The Yes Men: SurvivaBall

The Yes Men: SurvivaBall

2006, 1 min., USA
Producers: Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno
On-line Digital Videos (at http://www.theyesmen.org/agribusiness/halliburton/about/history.html)
The feature length “Yes Men” is coming to town, but in the meantime they have released parts of their wortk in web form.

The Yes Men are media anarchists or “culture jammers” (led by Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno) who been ever helpful in the past by posting on the web instructions on how to print your own bar code stickers for things you want to buy even more cheaply from Wal-Mart or by giving lectures to Finnish trade executives on repositioning the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a trade organization for the poor, have ventured into post-apocalyptic planning with an invention called SurvivaBall. They debuted this indispensable disaster suit at a conference of catastrophic loss experts in Florida in 2006 as a new tool for executives who might find themselves caught in an emergency whilst working in their megalopolian office suites. Their website offers a Power Point presentation replete with seven short (five to ten seconds) CGI videos demonstrating their SurvivaBall.
The Survivaball imitates a Kyrgyzstani portable yurt and is the material response to the question the Yes Men asked rhetorically of any corporate executive team: “How will you not only survive, but also continue to function and thrive in the chaos of a disaster?” In short, how can you make money in a crisis?
The Yes Men’s answer comes in the form of a roomy ovoid disaster suit, presciently provided by the Halliburton Corporation, the leading fabricator of world wide construction projects in emerging American markets (like Afghanistan and Iraq), often under no-bid contracts facilitated by their old executive leader, Vice President Dick Cheney.
Of course the real Halliburton Corporation has no such product, although the Yes Men have no trouble satirizing their corporate strategy: they take risks because “sometimes danger presents broad new opportunities.” Without the Black Plague, for example, “the old business models of the medieval Europe would never have been overturned by the entrepreneurs of the Renaissance.” Noah himself understood the concept: after the flood he had a monopoly on the sale of animals.
The Yes Men’s videos are very short, some more amusing than others, but all feature the SurvivaBall and its savvy exec skimming over and through disasters:
Finding Nutrition
Escaping Malibu
Surviving the Ice
Avoiding the Surface
Defending Acquired Rights
Forming a Managerial Aggregate
Dancing with Joy

All of these spoof post-apocalyptic cinema, such as the final piece featuring a cyber-woman dancing through deserted canyons of skyscrapers, but the second to the end offers a model for future executives: form a pile in your SurvivaBalls, create a floating colony, and “dispense with unneeded units.”

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