That ambiguous fascination

Introduction to The Influencers 2005

The Influencers presents practices that cross over and beyond traditional definitions of art, computer engineering, design, performance and entertainment.

The festival is part of a research project that began in Bologna, Italy, in 2000 under the name Digital is not analog™ and has gradually focused on exploring controversial strategies for radical intervention in mass communication. They may make use of revolutionary technological tools such as the internet or p2p networks, act by breaking into popular culture (mainstream media, pop music, advertising), or twist marketing strategies and show no mercy in taking over the imagery of the most out-of-control consumerism.

The artists participating in The Influencers 2005 choose the ingredients for their recipes from worlds as diverse as history of art, political discourse, shameless marketing tecniques, communication technologies, even videogames or theater. The result is the direct disruption of everyday flows of information, meanings and emotions, not just in the mass media but also in the culture of consumption and entertainment. That is, in all areas and production systems that are involved in creating collective images and desires, defining social priorities, and spreading or manipulating shared feelings.

The Influencers often take advantage of favorable situations for their actions and for a moment, without asking permission, they take over the codes used in art, politics or business. It's not about new forms of counterinformation, or art or technology with political content. These projects are just a seductive and often surrealistic reaffirmation of ideas that are already in everybody's minds. But be warned: if you are only concerned with content you may be disappointed, because their skill involves devising a frame that is almost invisible, almost, within mass culture.

The Influencers play with your attention, provoke curiosity and appear ambiguously seductive. But by using strategies like cultural remix, camouflage and overidentification they are really generating a new kind of entertainment, politically incorrect and radical in its aims. They reappropriate cynicism and wrap it up in new contexts and mottoes. They take it to extremes, blow it up, and, finally, throw it back to the public.