SUBversionen, a conference in Germany is questioning subversive strategies. The avant-garde of artists, activists and the tactical use of media are often alleged being subversive.
I teamed with Hans Bernhard from Ubermorgen.com. whose self-acclaimed media hacking is often described as being subversive. But is the subversion of the toywar, vote-auction.com or Google Will Eat Itself overturning socio-political circumstances or are they test configurations which are exploited by the establishment efficiently.
The problem with subversion is firstly, that it is often attribution in retrospective to artistic works. Secondly, subversion is associated with coolness, resistance and opposition to the status quo. A canon of signs developed that is shaping a picture of what is perceived as subversively. Obviously these signs are easy to incorporate into advertisement and popular culture.
Thirdly, the perception of subversion is distracting the focus from those who are efficiently using subversive strategies, such as public relation companies, advertisement, politicians, etc.
In our presentation we argue that strategies artists and activists use are often implemented into the methods of communication in the field of public relation, advertisement and politics. That way subversion is actually stabilizing the system.