Stand By For Failure, a new Negativland documentary

I've been a fan of the band Negativland since the 1990s, when I was lucky enough to be introduced to them through a friend. My academic work exploring culture jamming, and particularly the work of Adbusters and Reverend Billy, has also been inspired by them. The band, in fact, introduced the term "culture jamming" into the popular lexicon in 1985. One of their recordings on JamCon84 referred to "billboard activists," those known to alter billboards with subversive meanings, as the embodiments of culture jamming—noting that a "skillfully reworked billboard" could potentially serve the purpose of directing public attention to "a consideration of the original corporate strategy." I was also lucky enough to see them live at Film Bar in Phoenix, Arizona, about a decade ago.

And I am beyond excited to see the new documentary about the band, Stand By For Failure, that will be released next month. The film's creator, Ryan Worsley, just released the first five minutes, and it's just as weird, engaging, and bizarre as you'd expect. Its YouTube page describes the film like this:

40+ years of Negativland metamedia, recontextualized into popular feature length documentary entertainment format by Ryan Worsley. You've seen and heard it all! But you've never seen and heard it like this! 

The West coast film premiere is November 12 in San Francisco at Other Cinema, and the East coast film premiere is November 17 in Philadelphia at PhilaMOCA. If you live in either of those cities, you should totally check it out. To say I'm jealous would be an understatement!

The band is also about to release a new album, Speech Free, which you can pre-order on their website. They describe as "the mutant offspring of our last four releases (two albums, one EP, and a concert film)."

They go on to explain:

What is Speech Free? 

Long known for creating records, CDs, video, fine art, books, radio and live performance using appropriated sounds, images, objects, and text, what does a Negativland album sound like when it's missing all of those voice samples? It sounds like: Speech Free. 

A triple vinyl / double CD release of Library Music for your use and reuse, this new album by Negativland has had every last trace of language carefully removed from the mix. But what does that really mean? It means that Speech Free is a complete reimagining of the 28 tracks of music that were hiding in plain sight beneath the branded Cultural Jamming of our last two record albums and EP.