Would you eat a snow cone made from the last iceberg on earth? The creative group “The Yes Men” offered treats made from what they said was the last iceberg on earth to ongoing pedestrians as a public relations stunt. The Yes Men pretended they were working for Shell Oil Company in order to draw attention to climate change issues. This example is just one of their many activist efforts to bring attention to current big impact issues in the world while putting their own irreverent twist on it.
Each year, the Visual Arts Forum welcomes illustrious guest artists to campus. This year, the student organization voted to bring Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men.
The Yes Men are an activist group known for satirical interventions at business events, in the streets and in the media. They have discovered that important issues can be presented to mainstream audiences by putting humor into their work. They work on having low-budget, work-intensive presentations to reach major outlets. They report on under-reported current issues such as such as the Bhopal chemical plant disaster, the climate position of the Chamber of Commerce, and the availability of low-income housing in post-Katrina New Orleans.
The Yes Men will be hosting a Yes Lab workshop that will take place on September 26-27. It will consist of a brief history of creative activism, a presentation about the Yes Men, and breakout sessions involving brainstorming and putting activism to action on issues that ECU students are interested in. Students can learn how to use media to shine a light on social and political issues, writing, shooting, editing, testing out, and disseminating video news releases. They will help students develop skills with speaking to the press, like devising talking points. Students can also learn how to look at issues from multiple perspectives, engaging in that issue from a personal view and engaging in research.
The Yes Men will bring a new learning objective to the students who chose to attend the Yes Lab. Students will be able to learn these skills and incorporate them into their own work to shine a light on issues that they are passionate about.
-Madeline Airey, Candidate for the B.S. in Communication