Steve Lambert — the artist behind familiar projects including The Yes Men’s fake New York Time edition, the ad-blocking Firefox extension Add-Art and a wonderful "Utopia" letterpress poster — is back, this time planning his biggest project yet: A giant interactive sign that reads, “Capitalism works for me!” The metal sign will be mounted on a truck that’ll hit major cities; wherever it stops, people can walk up and push true or false buttons to have their say on the question of capitalism.
Thing is: Steve needs your help. He’s fundraising on Kickstarter to gather the $9,500 he needs to fabricate the sign, fund the national tour and produce a book documenting the project.
Like anything he does, even the Kickstarter pitch is art. For instance, kick in $40 or more, and you’ll get both a copy of the book and a personal phonecall from Lambert’s parents. He writes:
Brief, but not boring, and you can ask questions. Mom used to be a nun, has an MA in Theology, and can spray lacquer like a pro. Dad used to be a monk, built custom furniture, and coached a championship high school soccer team from inner-city Oakland. Just note: they will probably put you on speaker phone.
A thousand dollars or more will get you, among other things, a personal performance by Lambert of “Free: a talk and walking tour with jokes.” At just about every tier of giving you get something: the book, your name in the book, a work of art, his one and only Do It sculpture (at the $2000+ level).
Here’s part of his rationale:
The word “capitalism” is a red flag. And for good reason – pretty soon some dude is talking your ear off about “The System, man.” Ugh.
At the same time, capitalism is discussed every day using euphemisms like “jobs,” “job creation,” “the business climate,” and discussing whatever “crisis” is deemed relevant; a housing crisis, financial crisis, social security crisis, tax crisis, or fill-in-the blank crisis. But the whole is rarely a topic of frank discussion - much less alternatives or meaningful reform.
As a culture, we need the vision and boldness it takes to discuss the problem itself. The idea that “there is no alternative" to the way our world works takes away our ability to dream! And as citizens we need the courage to begin these discussions on order to move on to new and better visions for the future.
But what to do? Start a conversation about capitalism and friends edge away slowly, and strangers even faster.