Sonic Outlaws

Director: Craig Baldwin
Year Released: 1995
Rating: 3.0

Baldwin explores the subject known as 'culture jamming,' using underground band Negativland and their well-known dispute with Island Records and the Irish group U2 over 'intellectual property' as a key example. Though the whole idea of 'detournment' is nothing new - it was made famous by the Situationist International movement decades ago - the technological boom and the development of relatively inexpensive equipment for mischievous hacking types means that with but a little bit of materials and know-how, anyone can play a little part in 'messing with' the system. Not just keeping the topic on music sampling, Baldwin also explores the way people have used billboards, television and the cinema itself as a political weapon. Entrancing stuff - but in a nerdy sort of way - and mandatory viewing for those with interest in Abbie Hoffman's advocating pranksterism as a subversive tool.