The third speaker at the Resistant Maps, artistic actions in the interconnected urban territory conference was Andrea Natella. The guy is a kind of living legend here in Italy for his role as the founder and spokeperson of Guerrigliamarketing.it. The moto of this advertising company born in Rome in 2003 is “Fuck the market to enter it.” They rely on non-conventional communication techniques, like the creation of fictitious events or campaigns reaching the limits of the legality to break into the media system. The aim is to achieve the maximum impact at the minimal cost possible.
One of their operations on the urban territory was Shock and Hoax. During the US/Iraq conflict, they cordoned off several streets or famous monuments in Rome with white and red ribbons and fake military messages that said “war zone”, “no trespassing”, ” refugee camp in construction – sorry for the inconvenience”, “mine clearing zone”, “biological warfare free zone”, etc. The idea received a large coverage in the national press and was quickly adopted in several cities.
This operation was using the local public space to comment on what was affecting the world on a global scale.
Where-next uses Google maps to allow web users to bet on the location of the next terrorist attack. The person guessing the right technique used (a bomb attack, a suicide bomber, chemical weapons, etc.) and getting closest to the location of the attack, will receive a T-shirt, featuring the place, the time of the attack and the caption â€œI predicted it!â€?. The press hasn’t welcome the project with kind words, describing it as “A sick website” or “A spine chilling game.”
A few anecdotes: they had to change the logo as the people from “Bet & Win” deemed it to similar to their own; the google search engine doesn’t index it in the result; it has received a wide coverage all over Europe and Asia, however American blogs have totally ignored its existence. Guerrigliamarketing (based in Rome) and Molle Industria (based in Milan) launched the website after the attacks on Madrid and London, thus when Italy had troops in Irak. At the time it was thought that Rome and Milan were the two cities most likely to be attacked next.
Whatever Natella’s justifications, i never felt that the project was particularly smart but i must admit that he had a point when he ended his talk by asking this question to the audience in Genoa: “The project was launched a year and three months ago. How many terrorist attacks have occured ever since?” The answer (which none of us guessed right) is 7. Most of these attacks happened outside of the US and Europe. Most of them are now in oblivion. So who’s the most cynical: the where-next developers or the media who carelessly brush aside conflicts happening in places which do not happen to be called London or Madrid?