The Yes Men are a group who use any means necessary to agree their way into the fortified compounds of commerce, and then smuggle out the stories of their undercover escapades to provide a public glimpse at the behind-the-scenes world of big business. The stories are often both shocking and hilarious. They have been called “the Jonathan Swift of the Jackass generation” by author Naomi Klein. The Yes Men have impersonated World Trade Organization, Dow Chemical Corporation, and Bush administration spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world. They do this (a) in order to demonstrate some of the mechanisms that keep bad people and ideas in power, and (b) because it’s absurdly fun. Their main goal is to focus attention on the dangers of economic policies that place the rights of capital before the needs of people and the environment.
Ricardo Dominguez is an artist and associate professor of visual arts at UC San Diego. He has been the subject of controversy over a number of acts of electronic civil disobedience on his own and with the Electronic Disturbance Theater, which he co-founded with Brett Stalbuam, Stefan Wray, and Carmin Karasic.
Electronic Disturbance Theater, has organized “virtual sit-ins” that attempted to disturb websites with a program called FloodNet that automatically requests the target page over and over. These events sometimes incorporated a search term, such that the search would return a phrase like “Transparency not found” in the University of California, Office of the President website, or “human rights not found” at the website of Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. On one occasion, the US Department of Defense diverted a planned attack to a nonexistent website. The “virtual sit-ins” were done in solidarity with Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico.
In 2007 Dominguez also helped develop a phone app called the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT) with artists Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cardens, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Merhmand , which uses GPS technology to help immigrants find water stations in the Southern California desert and which also includes a poetry feature. It raises awareness about the number of people who die in the U.S.-Mexico border region and aims to rethink the ways in which “immigrants are always presented as less-than-human and certainly not part of a community which is establishing and inventing new forms of life.” TBT was subject to considerable controversy initiated by three Republican California congressmen; ultimately the University of California stated that TBT did not misuse research funds, but would not comment on whether it had broken any laws.
Currently, Dominguez is a Principal Investigator at CALIT 2, as well as, the Performative Nano-robotics Lab at SME (UCSD), and he is the Lead Researcher of the UCSD Center for Drone Policy and Ethics.
Born in Bologna, Italy in 1949, Franco Berardi Bifo is a writer, media-theorist, and media-activist. As a young militant he took part in the experience of Potere operaio in the years 1967-19073, then he founded the magazine A/traverso (1975–81) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy (1976–78).
Involved in the political movement of Autonomia in Italy during the 1970s, he fled to Paris, where he worked with Félix Guattari in the field of schizoanalysis.
He has been involved in many media-projects, like Telestreet, and Recombinant.org.
Bifo published the books Poetry and finance (1912) After the future (2011) The Soul at Work (2010), Felix (2001), Cibernauti (1994), Mutazione e Cyberpunk (1993) and contributed to the magazines Semiotext(e), Chimères, Metropoli, and Musica 80.
He is currently collaborating with e-flux journal.
Coordinator of the European School for Social Imagination (SCEPSI), he has been teaching at Ashkal Alwan in Beirouth, PEI-Macba in Barcelona, Accademia di Brera in Milano, and has been lecturing in social centers and Universities worldwide.