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This blog is a resource for ad takeover artists and information about contemporary advertising issues in public space. If you have content you would like to share, please send us an email.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Sante Publique - Participatory Civic Media and the Pursuit of a Collective Will

Santé Publique_Film from Clément Fessy on Vimeo.
Lately I have been thinking about the term Participatory Civic Media and what that would look like in practice. For years my work was a reaction to the misuse of our shared public space by advertising. Taking matters into my own hands I practiced a righteous form of civil disobedience in which I allowed myself to trespass on the private property rights of outdoor media companies in order to air my grievances in the court of public opinion. I still very much agree with this type of direct action tactic and feel comfortable advocating for a more lenient understanding of public visual space usage and rights. The PublicAccess project is a good example of my thoughts on the matter. In stark contrast to the broken windows theory, I believe a little anarchy on the streets is a far better scenario than the pristine walls of an over policed well controlled city.

While I would love to convince everyone to participate in the curation of thier shared environment without care for the consequences, I must admit that most people don't see the value in breaking the law to put up pictures on the street, and many people aren't compelled to do so even if it were legal. And yet I truly believe that placing something you have made onto our shared city streets is a worthwhile exercise that can change your relationship to your city. Suddenly you realize that the imagery that surrounds us is part of an attentional economy created by the accumulation of our bodies and eyeballs. Your part in creating this economy gives you rights to it usage that can suddenly feel trampled upon when you realize that advertising has commandeered the majority of our shared public environment, and we have criminalized most non transactional appropriations. Outrage might not be the right word but questioning who gets to use our shared public spaces and who benefits from its usage is the natural progression of ideas after using public space for your own thoughts and desires.
It is therefore incumbent on me to think beyond the civil disobedience projects whose righteous indignation is a good measure of my concern but less useful as a tool for mass persuasion. How can I convince citizens to participate in the curation of thier shared public spaces so that they can reap the benefits of that participation and come to realize their rights as citizens to dictate how thier cities look? The answer seems to be working in more formal ways which set aside the unsavory aspects of how I believe public space should be used in favor of participation above all else.

Last year I bit my tongue and dived head first into the Sante Publique project. After being invited to Sainte Etienne to paste on the Le Mur wall, I was told by the curators that the city had in addition offered me 75 Lollipop advertising pillars. These freestanding advertising venues were operated by a an outdoor advertising company that handled the cities public advertising on bus shelters, trams, and lollipops. As part of their contract with Sainte Etienne, 75 spaces were reserved for broadcasting of cultural events and related messaging and represented the altruism that masked the malevolence which is blanketing a city in advertising to turn a profit for private corporation. By agreeing to use these spaces I would be accepting the current version of public space usage in which private companies controlled the infrastructure on which messages were broadcast, profiting from it greatly, and returning a small bit of that space as an act of kindness to be lauded.

If I had my way we would kick the for profit advertising companies off our streets, treat the attentional economy we all create like the collective resource that it is, and use our shared public spaces to fund a vast network of participatory civic media structures meant to advocate the views of each cities unique citizenry. Baby steps. If that was the goal, I still needed to convince the public that they wanted to participate in the civic media environment. So I agreed and let go of the fact that the Sante Publique project would leave intact the system I was ultimately trying to remove. Instead I concentrated on reaching people who were unlikely to think about our shared public visual environment. bakers, teachers, scientists, singers, poets, secretaries, garbage men, and everyone in between. Instead of using the spaces for my own artwork, I would offer the spaces to these unsuspecting citizens.

The result was a city in which for 1 week 75 unique voices graced the streets and a new way of looking at the public visual environment in Sainte Etienne was established. Participants gained an appetite for seeing thier own thoughts reflected on thier city streets and those who saw thier work were offered an alternative vision in which public space was used by individuals instead of advertising and institutionally sanctioned messages. When the project was over people weren't exactly questioning if the advertising company who sanctioned our project should exist, but they were wondering why their access to public space was limited to a one off art experience. Many people asked if we would repeat the project again next year, and if it would grow to include more participants. I couldn't answer that question for sure but if Sainte Etienne was progressive enough to continue down this path, the eventual result after sustained growth would be a city with little time for the advertising on its streets and a vested interest in the Participatory Civic Media network they had slowly developed over the years.

Huge thanks to Marlene Mendes for collaborating with me on this project and to Ella an Pitr for their initial and continued support. Thanks to Clement Fessy for creating the beautiful documentation. Thanks to Raphael Jonjour and the city of Sainte Etienne for being so progressive and to all of the friends and family that helped make this happen. Last thank you to the 75 participants that took the time to contribute to this project and steward their public spaces. 

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Supreme Angers by Defacing Street Art with ‘Blessed’ Flyposting

Call it supreme street drama. More [HERE]

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New Public Spaces Are Supposed to Be for All. The Reality Is More Complicated.

VIA: NY Times 
Office workers sip coffee beside men sleeping in chairs pulled together. Tourists park their shopping bags where people shoot up heroin, or drink until they pass out. Panhandlers go table to table seeking handouts. Piles of trash, used needles and worse (human feces) have drawn complaints. More [HERE]

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads

VIA: NY Times
Many developers market apps for children as being educational. So Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician who wrote the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for children and media, wanted to check that out. More [HERE]

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Tech Companies Want to Run Our Cities

VIA: Medium

In Rio de Janeiro, a NASA-style control center aggregates data from hundreds of surveillance cameras and sensors built into the city since it partnered with IBM in 2010. In Phoenix, Arizona, Google spin-off Waymo is shuttling workers around in self-driving cars in partnership with the city’s transit network. And in the Chinese city of Xiangyang, advanced facial recognition technology from one of the country’s many surveillance startups gives residents entry to a housing complex while adding to a police database. More [HERE]

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Floating Billboard Barges are the New Reality for LES Waterfront

With the gold rush of the Lower East Side waterfront comes the vultures. Several readers have noticed the recent influx of billboard barges floating across the East River. As this area continues to gentrify, and with the prospect of three new large-scale luxury developments looming, those eyeballs are obviously evermore valuable to advertisers. More [HERE]

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Protests as Sydney Opera House turned into billboard to advertise horse racing

VIA: Dezeen
The Jørn Utzon-designed Sydney Opera House has been lit up with graphics to advertising a horse race, prompting protests from designers and locals.

More [HERE]

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

On Crowded London Streets, Councils Fight a Flood of Phone Boxes

VIA: NY Times
LONDON — The British telephone box is not dead yet. In parts of central London, a box stands sentinel every 100 feet — and if phone companies got their way, they’d plant one every 50 feet.

More [HERE]

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Zaha Hadid Architects transforms the classic billboard into public art

VIA: Archinect
Zaha Hadid Architects has created a new design for street advertising with JCDecaux Group, a multinational corporation known for its bus-stop advertising systems and billboards. Creating a sculptural advertising approach, the firm's design reinvents the classic billboard into public art. Brands have been invited to bid for placement on the 85 by 20 foot screen structure. So far Audi and Coty are the first to sign up. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

‘Reclaiming public space’: How Philadelphians turned ads into art

I am continually baffled by the fact that we clearly want more public art but we still let corporations set the price for access to use our very own shared public spaces.

Almost two months ago, the ads came.

“300 jeeps cheap!” the words in bright yellow lettering blared from nearly 400 Big Belly trash cans around Center City. It’s followed by a 1-800 number for an auto dealership.

Immediately, Philadelphians took notice. Journalist Stephanie Farr tweeted that the ads looked terrible, journalist Jim MacMillan called them hideous. The words “eye sore” were thrown around on Twitter, and within days one can lay in a melted pile on the ground (though it’s unclear whether that was linked to outrage over the ads).

More [HERE]

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Stolen bus shelter portrait of protester submitted in Archibald Prize

VIA: The Age

On a warm evening last November, Melbourne street artist CDH broke into a Moorabbin bus shelter and started furiously spraying an image on to a Streets ice-cream advertisement. Soon after he stole away into the night with the defaced billboard, after convincing a pair of police officers who challenged him that he had “permission”.

More [HERE]

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

New York Today: Getting a Subway Ad

There is something incredibly dystopian and also utopian about beaming in real time moments of collective joy to an entire city.

VIA: NY Times
Good morning on this so-so Thursday.

If you’re reading this on the subway, perhaps you’re sitting (or squished like a sardine) near an ad.

Maybe for a mattress.

Or tampons.

Or a divorce lawyer.

Or college.

For a transit system with about 5.6 million daily riders — an audience of 11 million eyeballs — you can be sure ad space on the subway is coveted real estate.

More [HERE]


Sunday, February 18, 2018

‘New York’ magazine covers become public art in citywide installation

The line between art and commerce on our streets has become so blurred that a New York magazine "Wildposting" campaign can be pitched as a public art program. Wildposting is illegal advertising, or graffiti by another name. When someone wild posts on your property, the image below shows what you have to do in order to avoid fines from the city. I'm not saying I want NY magazine to stop, but I am saying that we need to reevaluate what constitutes proper use of public space and who gets access and who does not.

VIA: Curbed NYC
In honor of New York Magazine’s 50th anniversary, the publication is launching a year-long exhibit showcasing specially-designed New York covers by 50 renowned artists, called simply “A Public Art Project.” More [HERE]

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Berlin Werbefrei - Working On An Ad Free Berlin

I am excited to see Berlin Werbefrei organizing to make Berlin Ad free. It would be incredible to see such a large city make that kind of quality of life decision, in particular because the way advertising litters Berlin seems in some way to be possible because of how tolerance of is a part of the attitude of the city itself.

If you have ever been to Berlin you are familiar with the semi lawless attitude towards how the city is used that has created a thriving public culture. Outdoor beer gardens, heavy use of public parks for socializing, squats, street art, graffiti, bike culture, are all positive examples of a city that is tolerant with how it is described on a day to day basis. This has also led to a lot of advertising, wildposting and other street communications. These ads mix with a healthy dose of public communication that makes the city streets ripe with information and a place for cultural notification and ingestion. 

While getting rid of the ads is a good, no great idea, it should be noted that the type of crackdown on advertising, particularly when it is done under the auspices of quality of life improvement and aesthetic concerns, can have far reaching effects that aren't always positive for a free wheeling town like Berlin. I hope Berlin Werbefrei is able to create a distinction between the advertising that litters the city and the more local public communications that should be considered a vital part of their public culture and deserve amnesty from any impending laws. 

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently.  More [HERE]

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Monday, January 29, 2018

The Propaganda I See on My Morning Commute

Everything we look at, particularly those messages which are put on repeat, should be considered propaganda. This includes the advertising that surrounds us. That propoganda can be a force for good if we control who implements the messages, and how.

VIA: NY Times
BEIJING — People joke that it’s now easier in many Chinese cities to use Communist Party slogans rather than street names to give directions.

More [HERE]

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Campaign to Replace Public Ads with Art Lives on as a Book and an Exhibition

VIA: Hyperallergic
It’s been just over a year since the launch of Art in Ad Places, a guerrilla project to replace a small fraction of the flotsam of display advertising filling the New York cityscape with art. Now that the 52-week public service campaign has run its course, an exhibition of photographs of the public art project shot by street art photographer Luna Park, and an accompanying book, will ensure that the ephemeral project endures. More [HERE]

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Collisions Zine Released

    One of my ongoing personal projects these past few years has been the Collisions series. These photos document simple graphic BW patterns illegally installed into outdoor advertising around the world. On the street, the patterns are intended to grab a viewers attention with an image that has little reference to advertising and is hard to interpret as anything other than an interruption. I am interested in viewers thinking about the act of disobedience, the space around the advertisement, the frame that holds it. I want to create a small amount of room for radical imaginaries to blossom and allow utopian visions to tumble out of simple disruptions of reality.
"In elaborating and image of the future, utopian thought also generates a viewpoint from which the present becomes open to critique."
   I choose the Collisions locations very carefully to create strong, well balanced photographs of the city. I want viewers of the photographs to be able to come back to the imagery over and over again.  I want them to be meditative and an opportunity for believers to renew thier belief.

For those that only see the documentation, the images can be anemic. Proof of the politics that took place on the street isnt immediately recognizable. But hidden within the image itself is a digital video of the street installation viewable through an augmented reality mobile app. In this way the photographs take thier creative politics with them wherever they go, and for me remain charged objects.
  Last year I decided to take the first 15 images from the Collisions series and put them in a small Zine/Booklet. It is a beautiful little signed edition of 400. Three essays by Jeff Ferrell, Thomas Dekeyser, and Carlo McCormick give the imagery unique context and insight. Thier thoughts give credence to the idea that our role as individuals is to push on the margins and expand our collective understanding of the world around us.

Get a copy of this first Collisions Zine [HERE]

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Artist Sells Off Ad Space on a Rauschenberg to Destroy It

VIA: Hyperallergic
Artist Nikolas Bentel is on a mission to destroy an original Robert Rauschenberg in a project intended to emphasize how the art market is, in his words, “a glorified stock market.” Beginning this week, the artist — who is part of the New Museum-led incubator New Inc. — is selling off sections of the artwork as advertising space, so its surface will eventually be covered with an eclectic assortment of images.
More [HERE]

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Civilian Exhibition at HLP

My first solo exhibition with Harlan Levey Projects was titled Civilian, and ran from November 16th to December 27th, 2017. A confluence of events afforded me some extra installation time which I used to prototype a sculptural piece that had been in the back of my mind. I think it really helped the installation and I look forward to creating more sculptural works in the future.

The front room consisted of 3, floor to ceiling, wheatpasted Collisions images. Each of these images augmented which brought you into the public where so much of my work takes place or originates. Below you were 22 bus shelter advertisements taken from the streets of Brussels over the course of a week. The advertisement was for Prima Donna, a women's lingerie company.

In the next room were 4 Labor pieces, 1 large Titan Smash piece, and the aforementioned sculpture which I titled 115 Fluorescent Tubes. Each of these pieces required me to steal advertising infrastructure. The most subtle works were the Labor series which start with me taking the plexiglass that normally lies behind outdoor advertising and which diffuses the fluorescent lights into an even illumination. These pieces of plexiglass are meticulously cleaned and then sanded to take on the appearance of soft marble. I then also take selected advertisements and paint out all of the text leaving only the image or product behind. The sanded plexiglass sheets are then placed on top of the image, one after another, until the image is almost illegible, leaving only the faintest trace for you to decipher.

In contrast to that work was the Titan Smash work which is made by stealing the Titan signs which adorn most NYC phonebooths to label to company who owns the booth. These signs are then smashed, reassembled, and cased in resin so that the sharp edges of the signs protrude from the frames. With all five parts, the piece stood a little over 8' x 4'.

And last was the prototype work that I created on site by removing 115 fluorescent lights from over 40 outdoor advertising locations around Brussels. Over the course of 3 days I carefully walked circles out from the gallery and back along a different path collecting bulbs along the way. Placed on a small stand and middle column that held the ballasts and wiring, the lights were wrapped in black furniture bands and simply stood upright in the gallery. The inner 12 bulbs were illuminated so that the bundle glowed from within.

For me the back room, and in particular the 115 fluorescent light's sculpture excited me as an artist. Had I made the sculpture using purchased materials, it would have been a nice lamp, but having taken the lights without permission I had transformed them into objects that could warrant conversation and dialogue. It was like small alchemy and one of the first pieces that I think is truly whole.

Read a review of the exhibition [HERE]

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Anarchists Poetry Greet Commuters in London

Special Patrol Group started the year off with some illicit anarchist poetry. In 2018 let us all remember that we are many, and they are few. More often than not your troubles are my troubles and mine yours. Solidarity with your fellow man and woman is the only way to build a collective will that could demand equality for all. 
Anarchists greet commuters in London with subversive anti-capitalist poetry on the first day back to work for many.

"Anarchist poetry" was illicitly installed into advertising spaces on the London Underground this morning. The designs mimicked Transport for London's official Poetry on the Underground campaign, in what is thought to be an act of "Subvertising". The poems both have an anti-capitalist theme, and their installation was timed to coincide with what is the first day back to work for many Londoners.

The ad-hack has been claimed by Special Patrol Group, who said:

"We wanted to invite our fellow workers to think about the nature of work under capitalism - especially after we've all just had a few days off. If you don't like it, perhaps 2018 can be the year we act together to replace useless toil with useful work and be done with Bullshit Jobs forever. A three-day week sounds nice, doesn't it?"

The Masque of Anarchy, written in 1832 by English Romantic poet Percy Shelley, has been updated to give it a feminist twist. After a year that saw scandals around the gender pay gap and sexual harassment, Special Patrol Group say they changed the poem to read "Women of England" (where it had previously been addressed to the men of England) to highlight the fact that "women are particularly oppressed by the workplace".

They further explained:

"From shitty pay to sexual harassment, women have the worst of it in the workplace. We hope that will change in 2018." 

The self-described "shadowy subvertising organisation" claimed that hundreds of the posters have been installed on the Underground by a network of autonomous volunteers. The group carried out a similar intervention on the first day back to work in January 2015:



SPG x.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Piccadilly Circus billboard uses recognition technology to deliver targeted adverts

We already knew this was happening but a reminder is always a good idea.

VIA: Dezeen
A new digital billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus uses recognition technology to display targeted advertisements based on the make of passing cars, and the gender and age of pedestrians. More [HERE]

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Smart cities are boring. Give us responsive cities.

It is Tuesday morning in Brussels and I am starting the install of my show at Harlan Levey Projects today. Before I get going on that I read an interesting article sent to me and written by the CTO of a large outdoor advertising and digital infrastructure firm. I have been pitching them a very public use of the infrastructure that he created in the hopes of creating a truly democratic open platform on an outdoor advertising network. I know, I know. Working with the enemy. In some ways yes, and in some ways trying out new ideas that would create the language needed to demand an ad free space that would be required of an open public visual environment. I'll keep you posted and be open with my endeavors cause honesty is the best policy and I am a sucker for criticism, be it my own, or someone else's.

My work has increasingly begun to happen in the digital space, or at least the thinking I am forced to do as digital advertising and the ramifications of digital infrastructure make thier way through the outdoor advertising world. Beyond hacking a digital kiosk, how does one deal with this new infrastructure as an activist? Is there some aspect of digital infrastructure that might provide the kinds of opportunities I seek to replace outdoor advertising? Can digital infrastructure be a shared civic resource in a way that the old billboard could not? I think so, although getting the companies who own these public infrastructures to share them as if they were truly public is a big ask, there are opportunities to do just that around the corner. My interest is ultimately in breaking the stranglehold on public space communication that advertising has tightened over the years so that a renewed democratic civic discourse can take its place and there is something uniquely democratic about a digital screen that can alternate content and provide larger populations with a voice where traditional print media could not.

VIA: Tech Crunch
As an urban technologist, I’m often asked to give an example of a compelling smart city application that real people are using. But to be honest, there really isn’t too much to point to – yet. Cities may be getting smarter, but they haven’t noticeably changed from a user perspective. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MTA Board Bans Alcohol Ads on Subways, Buses and Trains

NEW YORK CITY — The MTA canned the sale of advertising to beer, wine or liquor producers, according to a decision made by board members Wednesday.

The MTA won't sell any new ads for alcohol of any MTA property, which includes Metro-North train cars, subway stations, inside cars, and on MTA buses, members of the authority's board decided at a Wednesday meeting. More [HERE]

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Designing a More Inclusive City

Strategies for exclusion are not so dissimilar to strategies for inclusion. Everywhere you look the built environment is whispering what it wants from you, how to behave and how to feel. This isn't good or bad but like all things should be conscientious and favor all over the few. 


In the 1990s, San Francisco removed all of the benches from Civic Center Plaza. In 2001, all remaining seating in nearby United Nations Plaza was removed in the middle of the night. Over the years, public seating has been removed from virtually the entire city. While this anti-homelessness strategy has given way a little with the emergence of the city’s many parklets, it’s still in full effect. More [HERE]

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vermibus - In Absentia from Vermibus on Vimeo.

Vermibus just released a beautiful new video shot by the talented Xar Lee, called In Absentia. It features his fashion image abstractions in the beautiful Paris subway setting, accompanied by soothing seductive audio. It is a short and seductive look into large scale public project, and of course I also love the fact that the dramatic ending happens at Jourdain station.

He writes. "Deliberating various imposed standards, Vermibus has built a recognizable oeuvre, which culminates with his project entitled “In Absentia”. Works from the project unveil another introspective layer of Vermibus’ work, where macrocosms of consumerism intertwine with microcosms of the artist’s subjective journey into the depths of the self. The project began with the creation of 21 solvent-based posters, each of them bearing an individual inspiration and significance, hidden in the title. As a crown of the series, Vermibus produced an atmospheric video, an autonomous work of art, a clear step forward from the documentary short films he was creating to date. “In Absentia” video is a brooding visual tale about urban life, cleared of every and any distraction, including people, alluding to a plethora of issues the citizens face daily, from visual pollution to personal loneliness. Inspired by one of the biggest subway systems in Europe, the Parisian Metro, the artist installed all the posters on the scene, where the video was shot as well. Asking some of the crucial questions about present reality in the post-truth world, “In Absentia” opened a possibility to observe Vermibus’ work in broader context, surpassing the realm of public urban art."

Vermibus Website [HERE]

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Sunday, October 8, 2017


VIA: Virtute
In a neoliberal world dictated by the cult of the image and the fantasies it generates, how can one escape the visual pollution? Advertising, inherent in consumerism, saturates our gaze, our existence. More and more collectives, associations, tend to be interested in the visual nuisance. How to end a public space punctuated by advertising? How to integrate art in the streets? To denounce the discomfort of a sleeping society is the characteristic of these protestors.

More [HERE]

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Friday, October 6, 2017

LinkNYC Improves Privacy Policy, Yet Problems Remain

Since first appearing on the streets of New York City in 2016, LinkNYC’s free public Wi-Fi kiosks have prompted controversy. The initial version of the kiosks’ privacy policy was particularly invasive: it allowed for LinkNYC to store personal browser history, time spent on a particular website, and lacked clarity about how LinkNYC would handle government demands for user data, among others issues. While CityBridge, the private consortium administering the network, has thankfully incorporated welcome changes to its use policy, several problems unfortunately remain.

More [HERE]

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NYC subway to get thousands of digital ad screens

Looks like the inevitable is happening and the moving image will become a more integral part of your daily commute.

VIA: NY Times
More [HERE]

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How Parks Lose Their Playfulness - And I am baaaack!

I am going to start posting to this site again. It is an effort to keep up with consistent content, even if I am mostly reposting articles, but its worth it. I feel a little naked without it and truthfully, it was Instagram that sapped most of my creative energy away from this little endeavor. Lets see what happens.

VIA; The NY Times
A few years ago, the Hudson River Park Trust floated an idea for a new island. Called Pier 55, it was to be a two-and-a-half-acre wavy rectangle 200 feet off Manhattan reached by two narrow bridges, replacing the remains of Pier 54 near West 14th Street, where the Lusitania used to dock. More [HERE]

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Mural or Billboard? The Dispute Over a Shepard Fairey in Brooklyn Heads Back to Court

A mural by Shepard Fairey, whose iconic “Hope” poster for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign ultimately earned him two years’ probation, is the subject of yet another lawsuit. More [HERE]

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cuomo To Corporate America: Please Adopt A Subway Station

VIA: Gothamist

Governor Andrew Cuomo stood before a room of labor leaders and business interests at an Association for a Better New York breakfast Thursday, flashing a slide decorated with corporate logos: Blackstone, Estee Lauder, Hearst, MasterCard. For contributions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Cuomo said, private business can join these companies in a new initiative to sponsor subway improvements. A separate "adopt-a-subway" program will allow companies to sponsor individual stations. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Collisions Exhibition June 15th 6-9PM Openwalls Gallery

I am very happy to announce that I will be exhibiting the entire Collisions series on June 15th at Openwalls Gallery in Berlin. This ongoing series has been in the making for the past 2 years and includes 15 photographs, each with an augmented reality component. Along side the photographs there will be a small a small amount of ephemera and a beautifully conceived essay by Thomas Dekeyser. Please join us between 6-9pm for the opening reception.

 Collisions: Underground, 2016
 Collisions: Carry On, 2017

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Billboard-sized portraits of ordinary people have Providence residents talking.

I cannot say how much I love and believe in this project. It only happens that the artist teaches at my Alma Mater and the project is happening in Providence Rhode Island. 
VIA: Upworthy
A mechanic named Fernando was thrilled when he got a call that his picture had been blown up and installed on the side of a building.

He wasn't a fashion model or trying to sell anything. He was a mechanic shop owner from Guatemala living in Providence, Rhode Island, and this was all very new to him. It's not every day you see yourself on the side of a building looking out over a busy downtown.More [HERE]

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Two Beers In: A Tipsy Political Round Table

I was excited when Charlie and Cody asked me to come on thier Two Beers podcast a few weeks back. They have interviewed some interesting people and with the two beers format, nothing gets taken too seriously. If you want to know about my work, this is a really good way to get introduced to my thinking. Charlie and Cody ask a lot of great questions and I manage to answer more than a few in ways I can live with.
New episode of Two Beers In out today. We talk to artist Jordan Seiler about the politics behind outdoor advertising. If you need a Trump break, this one is 99% Trump free! Listen [HERE]

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Where's the Boundary Between Public Art and Advertising?

VIA: City Lab
The Fearless Girl and Charging Bull statues have been facing off in Manhattan’s financial district since March 8. The optics are still startling: a girl, fists on her hips, ponytail swaying, stares down a 7,100-pound bull, which stands 11 feet tall and 16 feet long in the heart of one of the world’s most powerful economic centers. More [HERE]

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Operation Key in Hand JCDecaux (Operation clef en main)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Keep Fighting the Good Fight Philly

Philly has a very active citizens front. 

The Philadelphia Parking Authority wants to install 45 billboards in neighborhood parking lots – but community members and activists aren’t happy with the plans. More [HERE]

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Sophie Calle - Double Game "Phone Booth" 1994

I had been planning to attend the Creative Time, Sophie Calle project at the Greenwood Cemetary last weekend for a while. I am excited by participatory work that uses art to fuel a connection with one another, and in this case a beautiful part of NYC. As luck would have it, my friend Luna Park reminded me of a small phonebooth project Sophie did back in the mid 90's. In it she is challenged by Paul Auster to...
"Pick one spot in the city and begin to think of it as yours. It doesn't matter where, it doesn't matter what. A street corner, a subway entrance, a tree in the park. Take on this place as your responsibility. Keep it clean. Beautify it. Think of it as an extension of who you are, as a part of your identity. take as much pride in it as you would your own home."
I adore this sentiment and motivate my work on similar grounds. I really believe that by interacting with, and acting upon the city, we become better stewards of public space and with it grow deeply invested in our cities. It's like a relationship in that way. The more you give, the more the city gives back and a rich public life is the result of a deeply engaged population. For a bit more info on Sophie's project [HERE]

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Crisis of Attention Theft—Ads That Steal Your Time for Nothing in Return

Tim Wu, author of The Attention Merchants has written a compelling article for Wired magazine essentially accusing much of todays public advertising industry of theft. Right on Wu!

VIA: Wired 
By now, it is pretty well understood that we regularly pay for things in ways other than using money. Sometimes we pay still with cash. But we also pay for things with data, and more often, with our time and attention. We effectively hand over access to our minds in exchange for something “free,” like email, Facebook, or football games on TV. As opposed to “paying” attention, we actually “spend attention,” agreeing to the view ads in exchange for something we really want.  Read more [HERE]

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Can Bristol Go Ad Free?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

OX continues to make the best site specific advertising takeover work that I am aware of. I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me. OX's Billboards Project in Cologne from OPEN WALLS Gallery on Vimeo.

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These New Yorkers Are Covering Advertisements with Art

In case you didnt know, working over advertising to demand a more democratic use of our shared public space along with the ideas contained within your message itself, is a thing. AiAP is one of a few public projects making sure thats the case and you should know about what they are doing. 

photo by Luna Park

More [HERE]

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A ‘Members Only’ Public Space in Manhattan? Join the Club

Not about advertising in public space but about the concept more generally. 
During Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, a curious feature of the lobby in Trump Tower in Manhattan became a sideline distraction: Kiosks selling merchandise occupied the open public space where seating should have been. More [HERE]

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ephemeral -- spreading the word!

Lisa Sedano has launched Ephemeral, a mobil app for crowd sourced data collection on advertising and art in LA. One of the main hurdles to public space reform is a lack of understanding about what types of images are priviledged in public space, our personal stake and ownership in our shared environment, and general lack of political participation. Ephemeral seems to engage all three of these issues in an effort to create a public with a more nuanced understanding of the shared environment around them. It's an exciting project and if you are so inclined, donate a few bucks to help make it a reality. [HERE]
Dear friends,

I am excited to announce Ephemeral, a mobile app will let people share pictures of street art and outdoor advertising, creating a collective map and visual archive of the urban landscape. Ephemeral asks community residents to open their eyes to how much outdoor advertising surrounds us and to notice the art that is fighting for space and bringing unique and unexpected moments of creativity to urban life.

Ephemeral builds off my graduate work in geography, for which I designed a website that let people map billboards in Los Angeles. At the time, the city had an inventory of billboards, but was refusing to release it publicly under political pressure from advertisers. I created a crowdsourced webmap of billboards, believing that the community could create what money and politics had stopped the city from doing (and I sued the city to release the inventory!).

For many people, billboards are just “what a city looks like.” Street artists offer a counter-narrative to the corporatized city, directly engaging with consumer society in their work. Artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey have brought attention to street art – to the power of provocative, surprising, creative expression in public space. The aim of Ephemeral is to preserve all types of transitory art in the public realm, from wheatpaste posters, to murals, to hijacked billboards, to hand-knit cozies on objects of infrastructure, as well as the advertising that we take for granted.

Ephemeral will be free to download and use, to truly harness the power of the community, but right now, it needs your help to come to fruition! I would be so grateful if you could visit the Kickstarter page at http://kck.st/2oC6F56, offer any support you can (there’s a slew of neat rewards to collect, starting at donations of $1), and share the project with your friends.

Any support you can offer is incredibly important and sincerely appreciated. And please let me know what you think! I would love to hear from you.


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Friday, April 14, 2017

Behold North Korea’s Bizarrely Majestic Bus Stops

It is true that the images that we choose to surround ourselves with create meaning and effect us in subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways. It seems even North Korea knows this and uses bus shelters to push its own idealogical agenda. In a fantastic series of photographs, both for their photographic quality and subject matter, Ed Jones captures the landscapes, agricultural scene and industrial marvels that the North Korean government wants its citizens to reflect on. While I wont go so far to say that I would rather our own government use bus shelters to reflect the states interests and allure, there is something revealing about North Korea's use of bus shelters. All imagery is propaganda in some form or another and since public space is ours, it only seems right to me that the public itself should choose what that propaganda is pushing.

VIA: National Geographic

More [Here]


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Everybody Paintings Get 4 NYC Locations

Lamar has been donating/selling space to the Everybody billboard project. I honestly cant tell what is up and what is down anymore. I know for a fact that the people who run most billboard companies are not bad people. I also know that they are not in the business of creating democratic artistic platforms for expression. Often the explanation for why a piece of art showed up on a billboard is less "we thought some art would be nice" and more "we had some extra space so why let it go to waste and make our clientele think we cant keep our inventory rented." Right now I am too tied up with other things to sleuth on this project so you can judge for yourself. More [HERE]

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      Death+Life of American Cities