Viva Vivoleum

Well known culture jammers, the Yes Men, who practice what they call 'identity correction' by posing as representatives of well-known corporations and organizations and making outrageous comments on their behalf, pulled off their latest installation of genius at the Oil and Gas Exposition 2007 in Calgary.

Posing as members of the National Petroleum Council, they unveiled Vivoleum, an oil product derived from dead victims of global warming disasters.

Participants at the luncheon, of which the Yes Men were the keynote speakers, participated in a ceremonial lighting of Vivoleum candles until organizers began to catch on and eventually had them escorted out of the building. For more on Vivoleum check out their Vivoleum specific website and for Alberta coverage on the event see this Calgary Herald article.

We don't have any video from the event yet, but here's a photo slideshow we found on Flickr. 

And below is a a Vivoleum spoof video we found on Youtube, a tribute to “Reggie” the first human who volunteered to have his body turned into fuel.


I was at that oil show luncheon and I can assure you that it wasn’t the shrewdness of organizers that brought the Yes Men’s presentation to an end. It was a woman in the crowd who happened to recognize their faces and franticly used her Blackberry to text the event organizers and eventually had to go and tell them what was going on. The Yes Men’s punchline – that it was the victims of global warming that was going to fuel their new bio-fuel technology, Vivoleum – hadn’t yet been delivered when they were dragged off stage. Only a few in the crowd were on to them before then and those at my table (including myself) simply thought these Exxon guys were “too pro-oil for Calgary”, as one of my table-mates put it. This was the first time the Yes Men have ever been busted before being able to complete their presentation, but it certainly wasn’t because Corporate Calgary is particularly smart.

At how they can get themselves booked for these events. It takes some serious ability to do what they do. 

You would think that background checks on their names etc. would have popped out the fact that they were not who they said they were.

I also saw them talk about their hijinks at a film festival the following day, and I can assure you that there isn’t anything exceptional about them. They have no acting experience. They have no special skills. They simply have the guts to attempt such stunts. Their advice is to promise someone big to talk for free – the hosts will love it. As they did in Calgary, at the last minute, they stepped in as the assistansts to the big wig who had to cancel at the last moment.

I hadn’t heard about these guys before. This is effing brilliant! I sometimes tire of the endless earnestness & frustration of the AGW issue, and it’s a relief to have a good laugh once in awhile.

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oil drilling