Eduardo Moises Penalver & Sonia Kaytal Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership
Barbara Ehrenreich Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy
Lewis Hyde The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
Geoffrey Miller Spent: Sex, Evolution, & Consumer Behavior
Sharon Zukin The Cultures of Cities
Miriam Greenberg Branding New York
Friday, May 22, 2015
Group Battles New York Transit Over Ad Censorship
The posting here at PublicAdCampaign has been decidedly less political lately, and that is in part because it is just hard to keep all the balls in the air at anyone time, and so some aspects of the project suffer when others get more attention.
With that said, below is a little press release about an ad related to horse drawn carriages, that is not being allowed to appear in the NYC subway system. Recently the MTA has adopted a limited ability to censor ad content if it is deemed to be political. This is in large part due to ads related to the Jewish/Palestinian conflict that have used the subway advertising platform for some pretty hateful messages. The fact that this limited censorship is now being applied to a less aggressive ad campaign that isn't even outright political, shows the slippery slope the MTA has put itself on.
We can argue for days whether or not it is in the publics interest to limit the speech we see while traveling our underground rivers, but that is not what is interesting to me about this particular situation. What I find amazing is that Outfront Media, the outdoor advertising company that operates the vast network of ads within the subway system, is the one making the censorship call.
With a vested interest in using the subway system for commercial advertising only, tasking Outfront to determine what is, and what is not, appropriate free speech within thier network of advertising, is bound to result in aggressive censorship of anything non commercial. Now I am not saying that Outfront would have a policy to support this, but they do have a business model which is about making money and not engaging the question of how we use public space for public speech in the best way possible. Thier default reaction, and rightly so, is to keep things simple and pass on any "ad" which does not comply to a neat definition of what is acceptable use of our public advertising infrastructure, mainly commercial.
This is what happens when we allow OOH advertising to control the our visual public landscape and the messages which are put there. Thier interests are simply not aligned with the public's and therefore over time, the publics interests are left behind for the interest of those in charge, Outfront. Advertising in public space itself is not the end of our visual public dialogue, but given enough time and complacency, advertising will envelop all other forms of speech and leave our public spaces commercial opportunities and nothing more.
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 20, 2015) - The Metropolitan Transit Authority has rejected a PSA billboard about the dangers of horse-drawn carriages, submitted April 30 by nonprofit animal rights organization Last Chance for Animals. In response, LCA has hired prominent First Amendment Attorney Floyd Abrams to protect their constitutional right to free speech. More [HERE]
I had the luck of capturing a few wonderful moments in front of this recent installation. The image above is by far my preference and I will likely turn it into a print edition over the next month or so.
The PublicAccess Website Has Been Updated To Include New Cities and Photos
The PublicAccess Project site has updated with new cities, new keys, and new work done by artists and individuals from around the world. As PublicAdCampaign readers will know, we launched the PublicAccess project just a few months ago and have been steadily sending out keys ever since, as well as gathering information about distant lands and thier advertising infrastructure. Check the video shot during a much needed stock replenishment.
As an ongoing project, we are always looking to expand the PublicAccess map and get more people involved. If you don't see your city on the map, but want to help us figure it out, email us and we will be happy to troubleshoot the problem with you.
Until then, enjoy some of the fantastic work that is being produced with PublicAccess tools and get involved yourself by getting a key right now.
Soren Solkaer is Offering A Signed Book to NO AD Users
As many PublicAdCampaign readers know, the NO AD mobile app has been running for close to a year now, exhibiting a wonderfully diverse lineup of shows. From Sebastiao Salgado, to a group show of Gif artists, we have been trying to keep things exciting for those long term users we love so much. It has always been a hope of ours to encourage user participation, as well as offer prints or art through the app, so we are excited to announce a little contest.
If this is all new to you, visit the NO AD website [HERE]
This month, NO AD is exhibiting 100 images from the Surface Project by Soren Solkaer, and he has decided to make things interesting by offering a signed copy of the Surface book to the NO AD user who finds the most images, takes a screenshot, and posts it to Instagram with the hashtag #sorensolkaer. For instance, tagging the image below gets you two points towards a win. May 30th NO AD will change content and the contest will be over. Soren will tally the hastaged posts and contact the winner directly shortly after. Happy Hunting!
Don't be fooled, they use this billboard for advertising too, it just gets art sometimes as well. Hey it's a step in the right direction...
The Baltimore LED Art Billboard is an advertising billboard, but it is also a digital art display. We have taken a technology typically used for advertising and created a one of a kind digital art gallery. providing local artists incredible exposure to the public…absolutely FREE. Rotated in among the advertising are submitted images of every form of art, from painting, drawing, and illustration, to sculpture, photography, and game design. We welcome submissions from all local artists, student, amateur, and professional alike. After every few ads we will display a piece of art. More [HERE]
On the south-east corner of Times Square, where Minnie Mouse and Spider Man wait for customers, a crowd of tourists can be seen standing still and staring up at a billboard expectantly.
Every ten minutes or so, the screen they’re staring at projects their own faces back at them, which sets off a flurry of big-screen selfies.
But it turns out this billboard, and others plastering Times Square, may actually be illegal. Under a federal highway beautification law, the billboards are too big - the law states that highways should not be larger than 1200 square feet.More [HERE]
The Age of Drone Vandalism Begins With an Epic NYC Tag
While I wouldn't say this is a particularly well achieved culture jam, or ad takeover, Katsu has proven that even those sky high billboards, so entirely off limits, are vulnerable. Excited to see what he is up to next.
IN THE EARLY hours of Wednesday morning, the age of robotic graffiti was born. KATSU, a well-known graffiti artist and vandal, used a hacked Phantom drone to paint a giant red scribble across Kendall Jenner’s face on one of New York City’s largest and most viewed billboards. By all accounts, it is the first time that a drone has been deployed for a major act of public vandalism. More [HERE]
A few years ago I was photographed by Søren Solkær in Norway for the Surface project. He set out to document the street art and graffiti artists that have helped make the genre such an important part of the art world, and came away with hundreds of portraits of some of its most influential characters. I was proud to be one of them, and even more proud to be showing with a select few at two upcoming exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles.
The first is exhibition opens tonight at Subliminal Projects, 1331 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles. For this exhibition, Søren asked the participating artists to integrate the original portrait he took of us into a new piece for the show. I chose to break Søren's image into two so that I could install each piece separately in a phonebooth. Once installed, each phonebooth was photographed to produce the framed diptych above.
The second exhibition opens on May 2nd at the Allouche Gallery, 115 Spring street, NYC. For this show, the gallery wanted each participating artist to work in a 3'x3' format. Because my gallery work usually happens in stolen ad frames, 3'x3' doesn't make a lot of sense to me and so I chose to take the opportunity to do a material study built around one of my favorite objects these days, the JCDHEX Public Access key.
Yes, you were expecting an ad. Maybe one from News Channel 3 and charming Chuck and beautiful Belinda and that wacky weather guy and the whole 6 O’clock News Team. Instead, you got a glowing abstraction, a few seconds of calm on your way down the stairs into the subway. Artists continue to take over the ad space that continues to take over our public space, and these new backlit missives are from Specter. More [HERE]
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco Muni bus stop “advertisement” in the Mission District depicts Chester Cheetah as Jesus, drawn hanging from a rough sketch of a cross with the words, “He Died For Our Snacks.” More [HERE]
A while back, Vermibus put together a international NOAD day in which participation was open and the objective simple. Remove as much advertising as you could and free public space of the commercial burden right before international buy nothing day. The first year, participants were mostly those within the anti public advertising movement, but the hope is that year by year the project will grow to include a much larger and diverse group of individuals who share a concern about our over consumption of consumer messages.
This video was released over a month ago and I am very late posting it but please give it a watch. This is an important issue and Vermibus' work is aimed at highlighting it in a serious and meaningful manner.
I look forward to next year and watching this project grow.
The other day I went out walking the city with a few friends, including one very special Spaniard I know from Madrid. We each installed a few pieces and then had a little dinner at my place. No one took it too seriously but below are some of the varying results.
Trying to keep this site updated with content has fallen victim to the ease of Instagram posting and the "like" feedback loop that is incredibly satisfying while simultaneously being a drain on my faculties. I've got some new work coming up soon, NOAD is still well worth checking out with new Gif art showing now, and Public Access which will be expanding in the net month after its initial launch. Until then, enjoy this beautiful and honest Mobstr piece.
I have always said, if not slightly in jest, that advertisers should pay for the space they take up in my mind. More specifically outdoor advertisers, as thier messages are forced into my brain without my consent and therefor occupy a special subsection of crap that fills my thoughts. If I hum a pudding jingle that I saw on TV, it is my own fault for letting that message creep into my mind in exchange for a little sitcom induced brain shutdown. If I cant seem to get the image of a 4 story overly sexed Justin Bieber out of my mind, I have only Calvin Klien and Outfront Media to blame for that intrusion.
It is with that thought that I post this NY Times article by Mathew B. Crawford. His argument, which is stated eloquently but isnt particularly new, is that we should treat our visual landscape like any other resource. We protect our air and water for the common good and the visual landscape that we share in public should be treated similarly so that the rampant abuse of that space does not cause negative economic or health issues for the population at large. I couldn't agree more. Mathew focuses his attention on an airport, which provides some nice examples of how our visual landscape is a worthwhile resource by juxtaposing the general airport with the paid lounges. If the wealthy are willing to pay for silence, or a lack of intrusion into thier visual landscape, it must have some worth.
Airports though, are both public and private spaces and while I couldnt agree more that they should be treated similarly to our shared city streets when it comes to visual pollution, actual public space has a more profound reason to remain commercial free. When we allow advertising to purchase the facades of our buildings, occupy our urban infrastructure, and generally access any and all of our shared environment, we lose something more than the valuable resource of silence. What we loose is access to our city and our literal ability to shape the environment we live in by visual interaction and cultural production.
"The street is a cultural space, one of the essential functions of which is to promote public interaction by facilitating self-expression. That’s a function that a space can have more or less, and it’s one that a space can lose."
If we allow advertising and commercial messaging to monetize the surface of our city, we loose access to those surfaces and with that our ability to define the cultural landscape in which we exist. To me this might be the most tragic loss due to public advertising but it surely isnt the only loss. Demanding an ad free public space is our right as citizens and of paramount importance as we continually define the objectives of our cities and the society that we want them to create.
A FEW years ago, in a supermarket, I swiped my bank card to pay for groceries. I watched the little screen, waiting for its prompts. During the intervals between swiping my card, confirming the amount and entering my PIN, I was shown advertisements. Clearly some genius had realized that a person in this situation is a captive audience. More [HERE]
A Conference Considers the Philosophy of Street Art
Hrag Vartanian just interviewed Nicholas Riggle about a conference at Pratt Institute finishing up this weekend with a keynote by Allison Young. I wont be able to make it, but I highly recommend making the effort to any readers who might be in New York. In the short interview, Riggle makes an amazing point that I think relates well to this blogs thesis, and my understanding of advertisings misalignment with our goals for cities and thier public spaces.
"The street is a cultural space, one of the essential functions of which is to promote public interaction by facilitating self-expression. That’s a function that a space can have more or less, and it’s one that a space can lose."
Thinking about what advertising does to our shared public environment in relation to this quote, it becomes pretty clear that a fully functioning public space cannot be one that includes commercial messaging.
Today, a three-day conference titled Philosophy of Street Art: Art in and of the Street begins at Pratt Institute and New York University. Organized by Gregg Horowitz of Pratt, Nicholas Riggle of Lafayette College, and Christy Mag Uidhir of the University of Houston, the event will feature an artist panel (with Leon Reid IV, HOTTEA, ELBOW-TOE, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh), two days of papers and discussions, and a keynote lecture by a leading authority on the topic, Alison Young of the University of Melbourne, who will speak about “Mainstreaming the Street: The Cultural Value of Illicit Street Art." Read the full interview [HERE]
Prince Media Keeps Illegal Sign Locations Visible With Art, Until They Don't.
Mark Samosonovich has some great new images up in Manhattan, (above) and Brooklyn, that will lighten your day and make you think at the same time. They are the kind of selfless public art that one wants to see everywhere. In fact there isn't even a name to distinguish who the artwork is by, and its this anonymity which makes these works a pleasure to take in. That said, all of these artworks went up at the same time, in places where Prince Media once ran advertising. The coincidence seemed worth looking into because I didn't know too much about this particular "boutique" billboard company, and hey..that's what we do.
In the past I have come to find that behind many, if not all "donations" of outdoor advertising space to artists and thier work, is a self motivated billboard company getting more from the deal than thier altruism would like to reveal. Tax deductions, percent for arts programs, and simple lack of business, can all motivate an outdoor ad company to "give" some of thier space to the arts. In fact a lack of commercial clientele is often a motivator for art in public spaces as companies attempt to keep thier stock lively and with content, when business slows down. None of these reasons make outdoor advertising companies look particularly kind, but aren't all that outwardly devious either.
In New York, I have found one other far more insidious reason that art finds its way onto outdoor advertising infrastructure, and that, I believe, is exemplified by Prince Media's recent donation of space for Mark Samosonovich. Often, advertising companies will put up signs without obtaining the proper permits from the city of NYC Department of Buildings. They will operate these illegal signs until the highly understaffed DOB finds thier offending signage and begins to levy fines against the company. This can take months, if not years, all the while said company is making money from the illegal sign. It just so happens that all 3 of the locations Prince Media offered for Mark's work were facing DOB sign violations, the most egregious of which can be seen [HERE]
Once a sign is found and a violation has been placed on the building to which the sign is attached, things become a little more serious and continuing to run commercial copy can be a bad idea for business. It is at this point that many outdoor advertising companies, and I believe in this case, Prince Media, offers the space to an artist. Art, not needing a permit, does not accrue more violations, allowing the sign to remain "active" while the company resolves the violation and any fines associated with it. Once a resolution is complete, its back to business as usual, and no more art. What in the beginning looked like a neighborly gesture, turns out to be a self interested ploy to keep potential clients aware of advertising infrastructure while violations and illegal activities are negotiated in court, tying up tax dollars and the DOB legal team.
It is this type of false altruism that I continue to see practiced by the outdoor advertising industry that fuels my belief that monetizing our public walls is inherently problematic for a city. Leaving companies, whose intention is to make money from public eyes in public space, in charge of who gets access to our shared walls, does not work. The motivations are simply misaligned with the public's interests.
Animated GIFs meet augmented reality and street art
I could not be more excited about the launch of the most recent NO AD curatorial project. RJ Rushmore has gathered 13 Gif artists to present the most exciting use of the NO AD technology yet. Each advertisement in the subway this month will trigger the moving image and with that, usher in an expectation that NO AD will continue to reach beyond the static 2D image and present its users with high quality content that takes advantage of this digital format. Visit the site now and get started. www.noad-app.com
A screenshot from Bob-omb, featuring stills of GIF art by James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger) and Dave Whyte.
This month Re+Public is excited to release an all-GIF art update to the NO AD app, in collaboration with RJ Rushmore of Vandalog. NO AD is a free mobile app that uses Augmented Reality technology to resurface New York subway advertisements with art, creating an alternative digital exhibition space. Viewers can discover works of art throughout the city’s subway system. The more stations you visit, the more art you experience. With this update, every piece in the exhibition will be animated, and NO AD will be highlighting GIF art for the first time.
This week, the NO AD app updates to feature Bob-omb, an exhibition of animated GIFs curated by RJ Rushmore. Bob-omb includes 39 of GIFs by 13 individuals and collectives, weaponizing GIF art as a tool for reimaging public space. The artists range from filmmakers to illustrators to journalists, and the variety and depth of their artwork should surprise any viewers who may think that GIFs are primarily for memes and Buzzfeed articles. With this exhibition, NO AD users will be able to take static subway advertisements and transform them into dynamic artworks on their smartphones.
Bob-omb continues NO AD’s history of collaborating with curators to bring new and surprising art to public spaces through Augmented Reality technology. Previous exhibitions in NO AD have included collaborations with the International Center of Photography and Subway Art Blog amongst others. Future updates to the app will highlight additional collaborations with institutions and curators across disciplines. NO AD’s mission is to create an alternative exhibition space for New Yorkers, bringing them closer to the rich cultural content the city has to offer.
The Lamp is an amazing organization that teaches media literacy to young adults, and is run by DC Vito, its executive director. Thier online video editor is used to "break" commercial tv messages and this video shows thier efforts in action during the 2015 Superbowl. While I know this isn't outdoor advertising related, these ads are about as public as they get. Giving students the ability to "talk back" to these often misleading messages, empowers them to think critically about all of the imagery and content intent on altering thier behavior. Visit the Lamp, [HERE]
Over the past year, I have been slowly working on a project that I call PublicAccess. While the project is ongoing and will continue to grow over the coming years, the website is finally finished and ready for users. PublicAccess is a participatory open source project and we hope you get involved.
Nearly every major metropolitan city has an active bus or trolley system. Over the years, this vital public service has become an integral part of the global outdoor advertising industry in the form of bus shelters and other municipal infrastructure. Chances are if a city has meaningful surface transit, a select few global outdoor advertising companies will operate public amenities like bus shelters, for which they have the sole right to display for profit commercial advertising.
This global corporate message stands against our public interest by distracting us from each other in favor of ourselves, invoking our desires to the detriment of our environment, and silencing our public voices by institutionalizing corporate visual expression in our shared public spaces. The PublicAccess project aims to reverse this one-way communication by providing access to municipal infrastructure for public dialogues. Artists and individuals can treat the tools offered through this site as functional sculptures to interject their thoughts into our shared public spaces.
PublicAccess is an ongoing project. We are looking for ways to expand this map, and the tools we can offer. If you do not see your city, or if you can help us fill in this map more accurately, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Lambert has continued to be an inspiration for me over the years in large part because he has been able to so seamlessly work in a multitude of media. Add-Art is a Firefox Plugin he and a few others developed a while back that removes browser ads and replaces them with curated art content. The plugin just got a reboot that you can download [HERE] or simply visit add-art.org for more information. With the update comes a slightly different, and more participatory format. Image databases are downloadable from curators like Rhizome, PublicAdCampaign, and NASA, but anyone can submit an image set themselves. If approved, that new image set is made available online just like the curated sets. I think it's a wonderful update to the original Add-Art and hope PublicAdCampaign users will not only use the Plugin, but also submit thier own imagery for consideration.
I have always thought that advertising, with its interest in monopolizing public dialogue, and thus its tendency to monopolize public spaces, prevented our city from a proliferation of locally derived artworks. After Contest Promotions' (formerly NPA Outdoor) license to operate was revoked in NYC, hundreds of street level advertising signs were removed. The photo above is just one example of artwork filling the hole left after advertising disappears, and proof of what I think is advertisings role in the degradation of the shared common experience of our public spaces.
This is just one of many examples and I will try to remember to snap more photos on my travels about the city.
NO AD app Continues to Bring New Content to the NYC Subways in 2015
With the new year comes new content for the NO AD app. This month, we have an exhibition curated by Jowy Romano called Unlimited Ride, which focuses on artists who use the subway as muse. Following Unlimited Ride, NO AD will present a Gif exhibition and look forward to more exciting content in the months to come. With new projects gearing up, we hope you will download the NO AD app and continue to follow this project in 2015.
Curated by Jowy Romano
The New York City Subway is a source of much frustration for its riders, but it also acts as a source of inspiration for many artists. From its oddly beautiful, dilapidated stations; to its iconic train cars; to its riders from all walks of life—the Subway has unlimited potential as a catalyst for art.
Unlimited Ride, a completely digital art show appearing on the NO AD platform, explores the Subway with a diverse group of artists working in several different mediums. The project includes cartoon portraits by Ami Plasse, sculpture by Brina Thurston, sketches by Elbow Toe, watercolor paintings by Joan Iaconetti, MetroCard mosaics by Nina Boesch, black and white photography by Ramin Talaie, oil paintings by Seth Tane and color photography by Stephen Mallon.
More information about NO AD is available in its initial media release and on its website. The app is available for Apple and Android devices. Download at the links below.
App screenshot. Left: Ramin Talaie, Right Ami Plasse
With that in mind, its important to remember that the fight never ends. Deehubs, a Dubai based startup brings the issue into stark focus with its newest venture into drone based billboard projection and other insidious, manipulative ways to interject commercial content into our public lives.
Paula Rees, of Keep Washington Beautiful made me aware that this Deehubs will be heading to New York after having run a test program in Seattle. Just wanted to say, we are ready to fight in 2015!
New social platform could revolutionize outdoor digital billboard advertising space
VIA: Advertising Age
A Dubai-based startup, Deehubs, has developed a social media platform that connects outdoor digital billboards with audiences in a power play that could deliver the advertising Holy Grail of engagement, interaction and highly targeted commercials. More [HERE]