Friday, September 19, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
New BR1 In Torino Italy
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Prada Marfa Saved from Possible Closure as Illegal Advertisement
Glad to hear this gem was not removed for such dubious reasons as "illegal outdoor advertising".
“Prada Marfa” by Elmgreen and Dragset (photo by Marshall Astor/Wikimedia)
The Texas Department of Transportation has withdrawn its charge of illegal advertising against Prada Marfa, arts organization Ballroom Marfa announced in a public statement. A popular roadside attraction in the remote West Texas town of Marfa, the simulated Prada storefront — commissioned by Ballroom Marfa and installed in 2005 by the British artists Elmgreen & Dragset — was threatened by the state of Texas under illegal advertising statutes in September 2013. Link [HERE]
Thursday, September 11, 2014
The NO AD Mobile App is Finally Here
For the past several years I have been working with BC Biermann on Augmented Reality projects under the title Re+Public. Today, in collaboration with Jowy Romano of The Subway Art Blog, we launch NO AD. This mobile app brings together years of illegal street art antics and my fascination with AR's ability to completely alter our relationship to public space. Below is the gist of the press release we sent out, but I wanted to discuss some of my personal thoughts on the project here as well. If you aren't familiar with NO AD, you might watch this VIDEO before reading this post.
NO AD is complicated. It is born out of an interest in getting rid of advertising and replacing that visual content with something better, be it art or whatever else a city might come up with to adorn its own walls. It also shares a history with ad takeover street art work that physically replaces ads with art, initiatives like the artiviser, and Add Art. And yet in practice, NO AD really makes you look at the ads as you try to determine which ones you have already triggered in your pursuit of the new art content strewn across the subway system. It's a little technical issue that should be addressed.
In fact all ad takeover work seems to have this same issue lurking in its shadows. When we do work in bus shelters and take on that medium, we attract attention to those same shelters we did not takeover as the public pursues our street work around the city. It's inevitable that we bring unwanted attention to ads in the process. One hopes that despite the increased consumption of advertising caused by our anti advertising activities, a language of dissent is being established that did not exist before. Maybe you ingested a few more ads, but at least you can envision the alternative.
So on the one hand, I hope NO AD serves as an example of what could be as a lot of anti advertising work does. In the same way AR is being used to show you what that coffee table will look like in your living room, or how that eyeshadow color will jive with your complexion, NO AD shows us what our transit system might look like if we had a choice.
While NO AD currently suffers from your need to actually engage ads to use it, wearables will make this issue moot. If I was wearing a heads up display and running NO AD, it would be a functional ad-blocker for public space. This is something I am very interested in and yet something that makes people very uncomfortable. As artists try to alter public space for the better, we make physical changes that effect everyone. Sometimes that effect is a point of contention, but in general the process is a public dialogue between what works and what doesn't for the larger population. A wearable NO AD app side steps this entire drama and puts everyone in control of thier own public space in an oddly disengaging and separating way. No longer are public space issues publicly negotiated, they are just augmented away.
An augmented world is a scary proposition but not one that we can deny is right around the corner. I think NO AD embraces this issue early on and I hope it is a discussion point. What do we allow an augmented public space to look like as a public? What would it mean for us socially if we allowed an app to augment out the homeless? Its a relevant question that the future is going to throw at us so we should probably start thinking about our answers now.
Given all of the issues surrounding NO AD's effectiveness as a true ad blocker, and its ushering in a future public space doomed to separate us all, as a way to bring art to New York it works pretty damn well. I hope NO AD is able to fulfill my goal of being updated with very different content every month, curated by individuals, institutions and other wacky organizations. A lot of New Yorkers do not take advantage of the immense arts resources NY has to offer, myself included. We also spend a huge amount of time commuting through our underground rivers. If this app can use the ad infrastructure to bring massive amounts of constantly changing, 2D, 3D, film, music, and other media, I think it fulfills its role as being a useful tool. The other dark waters it stirs are what makes it art. Enjoy!
VIMEO LINK: https://vimeo.com/105301636
New York City has one of the largest and most robust transit networks in the world with a subway system spanning 468 stations throughout the five boroughs. On average, there are over 4 million daily rides, making the subway system by far the most used form of transit in New York City. Littered throughout almost every station is a repetition of movie, television, product, and alcohol ads, which take advantage of NY’s immense captive transit audience and turn our daily commute into one long commercial for the latest products and commercial messages. For a city that prides itself on being a leading cultural center, and despite the valiant efforts of our MTA arts programming, New York City subways seem to lack a cultural richness befitting this great metropolis.
NO AD, created by Re+Public (PublicAdCampaign + The Heavy Projects) in collaboration with Jowy Romano of Subway Art Blog, aims to remedy this imbalance by using the preexisting advertising infrastructure as a new digital exhibition space. Users are encouraged to download the free iOS or Android app to their smart devices. Once the app is running, simply pointing your device at any of the 100 most widely circulating subway platform advertisements will cause the device to overlay curated digital art content, creating an augmented experience that blocks unwanted advertising. (See below for the specific subway platform advertising format NO AD works on)
Because the advertising is constantly changing in the subways, so too will the content users see through the app. Each week NO AD will auto update, replacing the new advertisements with original content. In an effort to keep the user experience fresh, we will collaborate with prominent cultural institutions to drastically alter the nature of the content offered, from street art, to photography, to music, poetry, and moving images, you can expect the NO AD app to continually provide new content.
We intend NO AD to bring a rich variety of cultural content to users and integrate itself into your daily commute. It is, however, not by chance that we do this using the preexisting advertising infrastructure. Overexposure to commercial has been linked to our behavior and psyche, with studies from the PIRC suggesting “…that advertising may be encouraging society to save less, borrow more, work harder and consume greater quantities of material goods.” This behavior, in turn, puts an unnecessary burden on our environment and ourselves as we forgo personal experiences for material obsession. We see NO AD as a precursor to a viable physical ad blocking software that, used in conjunction with soon to be available heads up display technologies, will drastically alter our relationship to visual imagery in our shared public spaces.
Test NO AD by clicking on the links above to install and then testing on the image below.
A huge thanks to the artists that provided the amazing content for the first month of this app: Adam Amengual – Amy Arbus-Beau Stanton – Caroline Caldwell – Dadi Dreucol – Dal East – Dan Bergeron – Daniel Jefferson – Dr. D - Elizabeth Winnel – Elle – El Tono – Faith 47 – Hugh Lippe – Ian Strange – Icy and Sot – Influenza – Jay Shells – Jeff Stark – Jilly Ballistic – John Fekner – Jon Burgerman – Jordan Seiler – Know Hope – Leon Reid IV – LNY – Logan Hicks – Luna Park – Mario Brotha – Michael Alan – Michael De Feo – Mobstr – Neko – Noxer – Nuria Mora – OX – Pedro Sega – Peter Fuss – Poster Boy – Remi Rough – Ron English – Rone – Saber – Sean Martindale – Sheryo – Skullphone – Stikman – Stormie Mills – Tara McPherson – Tod Seelie – Trap – Vermibus – WK Interact – Work Hard Be Nice
Monday, September 8, 2014
In Cities Across Texas, Activists Battle Billboard Companies
Ever since its passage, scenic activists and billboard companies have been at war over the views along American highways. The outdoor advertising industry says its signs are informational, and helpful to local businesses. Open-space advocates call them "sky trash" and "litter on a stick."
The battle continues today. You can see it on the roads of Texas, where more than 350 towns and cities have banned new billboards — but billboard companies continue to push for taller and more technologically advanced signs. More [HERE]
Friday, September 5, 2014
STREET ARTISTS HIJACKING BUS SHELTERS WITH IMPUNITY
VIA: Animal NYKaws on the map in the late 1990s and a practice that has been used sporadically since, although lately, it’s happening with increasing frequency. And there’s a very specific reason why. More [HERE]
Thursday, September 4, 2014
NOTNN - "AD RIPS"
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
How Rude: New Work By Mobstr
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
All Across America, Artists Are Taking Over Billboards
VIA: The NY Times Magazine
Scenic America, a group devoted to “preserving and enhancing the visual character” of the country. But while preservationists deride the billboard, artists have long been intrigued by it for its role in American highway culture. (Besides, what artist wouldn’t want a 300-square-foot canvas with a guaranteed audience?)More [HERE]
Monday, August 18, 2014
ART Everywhere - A Half Baked Attempt to Bring Culture to Our Cities
Art Everywhere is a collaboration between the OOH industry and 5 major American museums. The contributors should tell you a lot about who plans to benefit from the initiative. Thier stated goal is to bring art to the people across multiple advertising formats throughout the month of August, but thier true intentions are to entrench the current system of public image consumption and outdoor advertisings control of our shared visual environment. It seems like a campaign of this nature crops up every year or two to rave reviews and public applause as the altruism of a benevolent industry showers us with its good graces and culture to boot.
PBS, NPR and a few other news outlets have weighed in on the topic and some critics are underwhelmed, and rightly so. The museums involved speak of increasing attendance, which is already at record highs, while bringing culture to an audience that might not otherwise enjoy such masterful works. While this might be a good idea in practice, the art presented doesn't carry the weight of a true artistic endeavor but references an artwork that is probably worth going to see in real life. while I would agree that the art images are better than the advertising, what we pay for this glimpse into what could be is far more than the benefits of a few less ads.
What I find interesting about campaigns like this is that they openly admit to the fact that our current system of public space image consumption is wildly skewed towards commercial messaging and we are in desperate need of a little culture on our streets. What campaigns like this don't speak about, and in fact attempt to distracts us from, is that the reason we have so little culture on our streets is that the OOH industry likes it that way. They have for all intents and purposes bought up our public visual landscape and are using our visual attention to reap huge profits from those corporations willing to pay for that attention. Any fundamental change to this system would get in the way of a very lucrative business model and therefore it is worth it to spend a little money printing up Degas in an effort to quell any of our objections.
As a public it is our responsibility to realize this type of altruism is a distraction meant to turn our attentions away from the fact that our public walls are not in fact public but commercially operated ad venues. A truly democratic visual public environment would have no need for an Art Everywhere program as the citizens of our cities would litter our streets with the culture of our cities bringing a lot more than oil paintings to our mass transit systems but rather real dialogue and issues of local concern.
on a side note, many Art Everywhere ads have an Augmented Reality component run by a company called BlipAR. this cloud based recognition system scans the "artwork" which can take up to a minute. Once it recognizes the work it puts a cheesy frame around the work and an audio guide tells you a little about the piece. My obvious interest in AR had me testing these all over the city and I can't wait to launch NO AD and show this big company how to truly do Augmented Reality in NYC.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
PUBLICation from FORM in Perth, WA
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Abner Preis in a NYC Bus Shelter - 2014
I recently had the privilege of hanging out with Abner Preis for a few days and we managed a moment to get out and put up a shelter piece using one of his burn portraits. I love the scale of the image and the obvious hand worked quality of the original. Abner doesn't do "street" work in the same way most other artists featured on this site do, so I was happy to see his reaction to his work in this unexpected location. See more of Abner's work [HERE]
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Ankles Phonebooth Takeover Video
Monday, July 28, 2014
BR1 Using Public Access Tools in Far Off Lands
BR1 just sent me these images from Torino Italy. We had a a chance to catch up while he was in NY and I made sure he left with a few keys to use on his travels. Looks like they have begun to come in handy and I am excited to see more ad takeovers resulting from the Public Access key production.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
"It's about the aesthetics to the production of emotions without the need for explanations": OX in Paris
Friday, July 18, 2014
Highline Hit By Poster Boy - WTF Is Street Art Anyways?
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Artist Talk with +Art at Judson Memorial Church July 17th
I was asked to give a short artist talk on my work as artist/activist, this upcoming Thursday July 17th. If you are in NYC, stop by the Judson Memorial church and say hello. There are several wonderfully interesting speakers and +Art's non-profit goals of engaging serious social issues through artistic interventions is a worthwhile cause to support.
Also a link to the speaker information on More Art's webpage: [HERE]
Monday, July 7, 2014
Spending Time With Friends - 3 New Works
Monday, June 30, 2014
Strange Bedfellows - Art and Advertising in Dresden
The city of Dresden, along with Stroer outdoor advertising, is holding an open submission for artwork to be placed on 50 billboards around the city. It sounds like a good idea to bring more art to the streets and in the process eliminate a lot of advertising, if only briefly. The only problem is this initiative is promoted by an outdoor advertising company not in the business of making art happen, but rather money. Something must be amiss if they are offering free space.
It seems that with the rise in popularity of street art and now this sub genre, developers and business interests are seeing a symbiotic relationship as opposed to an adversarial one. Instead of buffing graffiti and street art before plopping a bunch of condos down in an up and coming neighborhood, developers invite those same artists to "decorate" the area and give it the bohemian sheen they need to attract deep pocketed buyers. Once those condos are sold, the artists find that thier work is no longer needed and thier actions are again subject to the full extent of the law. Likewise with the anti advertising sub genre, billboard companies are inviting artists to use thier infrastructure in what I see as an effort to revitalize thier dying medium and bring new eyes to what most of us try to avoid like the plague.
Like the old saying goes, "If you can't beat em, offer them professional exposure and watch as they abandon all of thier moral codes."
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Woman 'Shocked & Menaced' By Dexter Subway Ad Sues MTA & Showtime
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Westward Exhibition: Billboard Art Unfolds Across America
The following article comes to you from the great internet art resource Hyperallergic.Art Everywhere, a massive exhibition that will bring reproductions of artworks to advertising spaces around the country in August, decided via a public vote. This morning the artwork with the most votes was announced: Edward Hopper’s famous diner scene, “The Nighthawks” (1942). Not the most surprising choice. Give the people what they want. The people want what they know. More [HERE]
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Now That's a Bus Advertisement
Friday, June 13, 2014
A Critique of Our Intentions Worth Taking Seriously
Kyle Magee runs a site called Global Liberal Media Please, that basically chronicles his very serious protest against outdoor advertising and its role in the corporate takeover of what should be a global media democracy, but is instead privately funded entertainment in service of global capitalism. He gets arrested, and pleads his case as a serious public protest against a failing media system that is encouraging the devastation of our planet and the subjugation of our masses. He does this through the court system and finds himself in jail, locked up for expressing his very dire concerns about how our shared public environment is being misused. His incarceration largely for the temporary and very reversible damage to a few outdoor advertising structures owned by large multinational companies. It is kind of a travesty and to someone like me a constant reminder that at the heart of what I call an art project is a very serious issue whose resolution would have widespread benefits for everyone.
Kyle wrote a criticism of the Brandalism project, of which I was a part, not as an art critique but as a political critique encouraging a dialogue. He can be rough around the edges if you have thin skin but every word he has written rings true to me. I hope his concerns are taken seriously as his actions have proved him to be a figure who stands up for what he does and believes.
brandalism isn’t the only organised bunch of naughty street artists who are willing to clean up for-profit ads in public space even though the stupid law says no — there’s also, to mention just a couple, the public ad campaign in new york and the empty project of madrid — and there is also quite a few street artists (many of whom involved in brandalism) going out on their own to replace for-profit ads with the real expressions of actual human beings who, presumably, do not wish to cause you any psychological/physical harm that happens to be profitable. More [HERE]
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
PUBLIC ACCESS - key archive and tool production
A few years ago I was in Norway for NuArt. The festival brought me to Stavanger to cause a scene in downtown by removing every bus shelter advertisement and replacing it with artwork illegally. For a state sponsored arts festival that puts a huge part of its budgets behind large scale mural productions in a small oil rich town, I was happily surprised by my invitation and how progressive they showed themselves to be with that choice. There was one problem, I had no idea how to break into the ad infrastructure in Norway. Luckily for me volunteers were able to send me photos, take measurements, and generally help me figure out what I needed to make before I got on a plane.
I left for Norway equipped with a new tool I assumed would give me access to every shelter I would need access to, in order to blanket downtown. Upon arrival in Stavanger it became immediately clear that what we thought was the key, was in fact an aberration. I now know that many cities have several different keys that open infrastructure installed at different times. New models of bus shelters can have wildly different opening methods and Stavanger was no different. The more ubiquitous tool, and the one that would allow me to blanket downtown, was not in my possession and I had to figure it out fast.
After gathering some random hardware supplies, I was able to hand craft a tool that provided me access to the rest of Stavanger's infrastructure. I became excited by my resourcefulness and ease with which these keys could be made, even on the fly. Traveling over the next few months, I began to notice that this new key I had crafted in Stavanger was in fact quite universal, giving me access to advertising infrastructure all over Europe. In fact, with outdoor advertising run by a few large multinational corporations, a key that worked in Hong Kong, might also work in Tel Aviv and the idea for PublicAccess was born.
For the past two years I have been using my travels as an opportunity to build an archive of keys that open advertising infrastructure all around the world. The photos below are a selection of cities which I have gained access to, the list growing as I move around or work with artists from cities I have never been. The idea at this point is to make this archive available to anyone who wants it. I have in fact been giving these keys away slowly to personal requests. Over the next few months I will be creating a dedicated website for this project. The website will include a world map with accessible locations, a way to purchase the keys for a small donation, as well as 3d printable files and instructions. My hope is to make advertising takeover work easier for those who might want to get involved but don't know where to begin. As the keys are used and documentation of thier use is gathered in one place, I see this projects final stage being the exhibition of photographic documentation of work made using the archive that I have created. More info to follow as the website is finalized and this project goes fully live.
PublicAccess - Shanghai, China
PublicAccess - Washington, DC
PublicAccess - Saint Louis, Missouri
PublicAccess - Oakland, California
Monday, June 9, 2014
Re+Public in Austin, TX and Perth, WA
Over a month ago we returned from a bit of travel and are only now getting around to posting about it. Apologies for the delayed report but better late than never.
The Heavy Projects. You can visit our website [HERE] but long story short it is an investigation into Augmented Reality as a tool for public space media creation, and curation.
At a point in the not too distant future, many of us will be wearing smart glasses and other forms of heads up displays. These wearable smart phones will allow a level of digital overlay onto our daily lives that will have drastic effects on the way we experience public space. While there are arguments for and against this technology, heads up displays will be ubiquitous wether you like it or not. The upside, and reason for our initial interest in AR, is that you may one day be able to digitally opt out of outdoor advertising signage by simply running a digital ad blocking app.
With this core interest in mind, we began exploring AR's capabilities several years ago by helping other artists create digital interactive components to thier physical 2d murals. This was a way for us to familiarize ourselves with the unique capabilities of AR, its ability to integrate into the 3d environment, use interactivity and data collection to engage the user, turn static imagery into time based narrative media, and leap into the past through historical digital overlays.
Recently we were asked to take those skills and apply them to two murals of our own design in Austin Texas, and Perth, Western Australia. While these explorations do not constitute anti-advertising work, nor do they challenge ideas about who has access to our shared media environment, they are part of a process of investigation which will bring this technology to bear on those core PublicAdCampaign interests. We hope to bring you news of new AR anti-advertising initiatives soon. Until then enjoy the pretty pictures. We had a blast!
Re+Public digital interactive bus shelter for PUBLIC festival - Perth, WA
Re+Public digital interactive bus shelter for PUBLIC festival - Perth, WA
This year we were also invited to SXSW interactive to do a enormous wheat pasted mural measuring 84'x34'. This was our first real foray into mural making at this scale and we were excited that we got the thing on the wall, let alone that the locals seemed to like it. A big thanks to the IEEE, and Qualcomm for helping to offset the cost of this murals production.
Re+Public digital interactive mural for SXSW Interactive - Austin, TX
Expect a new Re+Public mural in NYC come mid September. Until then we will keep you posted about less frivolous endeavors with Augmented Reality as soon as we can.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
If We Are Confessing Our Sins, I Stole This Image
Cabinet, when I stumbled across the above image of a nun. I don't know what prompted me to do so, but I pulled out my phone, snapped a blurry picture and it ended up getting printed. I leave it to you on this Sunday afternoon to determine what the extent of my sins are.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
UC Berkely Class Talk and San Francisco/Oakland Bus Shelter Access
Me and the UC Berkeley students in front of a takeover in Oakland, CA. 2014
At the end of April I was in Oakland visiting a group of students at UC Berkeley California. The students were wrapping up a seminar class on the philosophy of street art taught by an old high school friend of mine, Seth Yalcin. I haven't spoke to Seth since high school and he found my work when he was forced to watch This Space Available on a leg of his flight home. The documentary was a larger investigation of outdoor advertising's role in public space and the various actors that fall on every side of the debate. I guess his interest was peaked and shortly thereafter he got in touch about putting together a syllabus.
Students seemed to come from a few different disciplines, including urban planning and development, which I was happy to see. We spoke for about an hour in class and then went out to the streets for a quick little action. I absolutely love teaching and working with students of all ages. The energy and enthusiasm, in most students, is infectious.
Market Street, San Francisco 2014
While I was in Oakland I made sure to get out in San Francisco to test some of the infrastructure there and see what was accessible. There are a plethora of bus shelter and free standing advertising frames littered throughout the city operated by Clear Channel. It didn't take long before two trips to the hardware store had fashioned the elusive 5 sided tamper proof bit that is required to open most of these structures.
Hand crafted tool for San Francisco Clear Channel advertising
Mission Street public restroom 2014While in San Francisco, I noticed that JCDecaux operates the public restrooms sporadically strewn around Bart Station entrances. I carry all of my keys with me on my travels so I quickly replaced this advertisement to show that I could. Slowly an archive of keys is building which will be put online in the coming months as the PublicAccess project.
Mission Street public restroom 2014
Mission Street public restroom 2014