Statement by Street Cred

Collection shared with Permission

Street Cred is a project of Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP). BAAQUP s a loose collective of arts activists with a long history of liberating public spaces and creating images to challenge the control of our lives by corporations, government and the assumptions promoted by mass media. Our use of “unleashing power” is a homage to ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, a powerful direct action movement which many of us participated in during the late eighties and early nineties.

Street Cred’s public art campaigns disturb the status quo by shaking up people’s consciousness. Our goal is to raise all of our spirits through creative resistance. We are always looking to hook up with other groups of artists and activists, so that together we may blossom into a full-fledged force for social change.

Subcomandante Marcos, the voice of the Zapatista revolution, speaks of a project that “globalizes rebellion, hope, creativity, intelligence, imagination, life, memory and building a world where many worlds fit.” That is the project our work strives to mirror and be part of.

We are Advertising for the People. We challenge the hegemony of corporate messaging and reclaim advertising spaces to create unmediated dialogue with our community.

Where art is possible, change is possible. If we can change the images on our streets, we can change our reality as well.

This gallery shares images of a few different Street Cred culture jamming actions between 2009-2015. 

Culture jamming materials: paper, adhesive, duct tape.

Click the images to view larger, some have captions.

Consumer Boycott

The consumer boycott brings BDS to street level. When a boycott catches fire, like the grape boycott organized by the United Farm Workers in the 1970s, the boycott of Barclays, Bank of America and other banks funding apartheid in the 1980s, or the boycott of the West Bank settlement product SodaStream, in the last year, it confronts each individual with the choice: am I for justice or will I close my eyes for the sake of comfort and convenience? Though the economic impact of most consumer boycotts is small, its political power is enormous because of its ability to involve masses of people sending a clear message to governments and corporations. 

Frameline and out in israel

Queers say no to pinkwashing Israeli war crimes.

The cultural and academic boycott was launched by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in 2004, building on a 2002 statement by Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the occupied territories and in the Diaspora calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in October 2003. The cultural boycott of South Africa, epitomized by the “Don’t Play Sun City” campaign, was one of the most widely recognized elements of the movement which ended South African Apartheid.

In 2010, the three Palestinian queer organizations issued a call for international queer institutions to stop partnering with the Israeli state and its institutions. A member of Al Qaws For Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestine writes, “Pinkwashing strips away our voices, history and agency, telling the world that Israel knows what is best for us. By targeting pinkwashing we are reclaiming our agency, history, voices and bodies, telling the world what we want and how to support us.”

In San Francisco, one of the most active cultural boycott campaigns has targeted the Frameline film festival. Frameline is one of the world’s oldest and largest LGBT cultural institutions. Since 2007, Bay Area queers have been demanding that Frameline end its partnership with the Israeli consulate, but the festival has refused. For the last two years, Street Cred has used art intervention to turn up the heat on Frameline.

The Israeli government aggressively promotes queer Israeli films, which would be great if they were truly interested in queer liberation. Instead, the Israeli government is using its queer-friendly veneer to distract from its oppression of all non-Jewish residents regardless of sexuality and gender identity. Street Cred/BAAQUP helped to popularize the term “pinkwashing” (with apologies to Breast Cancer Action) to describe this disinformation.

Challenging the Pamela Geller/American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)

In 2010, while Pamela Geller was revving up opposition to Park51, the proposed Muslim community center several blocks from Ground Zero, she also started what has turned out to be a national campaign, running virulently anti-Muslim, anti-Arab ads on buses and municipal transit stations, as well as taxis.  Since then, she and her American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)—listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group”—have initiated Islamophobic ad campaigns in more than a dozen communities, from Boston to Seattle, Chicago to Miami.  The pattern is simple—provide hateful anti-Muslim/anti-Arab ad copy to a public transportation agency, offer to make a modest ad buy, sue (or threaten to sue) the agency on First Amendment grounds if it refuses to run the ad (or expresses reservations about running it), and reap lots of free publicity from the ensuing media coverage of the controversy. The Geller/AFDI ad campaigns most often explicitly link Israel with Islamophobia, either through images and words that smear both Muslims and Palestinians or through ads designed to respond to “anti-Israel” or “pro-Palestinian” ads.  These campaigns have led to bold and creative activism by a wide range of communities that often work in coalition with one another. 
Text from NETWORK AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA (NAI) a project of Jewish Voice for Peace. More information in captions.

stop the JNF

Street Cred artists modified bus ads in San Francisco to highlight this truth.  “Palestinian farmers face the brunt of Israel’s land confiscations, demolitions and water theft,” explains a recent call issued by Palestinian farming organizations.  “An estimated 10% of the Palestinian GDP ($480 million) and 110,000 jobs are lost annually because of the negative effect of Israeli policies on Palestinian agriculture in the occupied Palestinian territory,” the report continues.

The bus ads which were modified promote the annual “Israel in the Gardens” festival, which celebrates the 1967 annexation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem by the Israeli army. the city of sf helps fund this fete and in this way colludes/whitewashes good thing to ad?

Response to "Out in Israel," a film series In honor of Israel Pride Month, put on by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel —a special showcase of new, recent and classic films from Israel exploring lesbian and gay life, imagery and stories. More information.