Fighting corporate propaganda with guerrilla art warfare

by Nadim Fetaih on January 24, 2012

Post image for Fighting corporate propaganda with guerrilla art warfare

Throughout history, art has been the heart and blood of society. Let’s reclaim it to break the illusion of the consumerist prison within which we find ourselves.

By Nadim Fetaih

It is time. Throughout history, art has been the heart and blood of society. In recent years, artists have had to sell their talents in order to feed themselves. When before, art could inspire emotion, movements, and even revolution – now, most art is used to subdue and brainwash the masses.

Art has been connected to intellectual movements of the past (e.g. surrealism mirroring the growth of questioning the power of the mind). It has been used as a means to show beauty in the most benign (e.g. Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings). Since the rise of the Soviet Union, though, there has been a growth in the manipulation of inspiration – a bastard child of art was formed: propaganda.

After this, thousands of years of artistic technique and gained knowledge of artistic “rules” have been turned against the very people art always sided with. Whether it is the films and music used as propaganda to help enforce Hitler’s ideals, to advertisements used to continue the cycle of consumption in the capitalist world, propaganda has manipulated the thoughts and actions of people while at the same time stiffening artistic integrity and creativity.

This is the front line of the war for freedom. This is where the corporate powers have their hold upon the masses. Their ads, movies, music – all meant to ensure the stability of the “American Dream”. Its message is clear: Consume. Consume. Consume. And all those who stand in the way of consumption and economic control will be seen as a terrorist of the state, needed to be fought by the “heroes” of capitalism.

It is time. It is time to fight fire with fire. A new revolutionary tactic is born: Guerrilla Art Warfare. Inspired by decades of beautiful guerrilla art. Inspired by Banksy and all the filmmakers in the world who refuse to abide by film laws.

Let us bring art back into the hands of the people. To the artists around the world, I beg you: take charge, spread emotion in an increasingly cold and grey world. Teach citizens to feel again. Spread your message. Fight propaganda — not with your own, but with true art that speaks to the average person.

Inspire the masses. Take down ads, replace them with universal truths; corporations are NOT people; ads are taking over our schools, our public space, our free-time, our clothes, even our news; consuming traps us in a prison with invisible bars.

Attached is a video of a small group of people who have decided to bring a message to the masses in a way that only they could. What is your message? How will your art portray it? Choose your weapon, be it paint brush, camera, charcoal, tools, a pen, pencil or a spray paint canister.

Nadim is a Canadian-Egyptian filmmaker. His first documentary, A Tale of Two Revolutions, is scheduled to be released this year.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali January 24, 2012 at 03:41

Good read, thanks for the article and video post. Although I would disagree that propaganda was “born” with the rise of the Soviet Union. Propaganda goes as far back as reliable recorded evidence exists.

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Gregorious January 24, 2012 at 10:01

While I agree with the sentiment, I do object to the historic cherry picking. Art has been used to influence people prior to the rise of capitalism. In fact, while some “art” today is used for the purposes of propoganda, there have been periods in history prior, where all art has been purposed and indeed controlled, solely for the influence of the general populace, specifically for instilling the fear of religious “truths”.
Is there a difference between those historic applications of religious propaganda, and todays application of some art as capitalist propaganda?
Fear, control, power?
The same sentiment is expressed, damnation is upon us from without and from the unfaithful amongst us.

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Phill Evans January 24, 2012 at 10:47

Enjoyable article! I wrote my dissertation on subverting the modalities of terrorism in presenting public art and I feel very strongly that art has a powerful place in the shaping of ideas and combating of stateist domination of the individual. I think that it is still true that a picture can still speak more, and faster, than a thousand words and that picture makers, artists, have a duty to speak to and for the individual.

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Phill Evans January 24, 2012 at 10:47

Sorry the link to my dissertation (if anyone is interested) is:
https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=134463081171

Phill

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me January 24, 2012 at 11:36

I wanted to state the same as Ali.

Not the Soviet Union was the start of using art for propaganda, but in the rising Soviet Union artists made exactly the same, what you are claiming in your blog:

They used their power and creativity to go to touch the avarage people’s heart to help to build a more human society.

Since there is ownership and money in the world, artists were always used for the benefit and propaganda of the few. I don’t think that, back in the history since slavery, feudalism or even at the first half of the 20th century, any farmer or worker ever has only seen any painting of Da Vinci or van Gogh, or ever has heard the music of Bach or Handel… this was the privileg of the few, who could afford it….

The Soviet Union was the first country in the world, what made the arts open for all by making it affordable for all to get to know and to enjoy it!

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Calum January 24, 2012 at 11:46

Nah. While misinformation is as old as communication, true propaganda was invented by Edward Bernays as an effective tool – it’s a child of democracy. The intent is to manipulate public opinion so that universal suffrage does not automatically undermine the elite/the socio-economic foundation (capitalism). Massage of public opinion only becomes necessary when mass action is a threat, otherwise more traditional forms of repression are more effective. Check out Adam Curtis’ ‘Century of the Self’ (on bittorrent, please seed!). Try OneBigTorrent.org. Nice article! And fantastic magazine, cheers folks.

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Durandus January 24, 2012 at 15:55

After a decade of careful study and writing I produced this little piece of “art,” in literary style, depicting the corruption of our age as contrasted with humane values…a kind of epic, poetic drama of 70 pages, available on Amazon in EU and American markets…I offer it for a little as Amazon allowed as THEY have their profit benchmark…I do not. See:

“The Odyssey of Heart” vol 1: “Birth of the Sojourner.” 11-11-11

May the best of our hoped-for future prevail!

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Charlie Supertramp February 4, 2012 at 06:49

True. Spread the word and go to the streets.
We have to regain the public spaces and our own minds, emotions and identities.

http://charliesupertramp.wordpress.com/

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