<body> Public Ad Campaign: October 2010
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.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Upcoming Solo Show at Vincent Michael

After a few years of large scale organizational projects and other collaborative efforts, I am happy to announce I will be opening up my first solo show in 5 years at the Vincent Michael Gallery on November 5th in Philadelphia. New works will include 16 multimedia drawings, a small video installation, and a few street pieces. If you cannot make it to Philadelphia, please direct any and all inquiries to the Vincent Michael Gallery. Hope to see you there!

What: Taking From The Tip Jar: A Solo Exhibition Featuring New Works From Jordan Seiler
Where: Vincent Michael Gallery
1050 N. Hancock St. Suite #63 Philadelphia, PA 19123

When: Exhibition runs November 5th – December 3rd

Opening Reception Friday, November 5th 7PM – 10PM

More information 215.399.1580 x. 704 / International – 1.877.291.1138 or press@vincentmichael.com

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We Didn't Win So The Next Takeover Is On Hold

The final 4 winners of the Urban Canvas Design Competition have been selected by public Vote. While we did not win, we were happy to see that a similar design, although in bright colors, was selected by the public. I look forward to the shift in perspective and playful manipulation of the rigid nature of construction safety materials propossed by this design as it will be an exciting addition to our public environment. Sadly this means that funding over at PublicAdCampaign is less than desired and another takeover project is likely to be put on hold until funds can be procured to launch another ambitious act of unauthorized civil disobedience. To view all of the winning designs and read more about the winning entries, visit the Urban Canvas website [Here]

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Parallel: The Bus Shelters of Dennis Adams

Here at PublicAdCampaign we go after outdoor advertising because it is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of a more democratic and open public media landscape. Potentially, an open media landscape leads to higher levels of public interaction and investment and therefore a more active and engaged population. While the argument for our actions here at PAC can become much more nuanced, this reduction is a simple way to look at why we make work in public. While we may focus heavily on street art and graffiti, there is a large amount of public work which we neglect. It seems that Gaia, over at Vandalog, is starting a series of posts on public works which might escape the critical eye of those immersed in the world of street art and graffiti. Vandalog is a wonderful resource for contemporary urban art issues and I highly suggest visiting the site often. I wanted to repost this first post in a series GAIA calls Parallel in hopes that our readers will catch the upcoming posts on the topic which are sure to be of interest.
Once and a while I am going to post art works, whether they be installations, video, or other ephemera, that exist in the public realm and have existed parallel to contemporary street art but have been categorized into other art movements. Since the dawn of modernity and urbanization, there has been a rich history of artists using the city as their medium and subject, from impressionism to fluxus. Yet interestingly, these street practices that have existed before contemporary Street Art do not have much of a presence on the internet and the dissemination of these works are still limited to access to institutions and exhibits. [More Here]

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are Billboards Good For Business? For One Major U.S. City, the Answer Is An Emphatic NO

While it is often argued that outdoor advertising is an integral part of an economically viable metropolitan city, Dennis over at Ban Billboard Blight gives us some strong evidence otherwise.

Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the U.S, has some definite similarities to Los Angeles in terms of size, racial and ethnic diversity, and spread of suburbs far beyond a central city core. One thing L.A. doesn’t share with Houston, though, is the latter city’s long-standing commitment to reducing the number of the billboards, both as a beautification measure and a stimulus to economic development. [More Here]

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

El Mac Hits Chelsea and Only Because NPA is Gone

I made a post on a new El Mac mural a few days ago and was quickly contacted by Tim Strazza of Joshua Liner to correct some mistakes I had made in attribution. This post is a revised version of that post with information directly from the parties responsible for the newest El Mac installation in NYC. I apologize to Joshua Liner for the mistake which resulted from a misunderstood statement made at the recent Brooklynite show.

Images Via luna Park

While there are countless examples of advertising taking over a location previously devoted to murals and other forms of public media production, there are few of the reverse. That said, with recent abandonments by NPA, or Contest Promotions depending on when you started following their illegal advertising activities, prime walls are slowly becoming available. Not only this but artists are beginning to fill in the blanks and adorn our city with street level mural work that the rest of the world has been enjoying for quite some time.
Remember this image that went up directly after NPA had begun the first round of illegal billboard removal? Well El Mac recently added his own touch to this wall and produced a stunning portrait for the city to enjoy. According to Mr. Strazza at Joshua Liner, the mural was conceived after the gallery found out that the owner of the building at 26th and 10th was unhappy with the mural which went up directly after NPA had removed its illegal signage. According to Tim, they have no interest in using the mural as advertising for the gallery or of retaining any curatorial control over this location, something I would not be against considering the mural comes with no plug for the gallery or the artist and is truly a gift to the public at large. The gallery hopes that the neighborhood enjoys the work and that it will stay for as long as possible. According to our sources, the employees at the auto body shop whose wall this mural is painted on, love the work and have taken to referring to the mural in the third person as one would a worthy sea vessel.
While we continually decry outdoor advertisings psychological abuses of the public at large, physical intrusions play an important role in advertisings incompatibility with a potentially healthy public space. By monetizing and occupying as much space as possible, advertising often prevents public media productions by holding public space captive to the highest bidder. This El Mac production is a perfect example of how other media might enliven our public environment in the absence of advertising, keeping New York public space vibrant and commercial free.
Lastly, it is important to take notice of the change in attitude that the auto body workers have had towards the public wall which they share with the community. This new production allows them to take pride in their building and the character of their establishment. They have gained a psychological attachment to public space through the El Mac mural. It is as if this gift from the artist, understood to be such, is then returned to the public through the workers new found concern for the space they share with us. I guarantee if someone comes and tags this wall they will have to deal with the workers who will stand up for this public space because it is now a representation of themselves. In this way, art can do what advertising on the streets cannot, physically and psychological tie the public to public space in ways which further our connection and protection of our shared environments.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Disobedience + Innovation: Inspiring Change

I will be a part of a panel discussion on disobedience and innovation at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center this October 28th. Please come by to engage what will surely be a lively discussion and investigation of the benefits and pitfalls of progressive civil disobedience.
In collaboration with Emerging Leaders of New York Arts, Eyebeam has invited Katyal and a group of artists, innovators, writers, and activists to discuss their views on the relationship between forms of civil disobedience and innovation. Some questions we’re asking are: What role does disobedience play in inducing innovation, and who lives in the grey areas of the law? Is innovation always a social practice? What makes an initiative successful - is it larger systemic change or policy change? Broader awareness? Hits? Links? Reblogs/tweets? How does financial viability come into play when looking toward innovation? What about productivity, innovation, and the arts--how can some forms of disobedience play a role in furthering creativity?

Stephen Dumcombe, Associate Professor at New York University; author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy; editor, Cultural Resistance Reader

Sonia K. Katyal, Professor of Law at Fordham Law School
Brooke Singer, Eyebeam Fellow; Media Artist & Associate Professor of New Media at Purchase College, State University of New York
• Jordan Seiler, founder of PublicAdCampaign
Fred Benenson, Digital Activist / Artist / etc; R&D, Kickstarter

Tentative bonus guest:
Andrew Boyd, Chairman of the Blurb, Agit-Pop Communications; Co-Founder, The Other 98%; Founder, Billionaires for Bush; Troublemaker@Large, Planet Earth

REGISTER: http://bit.ly/Oct28cc

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On advertising / from a working library

VIA The Anti-Adverising Agency

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that the reading experience on the web is dependent upon an advertising economy, that there is no other model for supporting reading save the ever more noisome sale of cellulite creams and cell phones, that our ingenuity has been so fully drained we cannot envision any other scenario by which capitalism and reading could coexist.

read the rest: On advertising / from a working library.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

CUNY's CAAW Highlights Growing Public Sentiments

In the past few years, not only has the amount of unauthorized artistic production over outdoor advertising increased, but I have watched a steady rise in the public's general awareness about excessive advertising grow dramatically. Now it seems even the City University of New York is getting on board, integrating an excerpt from Kalle Lasn's "Hype" into its Aligned Assessment of Writing, standardized test. The incendiary reading passage meant to prompt a written response highlights the growing sentiment against our overburdened commercial advertising culture.

View the full CAAW handbook [Here]

The CUNY Aligned Assessment of Writing (CAAW) is a standardized writing assessment instrument designed to elicit direct writing samples from entering students for purposes of placement into freshman composition courses, ESL, and developmental courses. In addition, the CAAW is used to determine exit from developmental writing courses and readiness for college-level writing and discipline content courses.

Begin by reading the passage below. Hype

Advertisements are the most prevalent and toxic of the mental pollutants. From the moment your alarm sounds in the morning to the wee hours of late‐night TV, commercial pollution floods your brain at the rate of about three thousand marketing messages per day. Every day an estimated 12 billion display ads, 3 million radio commercials, and more than 200,000 TV commercials are dumped into North America’s collective unconscious. The increase in commercial advertising has happened so steadily and relentlessly that we haven’t quite woken up to the absurdity of it all. No longer are ads confined to the usual places: buses, billboards, stadiums. Anywhere your eyes can possibly come to rest is now a place that, in corporate America’s view, can and ought to be filled with a logo or product message.

You fill your car with gas, and there’s an ad on the nozzle. You wait for your bank machine to spit out money and an ad scrolls by in the little window. You drive through the countryside and the view of the wheat fields is broken at intervals by enormous billboards. Your kids watch Pepsi and Snickers ads in the classroom. A company called VideoCarte installs interactive screens on supermarket carts so that you can see ads while you shop. (A company executive calls the little monitors “the most powerful micromarketing medium available today.”) There is nowhere to run. No one is exempt and no one will be spared. In the silent moments of my life, I often used to hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony play in my head. Now I hear that kid singing the Oscar Meyer wiener song.

Excerpted from Kalle Lasn. “Hype,” Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers, 4th ed. (Sonia Maasik & Jack Solomon, eds.) Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. 217‐220.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Contest Promotions Signs Suggest Things to Come

Our good friend Charlie at Urban Prankster sent us this photo.

As many of our readers know, the original business responsible for this sign, NPA, now Contest Promotions, has been the focus of a lot of our attention over the past 2 years. Long story short, they have been operating street level billboards illegally in NYC for some time now. After a little Civil Disobedience and some attention from the DOB, Contest promotions created a bogus business model upon which they could attempt to legalize their illegal signage through a little slight of hand. The legal shenanigans included the addition of a small disclaimer to all of their illegal signage. This disclaimer, by their argument, converts these signs from 3rd party advertising to 1st party business signage. Meaning that those ads are actually representations of products available inside in the same way that a Citibank logo references available financial services or a giant ice cream cone represents the 26 flavors you can't wait to get your hands on. The recent addition of a more carefully worded disclaimer as well as the actual name of the store upon which the illegal billboard is affixed, can only mean one thing, legal proceedings.

It is in my non-professional opinion that a court case must be in the works and Contest Promotions is digging in for a fight. Why else would these signs appear on every single billboard overnight? The stakes are high for everyone involved. If CP wins and is allowed to continue operating on a business model whose sole purpose is to skirt NYC law we are all in a lot of trouble. This kind of decision would open the floodgates to outdoor advertising companies thinking up new and inventive ways to pretend their advertising is not advertising at all and therefore completely ignore all of the checks and balances we have as a city against this industry. If the city wins and is able to uphold its position as caretaker and ultimately decision maker as to how much and where outdoor advertising is allowed, we might see at least a temporary easement on the number of companies who think it is okay to make the city spend tax payer dollars to defend its right to control the proliferation of commercial messages in our city. While this issue is more than dollars and cents to me, when it comes down to it, there is a large national corporation trying to take advantage of our public space by subjecting us to commercial media for personal monetary benefit, and a city spending money it doesn't have to defend against this onslaught of personal gain.

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Ludo Co-Branding Paris

      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