Picture this: Barcelona, Catalonia Square, at about 1pm of a Friday. A small and silent crowd of customers enters the lobby of Deutsche Bank, one of the big banks that most actively supports non renewable energies all over the world. The crowd is silent and sad, someone even starts to weep and sob. Doors open again, a white-suited preacher with bleached hair enters while a woman, a mother approaches and the crowd opens up to let her in....
Reverend Billy Project's Fear of Banking Tour
"Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping creates rituals at and inside big banks, which interrupt the theater of such places. While financing much of C02 emissions in the world, the banks maintain an overwhelming theatrical presence in their saturation of bank branches. The vibe is quiet, solid, well-appointed, full of slogans... The banks force the impression that they cannot be changed. They are the commons now and they are unmoving.
The Exorcism of the B of A cash machines; building mountain sculptures out of Appalachian soil under the sky-blue swastika in the bank lobbies of Chase, then handing out info about mountaintop removal; singing the "Big Banking" song in the UBS lobby... We create rituals, frames which people can walk into. The results are an invasion of gesture. Such activity is called "Culture Jamming" or "Pranksterism." Such words are created for the sake of convenience.
We believe that the impact of this work is carried home in the bodies of the activists. It is true that a banker might be moved to investigate the financing practices of their institution. Passersby may get swept up into this fun, comedy, spirituality - an unlikely and enticing combination of expression. The greatest impact that we've seen in our preparation and delivery of songs, prayers, dances - inside a place dedicated to the emptiness of the consumer. Fullness hitting emptiness. It's like a forest overtaking a Walmart parking lot."