Eduardo Moises Penalver & Sonia Kaytal Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership Barbara Ehrenreich Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy Lewis Hyde The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World Geoffrey Miller Spent: Sex, Evolution, & Consumer Behavior 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
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Judge Says 2006 Lawsuit Settlement Allowing Digital Billboards in L.A. is Illegal, Calls Agreement Between City and Billboard Companies “Poison”
Superior Court Judge Terry Green ruled today that the lawsuit settlement giving Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor the right to convert 840 conventional billboards to digital violated the law by exempting those conversions from any zoning regulations or requirements for notice and public hearings. [More Here]
Clarin did an article on public space issues and talked to PublicAdCampaign to get some pertinent info. We posted the article a while back but are now just posting the translation, done by a PublicAdCampaign reader, because it talks about the second NYSAT project upcoming before the event on October 25th.
To whomever did the translation, thank you....
I'll give this a shot...
The movement started in New York as a way to recover public space.
By: Maria Paula Bandera
For a long time art has found strength in cities. Walls, posters and doors are like a blank canvas for street artists, who have now found a new medium for displaying their art: public advertisements. Jordan Seiler is a New York artist who, through the web site Public Ad Campaign, organized a creative protest against the invasion of advertisements in the public sphere. The initiative, known as New York Street Advertising Take Over, mobilized close to 80 people, who, dressed as municipal workers, took to the streets of New York and hung their own art on hundreds of public advertisements. Seiler told Clarin "the second part will be coming soon."
"We're all conscious of the manipulation generated by advertisements. Often, we can avoid those messages by turning off the TV, turning the page of the magazine, or turning down the volume of the radio, while in public spaces there's no option. That's why it's necessary to stop the coercion that advertisements exercise in the street," says Seiler. For Seiler, the main targets are the illegal ads - those that don't pay the corresponding fees to the city. Perhaps that's why his art isn't destined to subvert the advertising messages but to "fight for the space that advertisements occupy in detriment to other forms of expression, like political messages or artistic interventions." His works emphasize the transformation of the meaning of advertisements. Street artists are accustomed to avoiding the police; however, when they jeopardize the interests of large companies the manner becomes more serious. Although Seiler has never been arrested, he has received various citations for displaying his art on public telephones.
Or something like that. Then it says some other stuff unrelated to Public Ad Campaign.
Thom Flynn-Doing God's Work In Washington DC Since '99
Photo by Allison Shelley
I came across your website and I'm impressed with your campaign. I've been on a similar mission in Washington DC since '99. I'm reclaiming the wheatpasted walls by peeling away and/or prying off the posters. It's not an easy process, sometimes necessitating a crowbar, but I've always embraced the questionable legality. People ask what I'm doing (including the cops), but after saying it's a community service they normally leave me alone... others just assume I work for the billboard company. The posters are recycled into my art, taking the form of large abstract "paintings". Attached are a couple images just to give you an idea of what I'm up to. Perhaps we could collaborate in the future? In the meantime, keep up the good work!
Public Space Can Be Used Against You: NY Street Ad Takeover #2
Hrag Vartanian of Hyper Allergic interviewed PublicAdCampaign about the last NYSAT project and it is well worth the read. We greatly apologize to Hrag for our mis-communication that resulted in his lack of direct access to the latest NYSAT project. Hrag has dissected some of the major questions regarding this type of non-violent civil protest project and we greatly appreciate his work and interest in reporting so diligently on the project.
I had been working on a story for six months but some things don’t always work out the way you plan them. What was the story? Last Sunday, Jordan Seiler of Public Ad Campaign organized the second New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT) in New York. The New York Times was there but sadly I wasn’t. [More Here]
The sparkling noon-time sun felt a little eerie as bed-headed late-night revelers and smartly dressed church-goers poured out to the street to see that the advertising billboards were bare. [MORE HERE]
Five people were arrested yesterday for defacing billboards in an effort to replace ads with art.
The five were among dozens armed with paint and brushes who spread out over lower Manhattan and whitewashed billboards to "reclaim" public space as part of a protest organized by the Public Ad Campaign.
Three of the artists were charged with criminal mischief and making graffiti. The other two were still being processed last night.
Adda Birnir, 24, and her boyfriend were painting flowers on a whitewashed billboard on Mulberry Street when cops hauled them off.
"They were being completely peaceful," said Birnir's father, Bjorn, 56, who was visiting from California.
About 80 members attacked advertisements throughout Manhattan with white paint and roller brushes, and filled the new blank canvasses with their own creations.
Jordan Seiler, director of the Public Ad Campaign, said his group identified about 5,000 illegal billboards in the city.
"New York is a beautiful, wonderful city," Seiler said "When you fill it with commercial messages, you turn it into a commercial space rather than a public space."
Representatives from National Promotions and Advertising, which posts many of the ads, were monitoring the protest, and, in some cases, called police. A spokesman for the organization could not be reached for comment.
In April, a similar protest resulted in four arrests.
Kaylina Holman, 18, a high-school senior from Brooklyn, managed to paint green and orange abstract shapes on an Eldridge Street billboard without getting arrested.
"I don't think the public needs to constantly have corporate agendas shoved down their throats," Holman said.
Jonathan Askin, a Public Ad Campaign lawyer, said there is a double standard when it comes to billboards and art.
"The city has lost several millions of dollars by not combating unlawfully posted commercial billboards," Askin said. "The enforcement is arbitrary."
I just wanted to let you know about Mediacy, Inc., a highly creative and resourceful advertising company dedicated to such out-of-the-box forms of place-based marketing as: The Sandwich Wrapper, and Ad-Jackets. By researching current trends, Mediacy, Inc. has found an untapped market in the out of home arena, and they have developed a new and unique ad vehicle with customized distribution…the best part? It’s a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Already, major companies such Showtime, L.A. Public Health, COX Cable, Summerstage and Random House are using Mediacy, Inc., to penetrate the market and attract the exact customer they wish to reach.
To serve as an example and better highlight the company, I have posted the Sandwich Wrapper’s press release below and attached its picture.
Let me know If I can provide you with any further types of information, pictures or examples!
It was a bizarre cat-and-mouse game, played on Sunday across scores of makeshift billboards in New York.
One group of artists and activists spread across Lower Manhattan, transforming innumerous wheat-pasted posters — the ones that readily sprout over scaffolding — into their own canvas.
They would whitewash the posters and then create their own work, or allow anti-advertising advocates to spread their own messages.
But just as quickly as they whitewashed and put up art, workers arrived to put up new posters where the artists had obscured the old ones.
And so it went, back and forth, with drama, confrontation and even a few arrests by day’s end.
The takeover efforts were organized by an artist, Jordan Seiler, who founded a group called the Public Ad Campaign to question and challenge the use of outdoor ads in public areas.
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. Seiler and about a dozen other participants met in his Chelsea studio, where they went over lists of targets: 114 street-level billboards that Mr. Seiler said were operated by companies that he believed were putting up ads without proper permission from the city.
A spokeswoman for the City Department of Buildings, Ryan Fitzgibbon, said on Sunday that it was difficult to immediately address Mr. Seiler’s claims.
“If outdoor advertisement is allowed, a permit from D.O.B. must be obtained in order to post an advertisement or a sign,” she said. “Advertisements are not allowed on construction fences.”
It is no secret, however, that such advertisements abound, and on Sunday morning Mr. Seiler pointed to a construction fence near his studio that was covered with dozens of pasted posters.
“We’re bombarded by ads every day,” he said. “Advertising frames the public environment as being for sale but public space is not inherently commercial.”
At 10:30, Mr. Seiler and his confederates broke up into pairs, bringing along five-gallon buckets of white paint and long-handled rollers to use to spread the paint over ads.
There were ads for drinks (Bulldog Gin, Hendrick’s Gin and Dr Pepper), movies (a comedy called “Black Dynamite,” along with a documentary about President Obama called “By the People”) and albums (“World Painted Blood” by Slayer was pasted next to “Soulbook” by Rod Stewart).
Some passers-by liked the commandolike cover-ups; an artist named Jane Gennaro, who was not connected to the project, approved of the men painting over an ad for the video game Grand Theft Auto, saying, “We need to get rid of all the visual noise.”
But on West 25th Street, a man chased two of the whitewashers, shouting, “I will sue you.”
In any event, the newly painted-over spots were not to remain blank for long. Within hours, men driving pickup trucks with New Jersey license plates put up new ads where the artists had obscured the old ones.
One of those men, on West 25th Street, refused to identify himself or the company he was working for, instead responding to an inquiry from a reporter with an epithet, and the directive, “Take a walk.”
Over the next hour or so, control of the billboards changed hands several times, with the pickup truck drivers pasting up ads for movies and parties, as — sometimes separated by only a block or so — groups of artists pasted their own images over the ads.
Meanwhile, Mr. Seiler said, five people taking part in the project were arrested on unspecified charges.
Near the end of the afternoon, one of the artists, who gave his name as Gaia, donned a disguise consisting of a black eye mask and a plastic bag that he pulled over his head like a hood. He then pasted up an image he had made of a snarling grizzly bear.
“Hopefully, this gets a chance to engage in some dialogue with the viewers,” said the artist. “In two hours it’s going to be gone.”
i think youll like this. i was just listening to some joseph campbell:
joseph campbell: now i just want to speak about the phases in the development of any mythology; how does it start and what happens to it. i think one can say this. that all of the high culchus, and low culchus, and primitive culchus, and charming, simple culchus, and great big enormous ones, have grown out of myths. they are founded on myths. and what these myths have given, has been inspiration, for aspiration.
the economic interpretation of history is for the birds.
economics is itself is a function of aspiration. it's what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works. and people who dont have any aspirations - you know - the problem of a businessman who cant get people to want anything.
it's the want. it's the aspiration. and what is wanted is not simply one, two, or three meals a day and a bed. that's not enough. it's gotta be much more than that, to make a life. now where do these aspirations come from? they come from a very wonderful, childlike thing. fascination.
...these fascinations are the creation of new activities.
I just finished reading Geoffrey Miller's newest book, Spent. It was quite fantastic and I suggest it to anyone trying to navigate the stormy waters of an overburdened consumer society.
Right off the bat Miller says that marketing is the most powerful force on earth to date, directing everything from our social interactions, to our use/abuse of the environment. Marketing, in today's society pushes conspicuous consumption, which is often wasteful, selfish, and socially isolating. This conspicuous consumption and interest in consumer products has evolved along with our physical evolution through an evolutionary psychology that attempts to display what he calls the big six traits. These traits show our general fitness as mates, both physically, but psychologically as well. They include things such as conscientiousness, agreeableness, intelligence, creativity, etc. He goes on to argue that many of the conspicuos purchases we make are often very poor indicators of the big six. Marketing, in order to drive conspicuous consumption, alters a product's real value by attributing it with other qualities outside of the products real value. The book goes on to suggest more affective and socially responsible ways to display our big six and regain a sense of community lost through selfish conspicuous consumption.
Up-close and personal with Poster Boy: The definitive interview
We’re big fans of Poster Boy here at UKSA, and although he’s not technically from the UK scene, we’d like to make an exception and introduce you all to this sterling talent!
Clever, Creative and seriously cool, Poster Boy is the masked crusader waging war on advertising billboards across NYC will only a razor blade as his weapon of choice. Interview by Helen Soteriou. All photos from Poster Boy’s Flickr, which you can check out here
Who is the guy behind the mask? Can you tell me about yourself and your background?
No ones behind the mask. There’s only the mask.
Do many people know your real identity? Do you parents know?
Only the people who need to know, including mummy and pop-pop.
How did Poster Boy come about? Why did you start cutting-up posters and did you ever think it would turn into the phenomenon it is?
I’m constantly torn between wanting to be an activist and an artist. I’m not the greatest artist nor am I the greatest activist, but I’m a pretty good Poster Boy and that requires being little of both.
New York is inundated with advertisements. So why spend money on materials when posters and billboards are ripe for the picking? Stealing and vandalising ads is illegal, but littering the public’s visual space with images and messages that are motivated by profit is wrong. There’s a lot of potential in working with your environment, especially if the motives are well place. Besides, the traditional mediums have never satisfied my ambitions.
I always hoped this would catch on. I couldn’t have been the only one with these sentiments floating around.
What are your views on advertising?
Advertising is bizarro art. Both are cut from the same cloth, but what sets them apart is intent. Art is driven, at least in theory, by the desire to express oneself. Advertising is driven by the desire to promote a product or service. Often times the two overlap making it hard to tell the difference. As long as there’s money to be made there’ll be advertising. I can’t deny that. With development of technology and the market comes increasingly elaborate ad campaigns. Sometimes the campaigns are funny. Sometimes they’re artful. But one thing I’ll never accept is public advertising no matter how clever the campaign is.
Do you think that people are more wary about believing the images / messages that are printed because of the worldwide economic downturn?
The economic pinch continues to breed skepticism. However, people have been wary of the media lies for a while now.
I remember our first conversation and the email you sent me: Have you ever read something and said to yourself, “Christ, where have I been the last few years of my life?” Well, your email just did that to me. These type of requests and acknowledgements have always humbled me. …
Why do you think people are so taken by your work?
I think people relate to the work mostly because of the commentary. There’s a lot going on in the world financially, politically, culturally, and environmentally. The work touches on some of these topics. Often times with humor, which is very important in serious situations.
The other reason is the medium. I mean really, with the exception of the people profiting, who doesn’t hate public advertising?
We talked about some of your future plans and what Poster Boy intends to do next. You strike me as someone who has a strong passion and desire to follow his dreams – to continue to grow and be creative in the way you want.
I should hope so. My dreams are pretty much all I have right now.
To me you are sending out a clear message to people that they should not give-up on their desires -to listen to their hearts and pursue the path that they want without being afraid to voice their opinions. Do you think this is a fair statement?
I believe it’s a fair statement. As long as your path doesn’t involve the destruction of life I say follow it. The worst that can come from following your heart is knowledge and wisdom.
I believe that the whole point of street art is that it is on the street for everyone to see– you are not stifled creatively and not drawn by the $$$. Nobody tells you whether you are good enough. It is art for the people, not the selective few.
Street art is for anyone to experience. It works both ways. The streets serve as a venue for artists who wish to forego gallery-world hierarchies.
I’m not stifled or drawn by the money. Doesn’t mean the pressure doesn’t affect me. I’ve turned down some very lucrative deals in order to make a statement. I’ll be honest, when rent is late or I can’t manage three squares a day I feel a little gypped, but when those feelings start bubbling I just remind myself of why I started this. All my life I wanted someone or something to believe in. Except for a few inspirations here and there I never found it. So I set out to be the that thing I always yearned for. So what if PB&J has been the menu for weeks or the lies to my landlord are getting better, life could always be worse. Besides, poverty tends to be quite the motivator these days.
I think the popularity of street art has exploded over the last couple of years and I feel that it is good and bad. Great street artists are enjoying the success they deserve and some are just riding on their coat-tails.
Actually, I don’t believe bad street art exists. I say cover every Goddam inch of concrete and steel! What bothers me are the people who try to mask gallery art as street art and vice versa. I’m not one for strict labels or definitions of anything, but there’s a fundamental difference. At the same time I understand certain situations call for compromise. I know I’m not the purest street artist or activist. There have been Poster boy shows with prints being sold, and I’m not even sure if I should feel guilty for it. I’ve always tried to bring something different to a show and I’ve never sold an actual Poster Boy piece. The point being that the street art persona should be critiqued and presented differently than the gallery art persona. Once street, graf, or whatever art, is brought into a controlled environment it ceases to be street art, period.
With the phenomenal costs prints and original works are going for it has become de rigueur to like street art. Yesterday, I went to opening night of an exhibition on Brick Lane in London , and it was dominated by the young and trendy. Like a few of the street artists who were present, I felt awkward and out of place. My question to you is how do you feel about how street art has evolved and do you feel proud to be labelled a street artist. Do you always see the streets as your playground?
Let me guess, some guy in a Basquiat shirt, skinny jeans, and an ironic mustache gave you the, “where the fuck is your Murakami bag” look? Don’t worry, we’ve got that too. It happens whenever something is in vogue. Next time just make a scene. Tell everyone you’re Banksy or that your dad owns the Tate.
I’m proud to be a street artist in the literal sense. I find comfort in the uncertainty of the streets.
How does it feel to have a platform? You have the attention of all the major media players in New York who are raving about the statements that you put out?
It feels really weird, ’cause I’m not that cool.
Who influenced you growing-up – people and / or other artists?
This one’s hard. You’d expect me to say Keith Haring or something. Not that he hasn’t, but I’ve been inspired by many characters in my short life. I can honestly say that Bugs Bunny inspired me as much as Fredrick Douglas.
How do you work – do you come-up with ideas on the spot or do you see posters and then think about how you can create images from them?
The work is always impromptu. It has to be, the ads are always changing. Even the gallery work relies on materials in the immediate environment.
Are there any other comments that you would like to make?
This newest piece from Princess Hijab was recently photographed by Christophe Meiries in Paris. The image shows a level of detail and sophistication I haven't seen in the Princess's work thus far. I like it a lot and I hope to see more soon.
As I have no contact with the artist, I may make assumptions here that aren't true. Please forgive me. As I understand it, this project isn't ultimately about the companies behind the advertisements, so much as it is about the proliferation of a cultural minority in media more generally. Despite this I still wish the logos were removed along with the "hijabizing," as the artist calls it. Without the company logo, the image refers only to the artist, whereas with the logo the image is somehow still a bastardized ad for Arena, but an ad nonetheless. I understand the artist might want the viewer to associate the new media content with the company, but that's just my thought on the matter.
French Artist OX Answers A Few Of PublicAdCampaign's Questions
Every once in a while we come across an artist whose work seems to be very in line with our own over here at PublicAdCampaign. We like to ask them a few questions about their intentions and motivations. French artist OX took the time to answer our request and the results are given below.
Why do you create work in the public?
I do not create my works in public, however I do install them in public places. First, I select locations by closely examining a specific area, then I do the painting in my studio, and only then is it installed outside in public view. I see my work as “installation” rather than “performance”. It is a very free way of envisaging artistic production.
Why do you create work over/using outdoor advertising?
I have always thought that billboards, because they are similar to huge paintings hung in the landscape, provide an extraordinary support on which to show my paintings. At the beginning, I used them only as a means for bringing my work to the public eye and to publicize it in a quick and effective way, but without giving the surrounding context any particular attention. Currently, my art is the same but I now take the site into account, up to the point even where it often dictates my graphic choices and I sometimes leave pieces of the advertising image visible.
Tell us something about where you live and your relationship to your city.
I live in Bagnolet, a suburb less than 1 km outside Paris, where I have pasted more than 130 posters on free-expression-panels (designed for non-commercial posters) over a period of 4 years. I imagine the town as a recreation ground, which I view as a three-dimensional composition in which I place disturbing visual elements, whose presence will become a sort of photographic still life.
How would you describe your relationship with advertising?
Advertising is omnipresent in our lives, it feeds our consumer addiction, it exploits and recycles artistic creation and it finances it. It forms a part of my imagination, I draw on its imagery to create and I use its means to communicate. Although I sometimes divert it’s meaning, I do not have the pretension of fighting it.
Having done both, is there a difference between working in France and New York?
Yes, there is a difference. I think it is less risky to practice this art in France. With the Ripoulins in New York in 1985, there were no billboards available for my work, so I pasted my paintings directly on worksite boardings or private walls and even on a roof at Central Park, which caused problems with the owners and the police, and we were even taken to court. I no longer work in this manner.
Tell us one of your favorite moments working on the street.
Without a doubt, the very first time I pasted my work on a billboard! More recently, a favorite moment was one very cold winter morning when I had to mix antifreeze with my paste and then climb onto my slippery car roof to carry out my art billposting, even though I was alone it was a moment of jubilation. And of course, there are many other memorable times.
If you could run a fantasy camp, what would it be?
At first, when I read this question, I imagined Fantasy Camp to mean a sort of combination between Spring Break and a Hippy group, where you do body painting in the setting sun . . . . then I thought of two projects I worked on, one in which I took part called “Holidays and Painting”, and another project which has never been carried out : “Festival of Color”.
My idea would be to propose a range of actions to enable people to celebrate their favorite colors.
After his continuous line portrait on a building in Queens, Sam3 is back in Spain, hitting billboards. Noting that “in the autumn the leaves fall,” the street artist enlisted one of his silhouetted figures to trash some old ads in the city of Murcia. |Sam3|
Funny thing happened to me on the way to the theater... No just kidding, after I left a video meeting tonight I happened to pass by the infamous InWindow illegal location of choice at 113 University Place. There were three young men installing yet another illegal advertisement at this location. I asked them who they were working for. They responded very cryptically, avoiding the question. I asked them if they worked for InWindow. They told me they worked for one of the OAC's and asked what my interest was. I told them I represented a few small companies in New York who might be interested in using their new attention grabbing form of outdoor advertising. They still refused to give me their companies name, at which point I nearly left.
After thinking better, I turned and asked if they knew what they were doing was illegal? They all paused, stopped what they were doing and looked at me with greater attention. Suddenly out of no where I heard, "Are you Jordan?" "No" I said, realizing that response made it obvious I was Jordan. My next question was, "Do you know my work?" "Yes, what you do is illegal too." I agreed and did not press the issue as I didn't have time for a conversation about the differences between removing and adding value from our shared public spaces.
I told them I would be reporting this new illegal advertising location when I got home and that they should probably stop what they were doing. The last citation against InWindow at this very same location was given 3 months ago, and is still active under complaint #1260474. Our newest complaint, nearly 3 months later, is filed under complaint #1267606. If you find this company's flagrant disrespect for our city's laws egregious and without warrant, contact 311 and file your own complaint. There is only so long they can get away with this before the many thousands of dollars in fines cripple their activity. Remember your complaints will fund our public schools.
To InWindow: I'm glad to know you know me. I am the voice of your conscience. Respect the gift economy and stop trying to take value out of our communities by removing surplus in the form of advertising revenue. Look to No Longer Empty for a viable model of behavior which promotes the exchange of ideas and not the congregation of monetary value, you assholes. I apologize for my tone, but these guys once tried to meet with me to convince me what they were doing was a benefit to our public environment and shared public spaces by promoting community and reducing blight. A glossary read of Lewis Hyde's The Gift should teach you that breaking the rules of exchange inhibits community and our social ties to one another. We know better than to listen to your double talk. We will find a way to make those $10,000.00 fines stick, you can bank on that.
Users... Create interesting content to promote this Titan Media, Myspace synergy as a viable advertising platform so that once they have 52 million viewers' attention they can blast them with ads for sugar water.
In another twist on digital tie-ups, MySpace has partnered with Titan, a global out-of-home advertiser focused on mass transit, to bring personal messages from MySpace users to high-visibility digital displays in public places.
"Step Up to the Mic" is positioned as a joint promo campaign of the companies' media potential, highlighting their value as ad platforms.
As part of the user-generated promotion, MySpace and Titan are inviting MySpace members to submit a short text message (50 characters or less) and picture online. The content will then appear on hundreds of digital screens in cities across Europe and America, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dublin, London, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Titan's displays are concentrated in and around the mass transit infrastructure in the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Canada, including train stations, bus stops, telephone kiosks and street banners. Altogether, the digital assets involved in "Step Up to the Mic" reach 52 million viewers per month, including 15 million in the U.S. Users can also upload their message and picture at the Titan Web site.
At first glance, it may be surprising that MySpace, the world's largest social network, should feel the need to promote itself as an ad medium or raise consumer awareness. However, stats show the Fox-owned network has steadily lost market share to Facebook over the last few years, with the most precipitous declines coming in the last year.
According to recent figures from Experian Hitwise, in September, Facebook attracted 58.6% of all social network visits in the U.S., compared to just 30.3% for MySpace -- down sharply from 66.8% in September 2008.
The Vancouver Public Space Network is yet another example of the many progressive Canadian public space activist projects going strong these days. A PublicAdCampaign reader brought VPSN to my attention and that their new magazine PubliCity was published with a map of all the non-compliant billboards in Vancouver. The manifesto is interesting to me in that they combine all sorts of public space activism with a strong influence on outdoor advertising creep.
The VPSN is a grassroots collective that engages in advocacy, outreach and education on public space issues in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. This includes challenging the increase of advertising ‘creep’ in public places, promoting creative, community-friendly urban design, monitoring private security activities in the downtown core, fostering public dialogue and democratic debate, and devising creative ways to re-green the neglected corners, alleys and forgotten spaces of the city.
We also like to devise ways to have fun in public space. The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) was formed in early 2006. Since that time our numbers have grown from a dozen initial participants to over 1500 members. The Network continues to expand: a testament to the large number of individuals who value public space and view it as an essential feature of a vibrant, inclusive city.
Members are drawn together by both a shared concern for various issues facing public spaces and public realm amenities in Vancouver, as well as a desire to celebrate the role that public space in shaping the city.
La "intervención" de la publicidad, una nueva forma de arte callejero
An article in Argentina's largest paper Clarin was published yesterday and it includes PublicAdCampaign. My Spanish is pretty poor, even after some 5 years of study in junior high school and high school, so if anyone is itching to translate this we would love to know exactly what it says. A big thank you to Maria for her interest and concern in this growing worldwide movement.
La movida comenzó en Nueva York. Es una forma de recuperar el espacio público.
Por: María Paula Bandera
Hace tiempo que el arte se apoderó de la ciudad. Paredes, posters y portones son como un lienzo en blanco para los artistas callejeros, quienes ahora encontraron un nuevo soporte para desplegar su arte: los carteles publicitarios. Jordan Seiler es un artista neoyorquino que a través del sitio web Public Ad Campaign organizó una creativa manifestación para luchar contra la invasión publicitaria en el espacio público. La iniciativa, conocida como New York Street Advertising Take Over (NYSAT), movilizó cerca de 80 personas, que, disfrazadas de empleados municipales, tomaron las calles de Nueva York y colocaron obras de arte de su propia producción sobre cientos de publicidades.
"Todos somos conscientes de la manipulación que genera la publicidad. Muchas veces podemos evitar esos mensajes apagando el televisor, pasando de página en una revista o bajando el volumen de la radio, mientras que en el espacio publico no hay opción por eso es necesario detener la coerción que la publicidad ejerce en la calle", dice Seiler. Para el artista. el blanco principal son los anuncios ilegales, es decir aquellos que no pagan el canon correspondiente a la ciudad, quizás por eso sus obras de arte no tienen como propósito subvertir los mensajes publicitarios, sino "combatir el espacio que ocupan en detrimento de otras formas de expresión como los mensajes políticos y las intervenciones artísticas". Sus obras se destacan por transformar el sentido de los mensajes publicitarios. Los artistas callejeros están acostumbrados a escapar de la policía, sin embargo, cuando se perjudican los intereses de grandes compañías el asunto se torna más serio. Si bien nunca fue arrestado, Seiler recibió varias citaciones de la Justicia por desplegar su arte en las cabinas telefónicas.
Claro que para luchar contra el avance de las publicidades en el espacio público no hace falta ser artista. Así lo demuestran el "Proyecto Burbuja" y el "Pop Down Project". Se trata de dos movimientos mundiales, aunque sólo el primero tiene representación en nuestro país. Valentín Muro y Mateo Ferley son los responsables de haber importado la idea. Para participar sólo basta con ingresar al sitio Web (www.proyectoburbuja.com) e imprimir las plantillas de lo que ellos llaman "burbujas" -aquellos globitos que se usan en las historietas para insertar diálogos-, después sólo hay que pegarlas en las publicidades. "El Proyecto Burbuja transforma los molestos monólogos corporativos en diálogos abiertos y públicos. Alientan a cualquiera a llenar las burbujas con cualquier expresión, libres de la censura", reza su manifiesto. Oriundo de Bariloche, Muro cuenta que llegó al proyecto de casualidad, navegando en Internet encontró el sitio de "Bubble Project", la Web madre del movimiento. "Me interesé tanto que en una noche lo traduje todo al castellano. Apenas terminé se lo envié a Ji Lee - el creador de la idea original- quien se entusiasmó con mi iniciativa de divulgar el proyecto en castellano". Fue en su ciudad natal que Muro pegó las primeras burbujas y, cuenta, "la respuesta fue prácticamente nula. De hecho, la primera burbuja que llenaron estaba en inglés". Ferley señala que "en Bariloche, la mayoría de las burbujas eran arrancadas. En Buenos Aires hubo una respuesta más participativa". Sin embargo, si se comparan las intervenciones en Nueva York o Milán, la participación por estos pagos todavía es muy baja. "Creo que se debe a que la gente tarda en darse cuenta que la burbuja es una herramienta para intervenir la publicidad y responder al bombardeo del mercado", agrega Ferley.
El "Pop Down Project" hace referencia a otro tipo de publicidad, los "Pop Ups" que aquejan a los cibernautas. En la Web es fácil: un click en la cruz y el aviso desaparece, pero en la calle las cosas se complican. Filipe Vilas Boas, creador de la iniciativa, cuenta que estaba viajando en el metro de París cuando se sintió "abusado por la contaminación visual y mental que generaban los anuncios".
El funcionamiento es similar al del "Proyecto Burbuja", con un lema que podría sintetizarse en "hágalo usted mismo". Para participar, los seguidores del "Pop Down Project" ingresan a la web (http://pop-down.blogspot.com), imprimen las cruces y las pegan "donde quieran, en una publicidad que no les gusta o que los perturba. Sin miedo, ya que están brindando un servicio comunitario".
This has very little to do with PublicAdCampaign and so I was weary to post it, but I never post anything of my own stuff that doesn't deal with advertising in public and I'm bored. I made this piece for the Ace Hotel, for my good friends Mint and Serf. They organized an incredible lineup of artists to each take a room in the hotel and make it unique. This is what I did. It so happens that this piece inspired a song whose chorus was written on the walls of this piece.
Heartache, Heartbreak. And so she slept late. I didn't ask why. Didn't want to wake her, make her face the... Heartache, Heartbreak. And so she slept late. I didn't ask why. Didn't want to wake her, make her face the....
French Activists In Montauban Fight The Encroachment Of Illegal Advertising
I was just emailed by an activist in France that was curious about the four states in our country that have banned outdoor advertising on their highways. His city of Montauban has been fighting, and winning, the battle against the encroachment of illegal advertising for some time now. Remember you are not alone in this battle and that the world as a whole is making this a contemporary social issue. Below is his email, as it contains some interesting information.
Hello Jordan, A question ..do the 4 states where publicity is not allowed in the US really apply the law? (Hawai, Alsaka, Oregon and Maine ) I am English and I live in Montauban in S W France.(for over 25 years now)..a town (like many other french towns) which has its entry roads ruined by excessive publicity hoardings...here are a few photos attached of our cover up campaign (started in 2005) which has seen us organize 25 cover up days .Around 25 people participate each time...we've had a few threats from some local billboard firms and a massive support from the general population + tens of articles in the press and 5 regional television reports....the town has now passed a local by-law which will remove all the billboards from roundabouts and junctions and halve the size of shop signs...all the best Tony Smith local correspondent for Paysages de France (French association that fights visual pollution) www.paysagesdefrance.org
You may think that once you've seen one building turned into a massive billboard you've seem them all, but that would mean you probably haven't seen the so-called "Media Facade" now adorning Bayer's former HQ in Leverkusen, Germany. Built by ag4 media facade GmbH and GKD AG, the massive display apparently consists of 5.6 million LEDs that cover the entire 17,500 square meters of the building, and which can be lit up at will to pump out gigantic advertisements worthy of any science fiction movie. You'll note this is the former Bayer headquarters -- it seems that the promise of 'round the clock ads visible for miles around saved the building from the wrecking ball. Head on past the break for a video of it in action, and a second showing the facade being constructed.
The recent issue of Good Magazine just came out and we are in the top 100, or so, people "changing the way we live". We couldn't be more proud to be listed amongst some amazing projects as well as on the same page as Jason Eppink, a fantastic artist and good friend. Check your local news stands and pick up a copy today, it is well worth it.
I was just made aware of a newsletter put out under the name publiphobe by a wonderful member of the debunkers collective in France. This man has been involved in 53 acts of civil disobedience associated with outdoor advertising in public space and has been arrested 38 times. That is insane. Glad to know him, and if I follow through with plans to go to Paris for my 30th birthday, I will meet them and tell you all how things go. Below is an excerpt from the newsletter and the translation below
The organization PublicAdCampaign - which apparently has existed for about five years - is led by Jordan Seiler, a New York artist. Its goal is to protest against the invasion of public space and mass transport by advertising and the influence of private interest on the mind. The methods used are similar to those in France: painting over, covering billboards with personal artwork, identifying illegal billboards… Like in France, Jordan and his friends come up against, at best, the inertia of public officials, or, at worst, repression (arrest, preventive detention, etc.). A french anti-advertising activist met Jordan during the summer 2009. The transatlantic connection is thus established.
We posted about this Berlin Advertising Takeover a few days ago when Luna Park made us aware of the liberation. It seems Ekosystem has the full story as well as images of all the artwork created for this non-violent act of civil disobedience. We are tickled pink to see artists and activists around the world taking back their public environment for personal communication over private messages. Check it out [HERE]
Yet another NY Ghost phone kiosk install is put up on the streets of NY, this time providing much needed information on how to bake a brownie. Wonder if it was intentional that this piece followed the one on how to smoke marijuana.
Are we in the midst of some consumerist existential crisis? It seems like all over the world, artists and citizens are retaking the space once occupied by outdoor advertising and using it as a frame to project their own ideas onto the society in which they exist. Check this new project sent to me from Luna Park about a recent German ad takeover in Berlin. Thanks Luna!
I don't know if anyone else has been noticing the lack of advertisements in the black Verizon phone kiosks around the city, but it seems to be universal. Many if not all phonekiosks that look like this have been empty for the past few days. Very strange.
Illegal Billboards In The Annex-Toronto Outdoor Advertising Takeover
This takeover in Toronto was just sent to me by the Duspa Corner Collective. It is fantastic to see just how widespread the discontent is for illegal signage and the general disdain many people have for outdoor advertising in general. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project for a successful liberation and your use non-violent civil disobedience.
ILLEGAL BILLBOARDS IN THE ANNEX FLOCK OFF
Toronto, October 3, 2009- The Dupsa Corner Collective (DCC) has undertaken a public art project that has targeted fifteen illegal billboards in the Annex early this morning. The timing of this project has been chosen to correspond with the city of Toronto’s Sign By-Law Project and Alternative Nuit Blanche activities.
The installations depict images of birds in flight. Through art we can transform the often depressing, concrete cityscape to something beautiful and wild. Furthermore, birds often symbolize freedom. The DCC envisions neighbourhoods free from visual pollution, corporate manipulation, and interests that aim to divide community through the individualistic ritual of consumption.
In support of stronger billboard regulations and a more creative city, the DCC aims to bring attention to the upcoming meetings between members of Toronto’s By-Law project and the Planning and Growth Management Committee.
Meetings originally scheduled for the week of October 5 have now been moved to November 4. The Sign By-Law Team will be putting forward proposals including a New Sign By-law, Third-Party Sign Tax, and ideas for enforcement. Details of the report and project can be found on the city of Toronto’s website at: www.toronto.ca/signbylawproject/index.htm
Public art tends to foster a greater respect, responsibility, and pride for one’s community. Let us focus on strengthening community bonds rather than allowing unbridled corporatism to divide our citizenry.
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.
A while back Charlie Todd of Urban Prankster sent me an image of a church in Italy that was under construction, and covered with a large advertisement. What was odd was that whoever was doing the vinyl wraps had gone through the trouble of first wrapping the scaffolding in a rendering of what the church would look like after construction was finished. My favorite Italian friend (sorry Diego), just sent me some more images of churches in Italy that are covered by large, garish, often offensive advertisements (in the eyes of the papacy). Again they seem to first be wrapped in renderings of the intended restoration. I asked her what the deal was, and she quickly wrote me back.
I mostly found out about the Venice restoration...the church was upset with the leggy chick. Apparently the money for the restoration is given by the City Office for Architectural Art (or something like that) and they raise money by selling ads. They can't actually do this on public buildings but can on Churches. They actually do approve which ads get put up and claim they had rejected this ad but...Anyway, the company that puts up the ads will pay a 500 Euro fine, which is nothing considering they will give about 650.000 Euro for the restoration. I'm still reading stuff
I understand outdoor advertising subsidizes public projects all the time but this seems like a bad idea.
San Simeon Piccolo on the Grand Canal in Venice The bell tower of the Chiesa dell'Assunta in Positano San Simeon Piccolo on the Grand Canal in Venice Chiesa Trinita' dei Monti in Rome