New York Magazine- Breaking Section
We were recently in the Breaking section of New York magazine after speaking to Erica Ogden for a lengthy amount of time over the phone. Erica had a wide range of interesting questions that got to the heart of some of the issues surrounding the NYSAT project and PublicAdCampaign's goals in general. Sadly none of this could be relayed in the 3 small paragraphs adorning a picture of me that I wish was left out so more text could have been included. I know this is not a function of the reporting so much as the section in which we were included. I want to take this opportunity to explain some things further.
Thank you Erica, and New York magazine for including the project in your pages. We greatly appreciate your interest and dedication to stories affecting all of our lives in NY.
First, the reasons we should exclude advertising from environments where we have no choice but to imbibe the intoxicating messages should be further explained. Advertising, without a doubt is a manipulative force. This becomes obvious when you look into the terminology advertising often uses to explain to its clients what it will be doing for them. Terms like "domination", "immersion", "saturation" pervade the language and give a good indication of advertising's intent to control viewer response. This manipulation, in pursuit of profit, has as it's goal not the psychological health of the viewer, but his or her wallet. While this may not be the worst thing in some cases, often products with commercial value fail to provide consumers with an object of any real value for their lives as productive engaged citizens of this world. Meaning these products do not enhance your relationship to your friends, neighbors, and others which you share the world with, instead offering signs of conspicuous worth used to flout your status above others. As trite as this may sound, the way you sell a Hummer is you tell the consumer it will make women swoon and guys cower in your presence. You do not tell the consumer it will get 12 miles to the gallon and help to destroy our collective environment, burdening your fellow man and making you a liability to those around you. If advertising were that honest, we would all be driving smart cars and prius'. Prone to the manipulations of advertising, we see many consumers driving Hummers unaware or blinded to the nature of their consumption. The danger of advertising's influence should be recognized for what it is and regulated, especially in those spaces where our collective identity and needs are paramount, like public space.
The article also glosses over the fact that the advertising locations we were targeting are in fact 100% illegal, quoting us as saying that "we believe [they] are put up illegally." To operate outdoor advertising in the city of NY, one must be registered with the city as an OAC and have a permit for every location that the company operates. The city requires this so that they can maintain control of an industry that often abuses the public in pursuit of ever increasing profits. Permitting is something NPA has failed to do for all of it's over 500 locations. Take for example the location at 100 avenue A where two participants were needlessly arrested in the first NSYAT project. This location, despite having a $25,000.00 fine associated with it continues to get new ad copy. This location is one of many that have been pursued by the DOB and is one of the 114 the last NYSAT project whitewashed in an attempt to bring this issue to the forefront of public consciousness. On top of this, NPA has the copyright on the term Wildposting, and admits to operating Wildposting services in NY on it's website, something which is all together illegal in the city. On top of this NPA is in a heated lawsuit with the city of San Francisco over its illegal ad locations run amok on these California residents. Clearly the company is ignoring the law and operating illegally.
Lastly, a quote taken slightly out of context needs to be amended. "I honestly believe that I’m right—that people should be allowed to make commentary like this and that I need to not be hiding." This quote came as a response to me being was asked why I use my name in association with this work and not a pseudonym. First, I honestly believe that WE are right. There were 80 participants who believe that this issue is a growing problem for this city and that our voices should be heard. At worst our actions should not be criminalized, at best we should be greeted by the city with respect for taking the initiative to help the city without interest in personal profit on an issue it is having a hard time controlling. Part of using my name is to remind people, the city, and the law that what we are doing is not vandalism, graffiti, or the wanton destruction of property. This is a project done out of the deepest respect for the city and all it's residents.
“I don’t really have a problem with advertising. I kind of enjoy it. And I’m a freelance photographer, so there are definitely times when I’ve shot advertisements. There’s a difference, though, between advertising that’s presented in situations where you have a choice as to whether or not to take in the message and places where you do not.[More]