What is The Moonshiner?
The Moonshiner is a newspaper founded by NYC artists Jack Laughner and Peter J Hoffmeister. It is the result of our many long discussions involving various issues, including the rise of the police state and the subsequent loss of civil rights in the United States. We got tired of just talking, important as that is, and decided to take our knowledge and art practice to a new level. This ongoing conversation has manifested as a newspaper. Unlike the traditional format there are no articles—it is our intention to keep the newspaper primarily visual. In this way we are putting partisan politics aside, and raising awareness about contemporary American life under the omniscient surveillance grid.
Our name was selected as a reference to running contraband, with its associated dangers, in an effort to acknowledge that facts and objective inquiry are commonly regarded as contraband today—especially if it may harm certain reputations. By distributing the newspaper in public, we will encourage participation in a society that seems crippled with apathy, thanks in a great deal to cognitive dissonance created by corporate mass media.
Who is Malcolm Ford?
Scattered throughout the newspaper are fragments of letters between Malcolm and his friend John. You can read these letters here. They are treated as primary source documents for our project, and are largely inspired by experiences we have both actually had.
Why is The Moonshiner important?
Today, much of the global population receives their information regarding current events from mass media conglomerates, which are owned by a wealthy few. The Moonshiner is a critique of these very outlets, and more specifically how the newspaper functions in a broader cultural context. As more newspapers become digitized, our project is a reminder that physical print cannot be subjected to the same kill switch as digital media.
Considering all of this, it is up to us, as citizens of this great country, to stay informed and to inform our friends and neighbors. It might sound odd, but change is smaller than you think, and it starts with us. It won't come from elected leaders who are bought and paid for by the same wealthy elite who run our media. By creating The Moonshiner, we hope to serve as an example, and inspire others to think for themselves. Will you help us?
The printer has quoted 1,000 newspapers after tax and other associated fees at roughly $2,000. We must also factor into our budget the mandatory Kickstarter fees (roughly 10% of total amount raised), price of gifts, and other small costs that quickly add up when producing a newspaper. Therefore, we feel $3,000 is a comfortable minimum for this project.
Risks and challenges
With a project such as ours, it is especially important to have an audience in mind. This is why we will be distributing the newspaper in front of NYC art museums. Our intention is to have the museum or gallery visitor as the center of our audience, from which we can expand outward. By creating something that is at once an art object and activist handout, we allow for multiple readings that will ultimately create a larger audience.
In order to test our ideas, we handed out promotional broadsheets in front of the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, MoMA, and New Museum on Sunday, November 11th, 2012. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and with this public feedback we confidently move forward. The footage you see in our video is from this event.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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