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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.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

At Bus Stops Around San Francisco, Radiant Photos of the City’s LGBTQ Communities

VIA: Hyperallergic

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s Financial District isn’t the busiest part of town on the weekend. That’s doubly true in late 2020 as the Bay Area teeters on the brink of a second coronavirus lockdown. Walking along Market Street from Embarcadero to Civic Center, most of the people I encountered along one of the city’s primary thoroughfares are unhoused. I tried not to disturb anyone who was sitting or sleeping along the route while completing my appointed task: looking at bus shelter posters. As I walked, I thought about how we define family and community, and how we look after one another in crisis.

 More [HERE]

Friday, November 20, 2020

Poetry Friday: Virtual Telepoem Booth

In this week’s installment of Poetry Friday, we bring back Elizabeth Hellstern, inventor of the Telepoem Booth, a vintage rotary phone booth where you can dial numbers from a directory and listen to recorded poems. To date, Elizabeth has curated more than a dozen Telepoem Booth installations across the country and recorded nearly a thousand poets reading their work. She has a new book out called, Missed Calls and Other Poetry. It was supposed to coincide with the opening of more Telepoem Booths, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put that on hold for public safety reasons. So, Elizabeth has created an interactive online project to experience the Telepoem Booths while they’re temporarily shut down. Here is Elizabeth Hellstern, with poets Chris Green and Jesse Sensibar, in this week’s Poetry Friday segment. More [HERE]

Cutting-Edge Art Takes Over Soon-to-Be-Obsolete New York Phone Booths in Outdoor Exhibition

 VIA: Art News

Can a phone booth become an art space? That was the question artist Damián Ortega and Bree Zucker, director of New York’s Kurimanzutto gallery, had in mind when they organized “TITAN,” an exhibition in which 12 artists’ works are situated in phone kiosks on Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan (through January 3). More [HERE]

VIA: The New Yorker [HERE]

ew York City’s pay phones are obsolete, and, by early next year, they will also be history—removed to make way for Wi-Fi kiosks. Through Jan. 3, a dozen artists (including Glenn Ligon, Patti Smith, and Jimmie Durham, whose contribution is pictured above) are making creative use of phone booths along Sixth Avenue, from Fifty-first to Fifty-sixth Streets. The project, called “Titan,” was co-curated by Damián Ortega and Bree Zucker, in collaboration with the Kurimanzutto gallery. More [HERE]

Monday, November 16, 2020

Open JCDecaux ads World Wide 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Black Plague: Coronavirus Takes Over Israel's Billboards

VIA: Haertz
With advertising coming to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of the billboards across Israel have turned into empty black displays. Now a personal art project suddenly became a news item. More [HERE]

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Monday, April 27, 2020

‘A Seismic Shock’: Jittery Companies Pull Back on Ads During Pandemic

Without an audience to steal attention from, advertising goes dark. 

Blank billboards and canceled online ads signal an industry in crisis as the coronavirus spreads. “There are things happening that we’ve never seen before,” one marketing executive said. More [HERE]

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Friday, April 24, 2020

The Humble Phone Call Has Made a Comeback

Alyssa MacKenzie, 32, rarely used her smartphone to make phone calls, apart from the occasional conversation for her work as a disability rights advocate. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Why Open Public Space is Central to a Vibrant, Democratic Society and How the Corona Virus Threatens to Divide Us

Why Open Public Space is Central to a Vibrant, Democratic Society and
How the Corona Virus Threatens to Divide Us

I just did an interview with public radio in Boston about the public space implications of the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.  The reporter was interested in what we will do without our “third spaces,” the places that we frequent every day and that give structure to our lives.  I don’t know about you, but we still drive to our coffee place and now instead of sitting down and having breakfast, take out our coffee and sit at the beach to drink it.  

Public space offers the daily glue by which we come into contact with diverse and different people who make up our social world. There is 30 years of ethnographic research evidence that public space is a major contributor to a flourishing society through promoting social justice and democratic practices, informal work and social capital, play and recreation, cultural continuity and social cohesion, as well as health and well-being.

But during this 'virus' moment we are all experiencing a shrinking sense of the world and focusing more on our own families, neighborhoods, cities and states as we translate the numbers of Covid 19 patients and increasing numbers of deaths into the risks that we are facing individually.  This isolation tears the fabric of our lives and exposes how dependent we are on one another for our well-being and happiness and how interconnected our networks are in our local communities.

Most of my older friends are suffering from isolation and loneliness because they can’t go to their neighborhood gym to workout, meet in their local bar to talk at the end of the day or attend classes at their church or synagogue. The number of calls I make to my family and friends has increased and I treasure my online courses and meetings with students.  

I expect that those ties will remain intact regardless of how long this persists as we are actively “missing them” in a palpable and visible way.

However, what I am more concerned about (and I heard myself say to the interviewer) is the impact on the use of public spaces that are now deemed dangerous because of the possibility of coming into contact with those who might be infected.  Similar to people who live in a gated community, each time we walk outside we are reminded by the media not only to wash our hands but to exercise social distancing and avoidance.  While this is certainly prudent advice, we need to ask what the long-term impact will be on the fragile ties that weave a complex society together. 

Just the daily separation of us and them (or “people like us” and “others”) becomes a pattern that is expanded into increased segregation and with it less tolerance, more fear and greater prejudice.  What then might be the consequence of fearing that others may be contagious and unknowingly cause us harm?  I expect that social distancing could be a new norm, recruited for other purposes and feed into already festering class and racial anxiety, now in a “medicalized” form.  And what about the xenophobia of calling it a “Chinese virus” and recent attacks on

“Chinese” people simply because our President has associated a nation with the initial infection.  Where does this kind of thinking and daily practice lead? A “booster shot” to the already increasing xenophobic, racist hate crimes that predated the viral threat?

All this is to say that not only is our physical, mental and economic health being challenged, but also our social health that depends on ongoing interaction with people who are different in a multiplicity of ways.  Psychologists have demonstrated that such contact has a liberalizing effect and increases creativity. 

I think in these difficult days that it is more important than ever to think about the various challenges that we face, and to not retreat into separate “clean” places for some and “dirty” ones for others.  Instead I suggest that we consider the bases of resilient communities and the lessons we can learn from them.

Resilient communities are flourishing, connected, and based on a human and non-human ecological network that is adaptable, flexible and responsive. This useful conceptualization draws upon ideas drawn from positive psychology, contact theory and human ecology. Positive psychology studies the strengths and attributes that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Seligman and Csikszentmikhalyi provide evidence that flourishing is comprised of encouraging positive emotions, engagement through activities, relationships with other people, meaning and purpose, and accomplishments. Contact theory demonstrates how face-to-face interaction promotes social cohesion while ecological multispecies models emphasize the importance of networks for the health of interconnected ecosystems.

To these psychological and biological considerations, my research adds social justice as a critical additional component, which at the individual level is sense of fairness, but at the community and societal level is composed of social inclusion and belonging, cultural representation, recognition of difference, and an ethic of caring.

Public space is the major site of social interaction, contact and connection in our society. Failing to appreciate its importance and its promise as we practice social distancing and relocate our social lives to a virtual realm, also puts us at risk. I suggest that we remember and continue to celebrate what we are temporarily losing so that when we can come together again, we appreciate its power to improve our lives.

Setha R. Low is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Psychology, Geography, Anthropology, and Women’s Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is also director of the Public Space Research Group. Dr. Low is the author of 15 books, including Spaces of Security and Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America (Routledge, 2003, first edition ). She is currently writing the forthcoming Why Public Space Matters, which is under contract with Oxford University Press.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine Chat

I have been working on a project called Talk To Me which refurbishes old NYC payphones to become serendipitous points of communication between strangers. Dispersed throughout the 5 boroughs, TTM phones will sit idle until a passerby decides to activate the network by picking up one of the receivers. Once that happens, the other phones in the network begin to ring with the hopes that another passing stranger will answer the call. It is a simple concept meant to bring strangers into communication and link disparate communities throughout the 5 boroughs.

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, the project has been put on indefinite hold as I wait to see how our public presence and willingness to interact with one another changes over time. I hope that eventually the project will make sense again and that I will be able to implement it some time next year.

In the meantime, Download Quarantine Chat [HERE] and talk to a stranger once a day while you are in self isolation. It isn't completely serendipitous since you have to sign up to participate, but its an interesting opportunity to explore the power of stranger interaction and what it means to reach out to your neighbors, or be there when your neighbors reach out to you.

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Bushfire Brandalism - 41 AUS Artists take to the streets in 3 AUS Cities

#BushfireBrandalism from Partier Bresson on Vimeo.

As a collective group of Australian artists, we have been driven to reclaim public advertising space with posters speaking to the Australian government’s inaction on climate change and the devastating bushfires. We do not accept that this situation is ‘business as usual’.

We are making these issues visible in our public spaces and in our media; areas monopolized by entities maintaining conservative climate denial agendas. If the newspapers won’t print the story, we will! #Bushfirebrandalism [More HERE]

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Planet Money #964 Billboards

Surveillance capitalism is a threat to democracy, free will, and just about everything you hold dear. If that sounds alarmist, take some time to look into it because I promise you it is not. When the data exhaust you produce is harnessed for profit, every decision you make will be the result of something you have seen or heard that was intentionally put in front of you for someone else's benefit. Saving 20% on a new pair of shoes just isn't worth the price.


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You Are Now Remotely Controlled

The debate on privacy and law at the Federal Trade Commission was unusually heated that day. Tech industry executives “argued that they were capable of regulating themselves and that government intervention would be costly and counterproductive.” Civil libertarians warned that the companies’ data capabilities posed “an unprecedented threat to individual freedom.” One observed, “We have to decide what human beings are in the electronic age. Are we just going to be chattel for commerce?” A commissioner asked, ‘‘Where should we draw the line?” The year was 1997. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

In Poland, a young artist transforms an abandoned bus shelter into a giant herbarium

Not anti-advertising, but in one of our favorite city locations.

VIA: Creapills

A little green, in the middle of a concrete city : it always stands out. But what better way to bring a little nature into the lives of its inhabitants? This is a well thought out initiative, both artistic and meaningful. We explain to you! More [HERE]

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Talking the Talk, Even With Strangers; An Inquiring Couple With a Sign Are Just Looking for a Nice Story

Very excited to find out about this type of stranger outreach happening in NYC. I know its not directly ad related but it is about finding meaningful connection in public space which is becoming a bigger concern of mine as I transition from young anger based action to more measured solution based concepts.

VIA: The NY Times

Liz Barry and Bill Wetzel sit on sidewalks around the city, not asking for money, or sociological survey data, or dates, or even a shower, though that would help after weeks of camping in parks and on rooftops. They just want to hear stories. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Project Salvages and Installs No-Cost Payphones to Revive a Fading Technology

DETROIT — One of the authenticating moves that anchored the 2005 movie Brick in the neo-noir genre was the omnipresence of payphones as the means of telephonic communication. Even as cell phones have outdated the maintenance of landlines in the home, we still pantomime the technology of archaic dialing patterns and receivers, indicating that in our mobile-technology era, there is something fundamental about payphones. The Portland, Oregon-based artist Karl Anderson would tend to agree. More [HERE]

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Monday, January 13, 2020

When It Changed

*When It Changed ...* is a three-part blog post written by David Reinfurt and Eric Li and edited by Meg Miller for Are.na around billboard legislation in Vermont, Web 2.0, and ambient software.

Please read it here: 

It was 2018, just before the end of summer, and I was in Post Mills, Vermont, paging through old copies of Vermont Life magazine. My wife’s mother and father, longtime state residents, have saved copies of the magazine from the last 50 years or so. It’s published quarterly, each issue taking advantage of Vermont’s four crisply rendered seasons. A story might detail the comings and goings in the town of Corinth around a furniture maker’s workshop at the start of fall, or the raising, in early spring, of a round barn in Bradford. Each story is particular, and somehow each is also generic. More [HERE]

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

News / Advertising Creative agency buys $10k of blank ad space to give everyone a break from ads

Wunder, an independent Canadian creative agency based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has taken out $10,000 worth of advertising space only to fill it with absolutely nothing. In a stunt that ultimately goes against what the agency exists to do, the self-initiated campaign – titled White Christmas – offers respite from the deluge of advertising at this time of year by posting blank ads on print and digital billboards, buses, bus stops, newspapers, social media and even radio.More [HERE]

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Friday, December 20, 2019

You See Pepsi, I See Coke: New Tricks for Product Placement

First came product placement. In exchange for a payment, whether in cash, supplies or services, a TV show or a film would prominently display a brand-name product.

Then there was virtual product placement. Products or logos would be inserted into a show during the editing, thanks to computer-generated imagery.

Now, with the rise of Netflix and other streaming platforms, the practice of working brands into shows and films is likely to get more sophisticated. In the near future, according to marketing executives who have had discussions with streaming companies, the products that appear onscreen may depend on who is watching.
More [HERE]

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Just a Quarter of New York’s Wi-Fi Kiosks Are Up. Guess Where.

I am not surprised.

VIA: The NY Times
When New York City announced in 2014 that a private company would replace pay phones with thousands of kiosks offering free Wi-Fi, Mayor Bill de Blasio called it “a critical step toward a more equal, open, and connected city.” More [HERE]

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Car-Mounted Ads Take a New Direction: Data Collection

VIA: Citylab
Atop most New York City taxis are advertising screens—flashing LEDs hawking Lion King tickets and beer and McDonald’s. Along with the vehicles’ yellow hue, the rooftop ads once set traditional cabs apart from the Ubers and Lyfts with whom they share city streets. Rather than waste all that monetizable airspace, though, a venture-backed startup called Firefly started installing portable advertising billboards on the roofs of ride-hailing vehicles in five major cities across the country. More [HERE]

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Monday, November 18, 2019

How Advertising Conquered Urban Space

VIA: CityLab
“I’m still flying at four thousand feet when I see it, that scarcely perceptible glow, as though the moon had rushed ahead of schedule. Paris is rising over the edge of the earth.” More [HERE]

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Guerrilla Girls Target MoMA Trustees With Ties to Jeffrey Epstein in an Ad Takeover

VIA: Hyperallergic
“Advice to the Museum of Modern Art about BIG donors with BIG ties to Jeffery Epstein,” reads a poster that appeared on a phone booth across the street from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan this past weekend. It continued: “MoMA should Kick Leon Black & Glenn Dubin off its Board immediately, drape the Black and Dubin Galleries in black, & put up wall labels explaining why.” The ad is signed by the veteran activist group Guerrilla Girls, who added their signature gorilla mask logo at the bottom of the poster. “The Guerrilla Girls volunteer to help write those labels,” the group adds. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"Who Is Gonna Pay For This Mess" in the Maine Arts Journal Quarterly

Huge thanks to the Maine Arts Journal for including my essay from the PublicAccess Zine in its entirety. As much as the PublicAccess Zine was about the artwork and media created by other people using the tools that I produce, that essay is an important part of explaining my thinking about cities, the energy they create and the desire we share to harness that energy for our collective good. 

There is a collective us, in particular when we speak of cities. Parisians and Paolistas. These are the names we use when our cities reach scale and we stop referring to ourselves as from somewhere and instead as part of something. I’m a New Yorker. All of a sudden the bustle on our streets hits a fever pitch and our collective attention pervades the air so heavily that contracts are drawn up to determine who will be responsible for the accumulation of all those eyeballs and what percentages will be offered in return. Out of thin air and a saccadic frenzy, value is created in the cohabitation of a shared plot of land.
Curly, Philadelphia, PA

Walk around any major metropolis and you will recognize the network of signs, often connected to public infrastructure, set up to mine this resource. Pay attention. 10,000 impressions a day. 10,000 attentions paid. Put a sign there. And so it goes, expanding outward from the centers of density until the attention dissipates and it simply isn’t cost effective to build a structure to focus our thoughts. Calculations must be made. Entrepreneurial businessmen must loose sleep chasing their imaginations.

Pedro Sega, Madrid, Spain

And yet this resource isn’t like the others. This resource is human. When you sift through the soil, I lose nothing, but when you dig into my mind, I lose my train of thought. See what you pay attention to is what you are thinking about, and what you are thinking about makes you who you are. The two inextricably linked. The development of your thoughts, a direct linear result of the things you have attended to along the way. Which is one way of saying that what we put in front of our faces should be worth the price.

Joe Boruchow, Prosperity Theology, Philadelphia

I guess we could simply decide that despite our numbers we don’t want to mine the hills of our attention, leaving us instead with extended vistas of avenues and alleyways. The absence of signification, a welcome respite from the daily intoxication of our mediated world. It’s a worthwhile consideration, like leaving some trees in the forest, or some oil in the ground. But ask a Muscovite or Angelista, whose attention has created so much potential, to leave untapped the bounty of their creation and you will understand why our cities look the way they do. A constant roar blankets our streets and our bodies vibrate in proximity to one another. Who could stop us from erecting signs?

Matt Starr, New York, New York, photo by Pete Voelker

Dr D, London

And so they appear one after another along the horizon, heavy machinery erected downtown to tap the ferment of our minds. Each bus shelter, every taxi topper, billboard, flyposter, lollipop, phonebooth, and info kiosk is an industrial excavator mining your thoughts, momentarily distracting the trajectory of our thinking and converting that moment into a valuable resource. In truth, I find the whole thing a bit miraculous, like a well that doesn’t produce unless we all stand around watching it. Look away and the flow stops, turn back around and a steady stream of value comes pouring out. This is the great alchemy of our cities and the foundation upon which to make our demands.

Robert Montgomery, Stavanger, Norway, photo by Mark Rigney

Today the lion’s share of the attentional resources collected in our cities are siphoned off and sold to advertisers. Promotion swoons for opportunity and an exorbitant amount of money is exchanged to orchestrate what we are thinking about, if only for a brief moment in time. Repeated over the geography and infrastructure of our cities, those brief moments cohere into a meaningful focus, the echoes of which reverberate in our heads. One could take issue with this fact, the echoing, and I do. It bothers me to think about all the neurons we have encoded with the rambling logic of commercial myopia. The sustained focus we offer up to the machinations of consumer culture. Remember that the price for the intrusion is not only our distraction, but the needing it leaves behind.

Dede, Tel Aviv, Israel

And yet the weight of these impositions pales in comparison to the forfeiture of our collective resources and the missed opportunity to let the combustion on our streets reflect the inner dialogue of our minds. As it stands now those advertisers, intent to arrest your eyes and momentarily lay the groundwork for your thinking, empty their coffers into privatized hands. Multinational landlords of our shared public spaces collect the bounty of our attention and haul it off to shareholders and investment bankers. Modest revenue sharing schemes and public infrastructure contracts obscuring the obvious fact that the electricity between us has quietly come to serve someone else.

ARRT!, Brunswick, Maine, Brooklyn Ad Box

As a New Yorker I am always surprised how the clarity of this grievance escapes us. Our willingness to squander the abundance produced by our cohabitation, given the limited resources with which we make due. But what if the harvesting of our collective attention paid for something more than a blanket of consumerist propaganda? What if the alchemy of living in such close proximity to one another, for crowded trains and bustling streets, for gathering together on an island, or building a life together at the rivers bend, was that the network of signs on our streets championed the public’s interests? Each bus shelter, every taxi topper, billboard, flyposter, lollipop, phonebooth, and info kiosk, an opportunity to think for ourselves.

Icy and Sot, Istanbul, Turkey

This book documents a small selection of posters made using PublicAccess keys. It is a crude attempt to daydream into reality a more utopic future and promote a fleeting revolution from which the incantations on our streets burst with locality. Those who participated represent a small portion of the public with the time and privilege to dedicate to such activities. It does not escape me that a democracy of our voices would look a lot different than the pages of this book. But these efforts guide my belief that there are new models on the horizon for the redistribution of what we create by being together, tightly packed and with so much to say. Models that tap the wealth of our collective project and offer it back up to us as raw material with which to shape new cities. Each sign, an opportunity to distract us from ourselves, in the search for one another.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Looking for Thrilling Public Art in New York City? Head to Your Local Bus Stop—ASAP

VIA: Artnews
A few months ago, I sliced off a tiny bit of my right index finger. I was talking on the phone and using a huge knife to chop cilantro (a fact mocked by my doctors and nurses, which is fair), and I ended up sporting a sizable bandage for quite some time. To avoid injuring the wound as it healed, I stopped biking and running, avoided crowded subways, and walked a lot—slowly. Elle Pérez’s current Public Art Fund project came along at just the right time. Titled “from sun to sun,” it has brought prints of 16 of the artist’s intimate photographs to bus shelters in all five of the city’s boroughs. It’s a project that rewards long strolls. More [HERE]

Friday, October 11, 2019

'Mindless growth': Robust scientific case for degrowth is stronger every day

Degrowth strategies say we should "limit advertising in public spaces to liberate people from the psychological pressure for needless consumption." as a part of redistribution of economic equity. 

Once confined to the small scientific community of climate researchers and ecological economists, the idea of degrowth is now blazing into the mainstream. Not surprisingly, people are trying to figure out what to make of it. Is it an inspiring idea that points the way to a better economy? Or is it a mad notion that’s sure to plunge us all into poverty? More [HERE]

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Monday, October 7, 2019

»twentyfourads« Ausstellung/Exhibition in der Kapriole


Follow the link below to see artists do ad takeover work by simply screen printing on the ads directly on the street. Now thats just plain fun. More [HERE]


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Feeling Lonely? Perhaps You’d Like to Talk to Some Strangers

A few months back I attended a Tea With Strangers in my research for the Talk To Me project and empathy machine that runs on old advertising infrastructure. I am interested in the connections and community that is built when two people that do not know each other come into contact, if only briefly, and how that alters the way we live in the world. Tea With Strangers is 3 hours and I couldn't recommend it more. As John Cage once said, "To make the world a better place, spend time with people you haven't met" Amen.

VIA: The New York Times
When Ankit Shah graduated from college and moved to the Bay Area in 2013, he didn’t know a single person there. Hungry for connections, he asked his Facebook friends to ask their Bay Area-based friends if they’d like to have tea with him, a stranger. More [Here]

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Anais Florin For Bien Urbain

A few years ago I went to Bien Urbain to do some workshops and install some artwork of my own. This festival is known for their support of alternative concepts in public art and civic engagement despite the fact that it takes place in a relatively small town in France where one would expect a more provincial attitude towards art and culture. The team did not disappoint and they continue to push and defend interesting projects as they look forward to thier 10th year running. When I left Besancon I made sure to leave a set of keys behind for anyone who might want to use the advertising infrastructure for thier own messaging. Over the years a few people have done so, including Quentin Coussirat whose experience as a graphic designer and artist made incredibly thoughtful and subtle interventions. More recently Anaïs Florin took the access to public space much more literally, launching a campaign and art project to defend the Les Vaîtes worker gardens that risk extinction due to real estate development. It seems wherever you are, some things change and some things always stay the same. Read more about Anais' project below. 

Now that we completed the documentation of Anaïs Florin great project from last Bien Urbain festival, it's time to share it with you.

10 min. video (english subtitles available!): https://vimeo.com/358080128 
riso zine: http://bien-urbain.fr/fr/boutique/anais-florin-nos-jardins/
all the pictures and the project context (in spanish): https://anaisflorin.com/Nos-jardins

Anaïs is from Valencia and was invited by Hyuro to be part of the festival. She spent four days here in Besançon, three months following the issues of this local territorial fight and then one month going everyday to feel, talk, and share with gardeners about their relation to the place.

Les Vaîtes is a green place where workers used to have more or less official gardens since decades. It's a forest inside the city where it was impossible to build houses until the local government decided to sell the place to private promoters in order to build an "eco"district. Since more that 10 years, the neighbors were fighting the housing project for several reasons (to keep calm, because the feared the idea of new people coming...) and a new generation of eco-activists motivated by gardening and climate change issues helped to stop the demolition works when it started. Anaïs came in that moment where the city council and promoters were upset, the eco-activist asking themselves if the place should/could became a kind of "ZAD" and the old/immigrants gardeners were a bit lost concerning this new paradigm of civil disobedience.

After spending each day on site, taking pictures and speaking with everyone, she decided to highlight this struggle by a tribute to the place: printing 25 pictures of the gardens, painting on the sentence "Les Vaîtes before the eco-discrict" and put them illegally in city center busstops and lolipops. She also glued on 2 billboards on the border of the gardens, with sentences from the gardeners "Touching the earth is always a highlight, it's soothing. Here we work with the living. Gardening is tenderness, it feeds the eyes, it feeds the heart."

No need to say that the mayor was upset again, and that it empowers a lot of people to think/discuss/discover this local subject in a very different way than press or activism propaganda.

We released the zine for the climate strike and will soon screen the video at the gardens, sharing ways of dealing with fights/art with a theater group working on the same place/story.

It's Anaïs project but obviously a great and lovely team helped her on. Thanks to all.

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Guerrilla Subway PSAs Urge Riders Not To 'Snitch' On Farebeaters

VIA: Gothamist
The MTA's hectoring poster campaign aimed at combatting fare evasion is getting a radical makeover, thanks to an anonymous group of New Yorkers with a simple message for their fellow riders: "Don't snitch. Swipe." More [HERE]

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hate Those Floating Digital Billboards? New York Just Banned Them

Depending on your point of view, they are either miracles of modern marketing or a heinous eyesore on the city’s waterways.Either way, the digital billboards that had been plying the East and Hudson Rivers over the last several months may soon be a thing of the past, as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation on Monday to ban them. More [HERE]

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Sunday, July 28, 2019


My colleague Bill Posters wrote an incredibly important essay outlining the main points of interest for the anti advertising, pro civic media movement. Please read it!

His writing shows us that while the out of home advertising industry acted as the fuel for neoliberal capitalism and helped sustain the post war growth of American consumerism, we have entered a new epoch that makes the incantations of billboards and bus shelters look quaint in comparison. Dataism and the rise of behavioral data collection, because of its accuracy and pervasiveness, threatens more than the sanctity of our shared public public spaces, but will likely influence fundamental aspects of our collective social behavior in ways that will drastically alter society as we evolve into the future. It's fucking scary. What happens when the data exhaust you produce is so granular that Spotify can accurately predict when you are in a bad mood? And what then when Spotify realizes that your consumption drops in those moments of aggression and actively makes decisions to prevent that behavior from diminishing your capacity as a consumer? Now extend that type of influence over all networks and all devices and you see a human being pushed and pulled in ways that it cannot see, and cannot control, all to increase ones predictability as consumer, and you start to see how over a few hundred years the nature of society is fundamentally changed as people become more and more tuned by the needs of those in control of the data we collectively produce. Like a meteor on a collision course with earth, you don't change a society by blowing it up, you send out a small satellite to slowly push the course of its direction over many years and watch as the final destination finds itself far of course. In one case we all sign in relief, in the other we loose our free will to the corporate entities that control the data of our lives. 
Nada, played by Roddy Piper, picks up a pair of black-rimmed glasses and puts them on, but these are no ordinary glasses, these glasses are X-Ray specs. Immediately they détourne all forms of corporate propaganda that he casts his gaze at—the billboard advertisements, magazines, and television programmes all change. All are subverted to reveal an alternative truth (in essence), making the invisible visible, revealing in the process the hidden infrastructures, architectures and power relationships that exist between corporate and state level actors—in the case of They Live aliens, and their subjects—citizens of the US. Everyone is asleep, Nada is awake.
More [HERE]

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Friday, July 26, 2019

You Are What You Watch? The Social Effects of TV

The adage shouldn't be you are what you eat, or in this case, you are what you watch, but rather you are what you attend. It is a simple concept that we would like to be able to escape but its the nature of reality. If we cover our cities in advertising, we spend time attending that advertising, and the messages and ideas behind them become us. Don't fool yourself into thinking you can ignore them, or simply beat them at thier game. It simply isn't how things work.
Other than sleeping and working, Americans are more likely to watch television than engage in any other activity. More [HERE]

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Advertising Shits In Your Head, US Edition.

Our good friends at PM Press have put together an American version of thier best selling "Advertising Shits In Your Head" UK publication. With Interviews, tutorials and insightful knowledge about advertising and its pernicious influence, ASIYH is a fantastic read and a great present for young minds and public space activists. If you can help support the Kickstarter campaign please do what you can to insure this publication makes it to press. 
Advertising Shits in Your Head calls ads what they are—a powerful means of control through manipulation—and highlights how people across the world are fighting back. It diagnoses the problem and offers practical tips for a DIY remedy. Faced with an ad-saturated world, activists are fighting back, equipped with stencils, printers, high-visibility vests, and utility tools. Their aim is to subvert the ads that control us. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

FaceApp Shows We Care About Privacy but Don’t Understand It

I have been posting a lot of articles on data privacy because it related directly to my interest in outdoor advertising and the influence industry as a whole. While advertising and OOH advertising more specifically tried to greet you where you were in an effort to capture your attention and influence the trajectory of your thoughts, your digital data exhaust is being used to predict in more accurate ways than you can imagine, your emotional and psychological profile at any given moment in an effort to serve that influence to you on a device you have already given your undivided attention. The goal, like advertising is not mind control, but the subtle nudge of outcomes. Don't demand a society that bows to consumer culture and finds itself so deep in the forest of capitalism that we cannot see our way out, but rather slowly push us there over generations by making each moment of each individuals life more likely to involve a consumer interaction. With enough data, this doesn't become a hypothetical but an inevitable outcome of a society that has allowed our daily lives to be subtly influenced by the needs of capital over the needs of our society. 

VIA: NY Times
FaceApp, a mobile face-editing application, has all the necessary components for a viral privacy scandal: a catchy concept, celebrity users, a mysterious company and a stampede of public interest.

Here’s the rundown of FaceApp’s 15 minutes of fame: A viral app lets us see what we might look like as a wrinkle-laden 75-year-old. Users click “yes” on the terms of service without looking, and start snapping and uploading pictures. More [HERE]

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Anaïs Florin – “Les Vaîtes avant l’écoquartier” #1

A few years ago I participated in Bien Urbain in Besancon France. After installing a bunch of pieces around town, I then held a workshop. Participants of the workshop made thier own posters and then as a group, we went out and put them up together without permission from the city. The basic idea was that you had to put up your own poster so that you broke that barrier between you and your shared public environment. With the entire group watching, there was a sense of safety in numbers that made it much easier for people break the rules, not to mention you didn't want to be the one person in the group that decided to chicken out in front of your peers. It was a really fantastic experience and everyone came away with a grin from ear to ear and plans to do more actions in the future. I left a set of PublicAccess keys for the Bien Urbain team and since then there have been several projects that have taken advantage of them. Quentin Cousirrat recently made me aware of a project by artist Anais Florin who made the advertising space around Besancon integral to her participation in Bien Urbain this year. Unauthorized civic media production seems to be a small but vibrant part of the Besancon public life. 
Leaving keys in cities and then years later seeing them still in use makes me incredibly happy. While I do enjoy making the keys, it can sometimes seem like a chore. When I run out of keys I spend several days restocking them by hand cutting, milling and welding all of the parts until I have enough to last another year, or sometimes just a few months. People purchase the keys for between 25 and 30 dollars, which seems like a lot, but after materials comes out to between 10 and 15 dollars for what can be several hours of work depending on which key. I don't really exhibit these functional sculptures, they just go out in the mail and I never see them again. What I do see are projects like this, which make all the time behind the drill press, boring out the centers of 6mm Hex bar, well worth the effort. 
Anaïs Florin focuses her attention on places, on their history, their transformation and the struggles associated with them. Her practice mixes art and activism in a listening dynamic and a benevolent collaboration with the people of the territory.

For the 9th edition of Bien Urbain, she intervened in the Vaîtes district by meeting the gardeners who defend this place. Her first work, “Les Vaîtes avant l’écoquartier” (“The Vaîtes before the ecodistrict”) was a collection of 25 photographs put in billboards and bus shelters in the city center and the tram line linking it to the Vaîtes district.
More [HERE]

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Reclaim - Artist Initiated Reclamation of Public Space Using Your Money

While I love the idea of reclaiming public space for the artwork and other civic media platforms, I have a hard time with projects like this. Basically the idea is to buy up as much advertising space using crowdfunding and private funds in order to display more appropriate content for our shared public spaces. But why would we pay for something that is inherently ours and somehow has ended up through no fault of our own in the possession of a private corporation? Seems like paying to get your lunch back from the schoolyard bully.
Reclaim is a collective of individuals initiating an award in Cologne that redefines public space as a place for art. From 20th to 30th of September 2019, billboards are rented and made available to artists as their individual exhibition space. [VISIT SITE HERE]

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Opinion | I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked.

While I love this project and it's goals,  redirect ads are still redirect ads that dupe you into seeing content you weren't looking for, placed there by someone who paid to influence your opinion. It may seem like a callous thing to say but I'd prefer we keep people from pursuing extremist lives by nurturing our citizenry with racial equality, economic fairness, and social justice that creates a sense that we are all in this together. I think the fair distribution of the immense wealth created by the human project would go a long way to combatting outsiderness. I believe it would inevitably come with racial and social justice as distribution would require us to face inequality. Some say that the competition which capitalism creates is what fuels our creative impulse and pushes society forward. The ingenious of humanity tied to the need to work harder and beat out your fellow man. I think that logic is a not so veiled attempt to hide the greed that undermines our social contract in its current form. While I am all for redirecting the suicidal to prevention, or extremist behavior towards the true costs of such pursuits, I wish we didn't have to do it by paying to manipulate the populous, because most manipulations just aren't that altruistic. 
Kevin Hines had one thought as he plummeted toward the Pacific Ocean: I can change anything in my life except the fact that I just jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge.

“One sentence could have stopped me,” Kevin wrote. “Had any one of the hundreds of passers-by engaged with me, it would … potentially have showed me that I had the ability to choose life.”
More [HERE]

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Selling Your Private Information Is a Terrible Idea

As the tools of manipulation become more heavily driven by the data we create through our online, social, and physical interaction with the digitized world, its incumbent on us all to think about not only our ownership of that data, but how inalienable it is to our own being.

VIA: The NY Times
“Claim Your 31st Right,” declares the #My31 app’s splash screen. “Review, share, and confirm your HUMAN right to your data as your property.”
More [HERE]

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move

VIA: The New York Times

Imagine you are shopping in your favorite grocery store. As you approach the dairy aisle, you are sent a push notification in your phone: “10 percent off your favorite yogurt! Click here to redeem your coupon.” You considered buying yogurt on your last trip to the store, but you decided against it. How did your phone know? More [HERE]

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Proposed State Law Could Put LED Billboard Boat Company Under Water

VIA: Gothamist

The as-yet-unsinkable LED billboard barge that appeared off the coast of Manhattan last year—since earning near universal condemnation from waterfront-loving New Yorkers—may soon find itself the target of a statewide ban. More [HERE]

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Fake Zuckerberg Video Challenges Facebook’s Rules

SAN FRANCISCO — Two weeks ago, Facebook declined to remove a doctored video in which the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, seemed to drunkenly slur her speech. Over the weekend, two British artists released a doctored video of Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, as a sly comment on the spread of false information online. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Advertising as a major source of human dissatisfaction: Cross-national evidence on one million Europeans


Chloé Michel, Michelle Sovinsky, Eugenio Proto, Andrew Oswald 27 May 2019

Although the negative impact of conspicuous consumption has been discussed for more than a century, the link between advertising and individual is not well understood. This column uses longitudinal data for 27 countries in Europe linking change in life satisfaction to variation in advertising spend. The results show a large negative correlation that cannot be attributed to the business cycle or individual characteristics. More [HERE]


Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Below is a wonderful essay by RJ Rushmore for Monument Lab. Im not sure how much RJ is aware of the writing of Jeff Ferrell but his sentiments echo a lot of Jeff's criminological research. Pigeon holed by the anti advertising title, most anti advertising activists are actually trying to imagine what might replace the commercial images that surround us if given the chance. RJ is well aware of this and like a lot of us, trying to figure out how to recontextualize what he is doing so that it broadens his demands and has more potential to change not only our streets, but fundamental ways in which we interact and exist with one another. Fantastic.

VIA: Monument Lab
Skateboarders refuse to see the city as intended. It is a playground. It is theirs. Every curb, bench, and set of stairs is a potential skateable object. Even though I put down my own skateboard around age 15, that mindset stayed with me. Skateboarding gave me a gift: the inclination to resist the pressures that cities feed us to be passive. As I've spent the last decade alongside artists who intervene in public spaces (be that through street art, graffiti, public art, or street performance), that inclination has matured, evolved, and became the driving force behind my work as a writer and curator. More [HERE]

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      Sharon Zukin
      The Cultures of Cities

      Miriam Greenberg
      Branding New York

      Naomi Klein
      No Logo

      Kalle Lasn
      Culture Jam

      Stuart Ewen
      Captains of Consciousness

      Stuart Ewen
      All Consuming Images

      Stuart & Elizabeth Ewen
      Channels of Desire

      Jeff Ferrell
      Crimes of Style

      Jeff Ferrell
      Tearing Down the Streets

      John Berger
      Ways of Seeing

      Joe Austin
      Taking the Train

      Rosalyn Deutsche
      Evictions art + spatial politics

      Jane Jacobs
      Death+Life of American Cities