<body> Public Ad Campaign: Plastique Magazine-Argument For An Ad Free Public Space
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.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Plastique Magazine-Argument For An Ad Free Public Space

photo by Adam Amengual

I wrote this small piece for Plastique, a fashion and culture magazine out of London. In it I quickly summarize my feelings towards media and my intentions behind the PublicAdCampaign project. A big thank you to Brylie for giving me a reason to put pen to paper and delve more deeply into the motivations that breath life into this project.
In today’s modern, market driven existence, every once in a while you have to think about who you might be without continual suggestion from advertising and commercial media. After all “you,” having been presented to you many times over by a marketing world intent on capturing your gaze and hoping to bend and transform your desires, might not in fact be the you, that you want to be. This conundrum is a result of living in a world where reality is consistently represented, over and over, by enterprises without your personal interests in mind through a myriad of media channels. Because of this, without fail, our lives are directed by a wind that recommends our desires, and imagines our selves. This isn’t a revelation, media influence is a very real and powerful force that shapes and directs the world we live in. This force affects even those lives that choose to consciously censor programmed expectations, and discern for themselves a reality in which they choose to exist. The force we are talking about is commonly referred to as marketing: the process of representing and illuminating one’s products or services in a dark world. Today more than ever, the cacophony of media lights shines bright in new and subtler ways. The saturation of media, like too many lighthouses guarding the shore, renders the waters of mass culture almost un-navigable for those attempting to avoid this confrontation, and impossible to ignore for those who make no such choice. How then do we determine who we are and what we are to become when the innocence of our decision making process is affected without our control on a daily basis?

I myself fall somewhere in the middle of two opposing reactions to a media saturated world. I digest my TV commercials (for lack of a DVR), peruse magazine print ads with the same rigor as I do the articles, am awed by the event based spectaculars at the forefront of marketing madness, and continually find myself traveling through my city, paying more attention to the lofty billboards than the blind man risking life and limb to cross the street. My choice to imbibe these intoxicating messages is done both consciously and unconsciously as I navigate my way through life in the modern metropolis known as New York City. And though my travels through the mediascape are overwhelmed by a frenzy of messages, I know to want less, to challenge the consuming images that surround me in the public environment. It is in this space of our social lives that the decision to determine who we are, without the aid of behavioral psychologists and new marketing techniques, takes place. Within this space we can demand our own representation and illuminate our own visions of the reality we wish to live in, something we cannot do in the private theaters operated by magazines, television channels, movie houses and corporate theme parks. If only we could pull our attentions away from the full-building-wrap Bacardi advertisement obscuring 25% of our field of vision.

And herein lies the problem. We cannot shake the unconscious reception of marketing memes when our public lives are constantly confronting them at every turn. We are thus faced with a decision: Do we take the laws that protect these private messages, presented to us in the most public of spaces, to be set in stone; obey their every command and continue to live in the shadows of private concerns? Or do we take it upon ourselves to alter the landscape in which we travel, adorning the walls we live with so that they suite our needs and present our own image of a reality we have determined for ourselves? Faced with this dilemma, I have for the past eight years illegally reclaimed public advertising space for art and open public communication, breaking into and altering the mediascape to reflect my personal concerns. Along with providing an alternative to the private communications that overwhelm our public experience, I have found that visually interacting with public space has increased my sense of responsibility for, and dedication to my city. Rupturing the hypnotic control of these alternate ideologies has been a path to defining the city and myself on my own terms. By becoming a part of the process of production I have championed my own thoughts and desires; it is these that the public should reflect before the will of external industries and the media empires that promote commercial needs above all else.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

      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