling politician surrounded with slogans that are packed with positive sayings.

That’s why the term ‘cultural jamming” came up front, meaning; “a new way of conceiving the world’ and ‘ modifiying ..popular thought and mummified popular culture.’ (Gramsci, 1971 :417). Cultural jamming carries the influence of its predecessor art movements, such as Situationists and detourement.

The most well-known type of culture jamming is subvertising. Subvertisements are creative ads targeted at various suspicious ads which advertise one thing but the truth behind the thing advertising may be different or capitalistic societies and globally well-known slogans of gigantic corporations. These slogans are ironically or satirically modified. The aim here is to get specific messages to the consumers (us) to think twice or at least get us thinking about the things we buy and consume. Also to rethink the slogans and our opinion and awareness of major global corporations that are advertising themselves just about everywhere they can.

We separate three types of cultural jamming, political, social signs and signs of our time (Internet as an alternative medium of distribution for jams). Political jams are directed against government policies or formal political actors, such as political parties; against undesirable behavior in society; or even at times against minorities in society (Bailey, O., Understanding alternative media; 140).

Political Jam: The example below borrowed from the, with the title The economists must learn to substract, shows such a anti-government and anti – economical advert. In this clip the advertisers shows the cruel opposites between the economy and the growing GDP and its effect in real life:” Every time the tree is cut the GDP goes up, every time the oil spill happens the GDP goes up, every time the cancer patient is diagnose, GDP goes up – is that how we measure our economical progress?”


Social / Cultural Jams: jams target the society, adverts, videos, films, street art etc. to show the satire, irony to get us to rethink the symbols we are used to seeing each day, so our reality of the world. Examples below target various global multi-national corporation companies’ slogans and our unstoppable desire for shopping and our obsession with it.

Finally we can talk about the The Internet as an alternative medium of distribution for jams: in a modern times Internet became indispensable for an average consumer in a developed countries, therefore Internet is important for distribution of jams and it spreads them like a virus from one community to the other.

Examples of subvertising are shown below:

In this ad a world famous golfs tiger Woods has his smile shaped into a Nike tick symbol. Suggesting maybe that big globalization firms are using famous sports people who sell themselves for the propaganda and waste money earnings.  

Very popular Burger King becomes a Murder King, questioning the substance and the quality of food  or maybe questioning the ingredients they are selling to their customers and the effect of these on their health. Can be even the cause of deadly illnesses such as cancer.

Four global multi corporation companies are satirically portrayed as an ideas driven by the capitalism.

Globaly famous Coca Cola ad, is suggesting to enjoy the capitalism that goes with it. In a sense spreading a drink is spreading a certain monopole system, ideology, economic and political view of a limited few.

Satirical advert is presenting so called “shopping human evolution”, where the straight standing consumer throw himself into a shopping spring, and ending up bend, physically smaller because of the burden of the all packages from the shopping he did. It’s the reverse biological evolution of the human species proposed by Charles Darwin in 19 c. Maybe it’s trying to show how in a way we are regression as oppose to progressing in human evolution.    


Comments below the subvertizing ads are my own interpretations of the way I see and understand these rather unique ads. Naturally, different interpretations are possible as well, I believe the aim here is to get an individual thinking and starts seeing an average images we are used to seeing on a daily basis as extraordinary, and questions it’s use.

What do you think about it? How would you interpret the ads, is there anything else you think that needs to be said here? All of you are welcome to participate…



Bailey, O. G., Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. (2008) Understanding Alternative Media.

Berkshire: Open University Press – chapter 10






Artistic Way of Communication: Advertisement

Some argue that advertising is a type of art. On the other hand, there are many people state that, advertising should be considered as a scientific way of persuasion. However, in my opinion, advertising is a combination of both artistic and scientific components which are combined to persuade people or give information. Furthermore, I see advertisements as a type of alternative media. The reason for this, people can be informed about events by advertisements. Especially those events, which cannot find place for themselves in mainstream channels, for being contradictory to interests of media owners or stakeholders of different companies. In other words, in advertisments there are not only images that aim to persuade people to consume a particular product.

Images can be used to persuade you to stop obeying the status quo, to change your mind for a specific attitude or just make you act for a change. It is easy to draw attention and impress people for advertisements since they are artistic and shocking. Therefore, advertisement is a very effective way of communication to change an attitude, inform people or give information. Below there are some examples for my statements.


The medium is the message

According to technological determinism;society is shaped by the technology and “technology is seen as the fundamental condition underlying the pattern of social organization”
Marshall Mcluhan, who is a communication theorist, is also a technological determinist and he said that “we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.” He come up with a discourse which name is “the medium is the message” about the media.  According to him media always works on our body and brain. And two of them (our body and brain) are shaping and changing by the media. The concept of the Mcluhan’s media is very different and wide from the other type of medias. Any kind of technology such as garment to the computer, wheel-to furniture, which improves the human emotions and body ability, covers the meaning of the media according to him.

He explains his discourse in his book which name is “the medium is the massage” These following sentences are some part of his book.
” all media are extensions of some human faculty- psychic or physical;
the wheel is an extension of the foot
the book is an extension of the eye
clothing, an extension of the skin…
electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system.
media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions. the extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act- the way we perceive the world. when these ratios change, men change.”

And this video is about his discourse

The medium is the message-extensions