RTMark is a non-profit mischief-making organization, generally targeting the global corporate sphere. They have a lot of interesting projects at their website, and some cool tools. Essentially they come up neat ideas and solicit anonymous donations to fund their development and execution. In other cases they offer the project idea and the funding, and anyone who carries off the project gets the money.
Reamweaver, for example, is an automatic tool for generating parody versions of legit websites. Let’s say you’ve got a beef with Federal Express, for example. You register a domain name like fudex.com, install Reamweaver, and specify a list of words you want substituted. Whenever someone goes to fudex.com, Reamweaver generates a copy of the real fedex.com site, but changes the words you specify. You could replace all instances of “customer service” with “customer annoyance,” for example, and even substitute your own images dynamically. And whenever the real fedex.com site updates, Reamweaver updates your version, too. RTMark created the tool to mess with the World Trade Organization, who were trying to shut down a parody domain site RTMark had set up. By automating the parody process and giving the tool away for free, neither the WTO nor anybody else can hope to stop people from satirizing them, because anybody with a web page can instantly generate an identical or tweaked version of the satirical site. It’s quite interesting. You can get Reamweaver here.
Then there’s the Bikewriter system, which lets you turn your bicycle into a mobile, on-demand propaganda machine. You attach rubber stamp pieces to your rear wheel to assemble a sentence, and then as you ride you pull a handle to lower the ink roller down onto the surface of the tire and voila–instant imprint on the concrete. More photos and a too-large Quicktime video are at the Bikewriter page.
Rather than rattle on further, I’ll let them do it. Here’s their report on activities in 2001:
Impostors passed as the World Trade Organization at a “Textiles of the Future” conference (http://theyesmen.org/finland.html) and on European Marketwrap, a prime-time program on CNBC (http://theyesmen.org/tv.html). An anonymous investment covered some travel expenses.
A conference session on techniques to counter anti-corporate activism, normally available for $225 to corporate clients, was made available to activists for free at http://rtmark.com/prsa, thanks to an anonymous donor.
One thousand vanity mirrors were distributed at the G8 protests in Genoa, and were used to reflect the sun into the eyes of attacking policemen (http://rtmark.com/archimedes.html).
A software development kit and book from http://hactivist.com, entitled “Child as Audience”, teaches anyone to reverse-engineer the Nintendo Gameboy; it was co-sponsored by RTMark.
The same label that enraged Geffen Records with “Deconstructing Beck” issued its fourth RTMark-sponsored release, “A Mutated Christmas” (http://detritus.net/illegalart/xmas).
A catapult used to hurl stuffed animals over the fortress walls at the Quebec FTAA meeting fulfilled Project MDVL and garnered a cash reward for the creators.
Thousands of brochures advertising “Deportation Class” seating were secretly placed in airplane seat pockets to illustrate how commercial airlines traffic in unwilling human cargo (http://rtmark.com/luft).
The :CueCat, a freely available barcode scanner meant to help advertise to people in their homes, was hacked into a tool for learning about corporate misdeeds (http://rtmark.com/cuejack).
The “Heads and Tails Video Reclamation Program” which encourages videotape renters to record public service messages over previews, has resulted in hundreds of altered tapes across the US and Canada (http://rtmark.com/fundlabor.html#DUBM and http://rtmark.com/fundlabor.html#FLMC).
And finally, Dr. Andreas Bichlbauer of the World Trade Organization has chosen the winner of this year’s Corporate Poetry Contest: The Organization of American States’ “Chant to the OAS,” in the “Children’s Corner” section of their website (http://rtmark.com/corpoetry.html).