Coined in 1984, Culture Jamming or Guerrilla Semiotics in the term used by anti-consumerists to explain their actions when subverting corporate advertising and cultural institutions. Culture Jammers employ some low cost and low grade tactics to subvert and comment, by re-figuring logos, making fashion statements, “vandalising” or “adapting” bill boards as a means to challenge ideas of “popularity” or “trend”. In fact the very nature of Culture Jamming can take on many forms, the message in which it promotes is what is fundamental to its very purpose. These actions or ‘Jamming’ consists of flipping mass media on it head and reflecting its ‘influence’ in an ironic or satirical commentary, which in its nature opposes political or advertising messages and subverts or critiques them.
”Brand Baby” is a spoof ad made by Adbusters in 2004.
A watered down or ‘lite’ version of Culture Jamming “Reclaim The Streets” was originally formed by Earth First! in Brixton, London, in 1991. This movement was created in response to many “anti-road” protest camps in places in and around London, the concept of “street reclaiming” soon became very popular in the UK. The first actions were anti-car and pro-alternative transport statements but, over the years the many folowers took the idea back to a basic mode of transport, such as walking or cycling instead of using, public transport supplied by the capitalist system.
While most culture jamming focuses on negating the status quo, some ‘Jammers’ prefer to unite artistes and designers in a more positive approach, by using music, public displays, fund raising and charity events.