I joined an affinity group of artists, known as “Suits for Wall Street” who believed aesthetics matter. We raised a few thousand dollars in donations through crowd-funding sites and then bought up the best business attire Salvation Army and Goodwill had to offer. After steaming and pressing the suits, shirts, and ties we brought them down to Liberty Square. Additionally barbers gave free haircuts and tailors hemmed the garmets for the perfect fit. Realizing the park was now a worldwide wide stage for street theater and creative activism we wanted “to offer both media and activists images that could not easily be written off, images that created the evocative confusion it takes to get people to read news articles.” While several occupiers clung tightly to their fashion choices, most understood the tactical advantages of yuppie camouflage and appreciated the free threads. “We put a tool into the hands of occupiers and let them use that tool in a way they saw fit. In some cases, the result was far better than what we would have come up with ourselves.”
The most iconic symbol of the Occupy and Anonymous movement is the Guy Fawkes Mask made popular from the graphic novel and film “V for Vendetta” For those who wish to avoid the guilt of sweatshop and wanting a more durable product, I began manufacturing bullet resistant Guy Fawkes Masks with carbon fiber, Kevlar, and epoxy resin. Julian Assange wore one during his last public appearance before taking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. On Halloween during the occupation I waltzed into Zuccotti Park dressed in my NYPD uniform and a bullet resistant Guy Fawkes mask that I had made. This performance united and divided the occupiers and the police into two categories: Those with a sense of humor and those without. While many protestors found this stunt amusing, others requested a police interrogation. Half of the cops who approached me smiled and the other half was seriously concerned that I might be breaking a law. Fortunately my lawyer was there to answer all their questions, and I was allowed to carry on for the eveningwithout speaking nor revealing my identity.
New York Times Banking Blockade Hoax
Starting on April Fools Day of 2012, I collaborated with WikiLeaks supporters on an elaborate hoax to bring attention to the extrajudicial banking blockade imposed on them. This consisted of three fake websites and a dozen fake social media accounts. First I created a fake ultra-conservative media advocacy group known as “Block the New York Times” that quickly amassed a following by several Top Conservatives on Twitter. For several months I presented the absurd notion that the New York Times should have a similar blockade of all banking transactions for publishing stories using information gained from WikiLeaks. To gain attention of the rest f the Internet, I pretended their websites, email, and social media accounts had been hacked by Anonymous. Now with the seed planted, we created a fake op-Ed by former NY Times editor-in-chief Bill Keller along with fake twitter accounts for Keller. I purchased the URLs – nytimes-opinion.com and opinion-nytimes.com and cloned the Times webpage.
Simultaneously I registered twitter accounts that looked like @nytkeller’s except I used uppercase “I”s instead of lowercase “L”s. Twiter’s san-serif font made this undetectable. At midnight when Keller himself tweeted a link to his actual Sunday op-Ed, I also tweeted links to the hoax opinion piece. Soon thereafter the Times lead Tech writer Nick Bilton mistakenly retweeted the fake url with a note calling the op-Ed a must read. Keller retweeted the compliment before going to bed – giving it complete credibility while he slept. When he awoke the ruse was up and he went to twitter in all caps to warn the Internet of the prank. Mainstream media talking heads lost sight of the point, instead wanted to paint WikiLeaks as an organization that disseminates false information despite the fact they have a perfect accuracy record and they took credit explaining why we fooled the media.
Anonymous Theater Art Group
On Columbus Day 2008 the Anonymous Theater Art Group, consisting of two collaborators and myself, debuted in front of the New York Stock Exchange. I juggled and twisted balloons into odd shapes while my coconspirators sang opera, jumped on a pogo stick, and tooted on a trumpet. For two years we lied to tourists, journalists, and police about being unemployed bankers. Major news outlets reported that out of workhedge fund managers were busking for bailouts. Memorial Day 2010 we moved to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Times Square and changed out of our suits and into camouflage fatigues to satirically enlist children into the Army of Fun. Instead of begging for money, we asked parents to give us their kids so that could kill children in the Middle East.
Clark Stoeckley’s 24-hour live performance will portray a day of Private First Class Bradley Manning's tortured imprisonment—commencing at 5pm on Friday the 20th and concluding at 5pm on Saturday the 21st. This performance will be recorded, and the documentation will be projected in Plato's Cave for the remaining duration of the exhibition. Now an international figure with a huge following, Private First Class Bradley Manning has been ‘detained’ in solitary confinement since May 2010 for allegedly passing classified video and documents to WikiLeaks, blowing the whistle on war crimes in Iraq. During his imprisonment at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, Manning was subjected to psychological torture. He was placed on a Prevention of Injury assignment, which meant that he had to sleep in only his boxer shorts, with no blankets or pillow, and was woken up every 5 minutes by guards. His treatment has been described as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid" by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who resigned shortly after making those comments. He stood by his opinion stating "exercise of power in today's challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values."
The artist will set up two chairs, a table, and a chessboard in the southwest corner of Union Square. Passersby are welcome to join him for a free game of chess. He will draw his opponent on both the chessboard and on paper, and take his turns very quickly, never attacking his opponent’s pieces––keeping his as close together as possible. He will draw the portraits of his opponents during their turns. Drawings conclude when he is put in checkmate or a draw is called. The artist will photograph the drawing with the opponent, and then give it to them.
After two weeks of being parked at Liberty Square, I covertly joined the protest in the guise of a MTA employee and member of the Transit workers union. I nabbed a sign from the ground that read "Just the Beginning". Being the first subway worker at OWS, I was a target for interviews. I spoke candidly about our crumbling mass transit infrastructure, the raise of fares, and the lack of funding for better service. The following day the union filed a restraining order against the NYPD, and four days later thousands of transit workers joined the occupiers along with many other unions pointed out the fact that MTA buses and drivers were used to haul over 700 protestors off the Brooklyn Bridge the day prior.