Culture Jammers

Pedro Inoue
Adbusters magazine creative director Pedro Inoue tells us more about himself, the magazine and global network of culture jammers.


Adbusters has published ad-free since 1989 and launched numerous campaigns through their global network of ‘culture jammers’, but came to prominence last year with the initial call to Occupy Wall Street.

We hear from creative director Pedro Inoue who, along with senior editor Darren Fleet and art director Ellen Lee, will be presented at We Can Create.

"One of the most important things about the magazine is that it is an ad-free publication. This gives us immense freedom to create a narrative without breaks, without interruptions."

They'll talk about previous campaigns, such as Buy Nothing Day, Digital Detox Week and Kick it Over, and upcoming projects.

* * *

Tell us a bit about your background and recent work.

I am 35-years-old, I live in São Paulo, Brasil.

I've lived and worked in London for seven years with Jonathan Barnbrook, that's where I got to meet Kalle Lasn (Adbusters editor). I flew back to Brazil in 2008 permanently and since then been working closely with Kalle, art directing issues and doing their covers. From 2010 onwards I got on board as a creative director.

I am also a freelance designer and art director in my freetime – when there is any left. Recent projects include Stephan Doitschinoff's monograph for the german publishers Gestalten, Graphic project for Antony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange 50 years special edition for a brazilian publisher, A collection of covers for Philip K. Dick novels, two catalogues for MASP -  Museum of Modern Art from São Paulo & Iggor Cavalera's (ex-Sepultura) project MIXHELL CD covers.

How does your environment affect your work?

A lot. I live in São Paulo and it is one of the most chaotic cities in the world. While in London, every Tuesday night after work I used to go to the National Gallery to see the impressionists rooms and a few Turner paintings. Back at home now my sense of beauty is very different. There is a difficult beauty, something you have to work in. It doesn't amaze you straight away, you have to dig in, look for it. It won't give away very easily. I like that, it makes me look in different ways to the same routine.

Who or what has inspired you recently?

I really can't control this, what goes in and what goes out. Maybe if I start writing it might come out? The last book I bought was Georges Perec, Life A User's Manual. I can't live without coffee, Erik Satie and worned out shoes. I have a secret list of images that represent happiness that no one will ever see. One day I will make a short film of the beauty of the imperfect, the impermanent and the incomplete.

John Berger is one of my favourite writers, and Tom Waits one of my favourite artist, I would love to see them compete on something or fight in a boxing match or see who can drink more? Someone told me the other day that we should all dance with the devil at least once in our lifetimes. I am having a bit of difficulty finding out what he looks like. If you have any suggestions, please email me?

What aspect of your creative practice gives you the biggest thrill?

There are some very particular moments where everything clicks together. In some ways I try to see them as that one specific morning that you woke up from a pleasant dream, you are walking to work, the sun shines in this particular angle and you contemplate this one spot in the street and the trees around you and suddenly the music you are listening to synchronizes into this moment and you look around and realize so far, everything is good in your life and it all makes sense and it will all be fine.

Then the phone rings, the traffic jam appears, someone bumps into you. And you get on with life.

What's your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in the creative industries?

Never take business too seriously.

Tell us a bit about Adbusters and the Media Foundation.

Adbusters Media Foundation is a global network of culture jammers and creators who are working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power and the way meaning is produced in our society.

The magazine, the media foundation's flagship publication, is available worldwide. One of the most important things about the magazine is that is an ad-free publication. This gives us immense freedom to create a narrative without breaks, without interruptions. I would say metaphorically, that we are more close to doing feature films than television. Commercial breaks and the 15 minute slot rule is something we don't have to answer to or depend. This one aspect alone, is very precious in our society today.

What was Adbusters role in the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Adbusters launched the initial call to Occupy Wall Street on issue 97 in June / July 2011. We had been discussing, in previous issues, the Arab Spring, the Spanish Indignados and the possibility of bringing this to America. I guess it is important to say that Adbusters doesn't own or represent the Occupy movement, but rather runs parallel to it, feeding with ideas and directions.

Next month we will be releasing our latest project, a 400 page economics textbook – Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics – available everywhere from November 17th 2012.

Pedro Inoue

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

25 Oct 2012

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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