For the past several years a profusion of media hoaxes have spread in France and all over the World. Until recently, very little academic research had been conducted on the subject and no one had really portrayed a global perspective. In December 2006, a very elaborate hoax perpetrated by a public TV channel in Belgium brought the process to light and generated much interest among media and social researchers. Techniques developed by media hoaxers have become so highly sophisticated that this unconventional practice has become a fertile field for social research and a path to understanding the complex relationship between the media and their audiences. Dating back to the 18th century, having evolved along with the first mass media publications, hoaxes were considered worthless and vulgar jokes with malicious or humorous intent. During the last decades, the humor persists as one dimension of hoaxes. However, it appears that more and more people have become aware of the hoax as a new dimension of social criticism, which includes political protest and, of course, media subversion.
We will take the opportunity of Joey Skaggs’ visit to Europe – on the occasion of his participation in a conference hosted in Karlsruhe (Germany) by the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie – to explore and analyze the protest movement against mass-media known as «culture jamming» which has developed during the last 40 years in the United States of America. With his lifetime work on the cutting edge of art and activism, Joey Skaggs is a pioneer of this cultural movement and is still active today.