Culture-jamming extraordinaires F.A.T. Lab (Free Art and Technology Lab) received the PBS treatment via their Off Book program—a PBS Arts web series that explores experimental and cutting edge artistic media.
Founded in 2007, F.A.T. Lab is a loose collective of hackers and artists whose shared goal is to illuminate how we interact with the digital world. Online habits are deconstructed through projects such as Google Alarm, which rings an alarm every time Google indexes browsing habits, and KANYEFY, which converts all onscreen text to KanyeUniversecity-style all-caps bellowing. The notorious international web art site aggregates tech projects under the repurposed Linux mantra of “Release early, often, and with rap music,” contributing a unique, irreverent voice to online culture—self-described as “the unsolicited viral marketing wing of the open-source movement.”
The F.A.T. Lab collective furiously blends the different “worlds” today’s connected citizens live in and empower culture consumers by turning browsers into modern art exhibitions. For example Dead Drops are USBs affixed to public walls, which turn over digital space to (often unpredictable) community usage. They also built a fake Google Street View car and rode around Germany, punking the locals and the international tech media while calling into question the monopolistic power Google wields over the internet and beyond. These are art hacks dialed straight into today’s connected audience—"pop art for the web era."