Wells College’s 2016 Activism Symposium will feature keynote speaker Andy Bichlbaum of the activist duo The Yes Men. The talk will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 4, in the Hostetter Lecture Room (209) of Stratton Hall.
As The Yes Men—representatives of Exxon, Halliburton, Dow Chemical, and the U.S. federal government—Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno use humor, truth and lunacy to bring media attention to the crimes of their unwilling employers. Their impersonation of big-time corporate criminals while armed with nothing but quick wits and thrift store suits highlights crimes against humanity and the environment that are often ignored or hidden.
Their outrageous satirical interventions at business events, on the internet, television, and in the streets form the basis of two award-winning feature documentaries, The Yes Men and The Yes Men Fix the World, festival favorites in Toronto, Berlin, SXSW and others. Their latest feature documentary, The Yes Men Are Revolting, adds to their hit list some of the biggest climate criminals, hilariously targeting such planet-plundering entities as Shell Oil, Gazprom Oil, and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Their work has been shown in the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennale, ARS Electronica, and many other art exhibitions, and they are the recipients of numerous awards, including Creative Time’s Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, Grierson Documentary Award, Berlinale Panorama Audience Award, the United Nations Association Film Festival Grand Jury Award, Best Documentary Award at HBO Comedy Arts Festival, and the Audience Award at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam.
Bichlbaum and Bonanno are also the founders of a nonprofit, the Yes Lab, and the Action Switchboard, an online platform for generating real-life direct actions in the service of social movements.
All Activism Symposium events are free to attend, and local communities are invited.