In celebrating its 25th anniversary, the “cultural jamming” and collage group Negativland parodies the theme park, catapulting us into deconstructed attractions of the gallery as entertainment destination in the exhibition Negativlandland.
Viewers will find appropriations of Disney ventures—such as a reconfigured Lincoln from the Hall of Presidents, and a video remix of the Little Mermaid, merged with the angry telephone recording of a Disney studio executive. Anecdotes about the media and entertainment industries are expressed in such work as the discovery of “Howland Island,” and ideas of approaching stores such as Petco as an art supplies depot. Other work includes a set of limited edition prints from Negativland’s 2002 “Death Sentences” project.
Also on view will be an unauthorized special edition of a U2 vs. Negativland ipod (version 2G), created by Francis Hwang. Hwang produced this modified ipod in commemoration of the 1991 lawsuit filed by U2’s record label against Negativland and SST for the release of its album “U2.” The first edition of this ipod was originally offered for sale on ebay in December of 2004, and was removed from the auction website six days after Apple Computer claimed that Hwang was violating Apple’s intellectual property rights.
Since 1980, Negativland has been creating records, fine art, film, video, books, radio and live performance using appropriated sound, image and text. Mixing original materials and music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture, Negativland re-arranges these bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In doing this kind of cultural opposition and “culture jamming” (a term coined by the group in 1984), Negativland has been sued twice for copyright infringement. This year marks its 25th anniversary as a group.