THE INFLUENCERS: Radical Art and Entertainment

February 7, 2012

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Jill Magid, I Can Burn Your Face 2008 © Jill Magid, Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert, New York/Paris.
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Jill Magid, I Can Burn Your Face 2008 © Jill Magid, Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert, New York/Paris.

“For me art is successful when you can get your friends and the curators at the MoMA all laughing at the same joke.” Evan Roth, co-founder of the free culture and software network F.A.T. Lab, describes with this sentence his practice as an artist and activist. This 34-year-old American is one of the participants in the latest edition of the funniest and most dangerous festival in the art world. For those who still don’t know it (and this is its 8th edition), The Influencers is “a festival of non conventional art, communication guerrilla and radical entertainment” which takes place this weekend in that concrete giant called Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB).

This year’s participants will be, in addition to Roth, the disturbing and fascinating Jill Magid, Voina –the most wanted art collective of Russia–, Constant Dullaart, Biotic Baking Brigade and the long-awaited Reverend Billy & The Church of Earthalujah, who will show his film What would Jesus Buy? The French photograffeur JR has organised one of his collaborative Inside Out to paste the streets of Barcelona with pictures of giant faces of anonymous heroes and heroines. Why? As JR himself says: because "art doesn't change the world but it can create an analogy. Art can change the way we see the world. And this for me is already changing things."

In the festival’s website we can access the conferences from previous editions, among which we find videos by the hilarious Improv Everywhere, The Yes Men or Superbarrio. The Influencers encourages us to abandon the certainties that we have learned and to change our serious and affected intellectual looks for a happier and sharper face. Because critiques are not incompatible with roaring with laughter.

The perfect festival for those dark moments when you are tormented by the idea that art has become something boring and soporific.

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