<body> Public Ad Campaign: December 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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Party On Ghost Jesus-Teeth Hits Pattisson

Teeth up in Toronto is again making use of the Pattisson outdoor Pillars we hit for the TOSAT project. She installed Party on Ghost Jesus for the Christmas holiday, but look for more to come in the future. Party on Teeth and keep media production public. Next time do me a favor and cover the Narnia text.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Battle of Los Angeles Part II: Graffiti, the Self and the Reappropriation of Semiotic Space

A while back we posted Brett Biermann's paper Battle of LA. While he is still working on the final draft, this second version is clearer and more concise. Mr Biermann's investigations support many of the ideas we live by here at PublicAdCampaign, and to have them laid bare is a pleasure to witness. Brett has been kind enough to share his work with us before it is finished and we in turn are passing this information on to you. Please take the time to read Brett's paper and if you have any serious comments or questions, feel free to write me and I will put you in touch with him directly.
While I could review this paper's contents in this post, quoting interesting passages and giving you a taste of what I find interesting, I would rather concerned parties take the time to read it for themselves. If my glowing endorsement is not enough, maybe this quick description of the papers contents might persuade potentially interested parties to dig further. Enjoy!
In the Battle of LA, Mr Biermann compares commercial outdoor advertising to typical unauthorized urban markmaking, and in doing so shows how each is a form of felony vandalism in Los Angeles. Despite this truth, the lack of enforcement of corporate graffiti and continued persecution of more widely understood markmaking like graffiti, illuminates an underlying tendency by our governments to condone certain forms of public speech as they push a corpo-political regime identified with pro consumerist tendencies and identities. Public space, and outdoor advertisings preeminence in that space, is used to construct this consumerist identity, and promotes a hegemonic society where our shared morality and communal interests are subjugated by the needs of a capitalist regime. While this may be problematic on many levels, Brett proposes that this imposed identity, and the resulting disassociation, can be easily reversed through the reapropriation of outdoor advertising or the very tools used by the corpo-politcal machine to construct the consumer citizen. Through this act of reapropriation, ones place within the larger corpo-political environment becomes clear, freeing one from the system of control and creating individuals with agency outside of their roles as costumer citizens.
Download the full paper [Here]

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Monday, December 20, 2010

How Both Physical And Social Public Interactions Make You A Better Citizen

For those who read PublicAdCampaign on a regular basis, the notion that physical interaction with public space breeds psychological attachment to our streets and its occupants, might sound familiar. I truly believe that the act of mark making in public space, be it authorized or done under the cover of darkness, creates a bond between the producer and the city that goes far beyond the normal sense of duty an average citizen might feel for his or her shared environment. By leaving a mark, you leave a piece of yourself behind. For this reason, I have found street artists and graffiti artists to be some of the most engaged citizens in public space. Their love affair with the city and the people who occupy it is a direct result of their physical interactions. Simply put, creating in public produces a strong sense of responsibility for public space and in doing so enriches your experience as a public individual and thus your role in our collective social fabric.

While this is something I believe wholeheartedly, it is also something I think people take lightly and or dismiss as idealistic brouhaha chalked up by an activist intent on justifying his unauthorized use of our shared public environment. While this is not the case, a social interaction that took place over the last week has helped me clarify why physical interaction creates a sense of loyalty and responsibility that might otherwise not have existed.
I have lived in Brooklyn, in the same apartment, for the last 8 years. Over this time, I have watched my neighborhood develop and go through the sometimes slow, sometimes rapid steps of gentrification. While the neighborhood has changed drastically, the homeless figures who occupied the streets when I first moved in continue to do so to this day. While they are familiar faces, sadly I have not made an effort to bring them off the canvas that is my neighborhood and interact with them as something other than constant fixtures in my daily routine. This changed last week when I met Jamel, AKA H.M. (Homeless Man)
My first interaction happened outside of my local coffee shop. Lighting a cigarette, I was asked by Jamel if I would get him a cup of water. I of course obliged and returned with a plastic cup of tap water. He thanked me and we both went opposite directions. A few days later, again outside of my local coffee shop, I ran into Jamel. It was early in the morning and the bright sun made the street warm despite the freezing temperatures. As I turned to walk towards the train, Jamel stopped me and told me to take his picture, pointing to the phone in my hand. I told him that I did not have a camera, at which point he began to profess the artistic qualities of his makeshift home on wheels, ostensibly why he thought a picture was in order. Abstract art he called it, and began to explain the postmodern appeal of the "art" object he pushed around the neighborhood. He referred to the blankets he had piled high, and the multiple patterns which made up a large portion of his cart. He framed intimate moments with his hands and talked about how if you looked hard, there were aesthetic moments worth pondering. Indeed, the juxtapositions of some of the objects he carried with him were worth musing over and I was duly impressed with his understanding of how interesting his traveling home actually was.
Our conversation continued for some time as we talked about the merits of art. Jamel continued to note that both his cart and himself were interesting subjects. He explained how people spent time looking at him and his things, pondering as he saw it, an object with aesthetic value. While I'm not sure if passersby are pondering aesthetics when they look at Jamel, huddled in a doorway, the fact that he was lucid enough to see this potential, I found extremely interesting. The fact of the matter is that he is right. Like a collage, the endless interactions between disparate objects provided a reason for continued investigations. How fantastic I thought, and bid Jamel farewell as I left to continue my days work.
For the first time since I had moved into my neighborhood, Jamel ceased to be another homeless person. While his cart might be abstract art, Jamel was no longer abstracted to me but rather a living personality. I had socially interacted with him and there was no turning back. Later that evening I was returning from a meeting around 8pm. I stopped by the local supermarket to pickup a pork shoulder and continued towards my house. En route, battling vicious winds, I passed by Jamel huddled in a doorway tucking himself in for the night. Groceries in hand, I continued towards my house but was unable to shake the image of Jamel bedding down for the evening in the unforgiving elements. I had passed Jamel like this on countless evenings and somehow this one was different. I returned to Jamel 15 minutes later with a winter jacket and a blanket I had stored away for when guests visit. Jamel was excited to say the least and after I helped him up from his lying position, we stood in the freezing cold talking about art and the universe. He told me he had an answer for any question I asked him and I drilled him with everything from the meaning of life to where did the universe come from. Sure enough he had an answer for each of my queries.
While it is fine and dandy to give clothes to those in need, that is not what I'm interested in here. Why after neglecting this person for so many years had I suddenly felt so compelled to help? The obvious answer is that I had finally humanized this person and was unable to shift him to my peripheral vision once this had happened. But what had shifted him from the periphery to seemingly astral focus was something very tangible, our social interaction. The conversation we had was the vehicle upon which our intimacy developed. Without that social interaction I would have continued to ignore this aspect of my shared environment. The subsequent feeling was guttural and I felt responsible to bring a jacket to Jamel.
It is at this point that I drew the connection between physical interaction with public space and social interaction with public individuals. Both tend to create an unshakeable sense of respect, responsibility, and duty. Similarly to my conversation Jamel, my aesthetic interactions in public space have drawn me inextricably closer to the city structure. No longer can I go about my day, passing through our shared public spaces, without feeling a sense of responsibility for how they are used. It is interaction which breeds connection and therefore of the utmost importance that we allow our streets to be places accustomed to both social and physical interaction since each has the ability to tie us directly to the spaces and people we live with. If, like a conversation with a stranger, drawing on the walls of our city can help develop a responsible citizenry, we must make an effort to promote this type of behavior in earnest.
It is with this in mind that PublicAdCampaign promotes public media productions in public space and continues to question private medias existence in our shared environment. For further discussions on why private media does not further our social interactions and is one of the main hurdles in opening up public space to a more democratic form of public participation, please feel free to contact me or read our many other musings on the topic.

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Goodbye AAA, You Will Be Missed!

Steve Lambert and the AAA have been personal heroes and sometimes colleagues in the fight to re-imagine a more properly functioning public space over the past 6 years. That said, it is not without a deep sense of regret that we watch the AAA sign off while Steve goes on to pursue other projects. While the AAA is merely taking hiatus, we mourn the loss of such an incredibly affective agency whose goals followed such similar paths to that of PublicAdCampaign.

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You can’t even close your eyes to avoid this

Friday, December 17, 2010

Art Of Rebellion III - Out Now!

I am proud to announce that PublicAdCampaign has been included in the newest installment of the urban art book series, Art Of Rebellion. While I am excited to be listed amongst all of the artists involved, I couldn't be happier to be in the book with OX, PosterBoy and Princess Hijab, all artists who have been influencing me with their public works for some time now. If you're interested in purchasing the book, please visit the Amazon link [Here]

Thanks to Markus and Publikat Publishing for all of their efforts.

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Madrid Subway Station Advertising Takeovers

Alberto De Pedro, Jaime Alekos and Neko just hit the Madrid subway system. While I love a good takeover, what I love best is that the track workers are not more than a few hundred feet away while they pull off their action. Bravo guys. Keep up the great work.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Support and Own-Holiday Print Sale Drive

Hello everyone! With only slight reluctance, we have decided to sell prints. As you may or may not know, PublicAdCampaign is a personally funded endeavor that attempts to engage issues surrounding public media production and private media production in public space. This process takes many forms including individual street actions, gallery productions, large scale organizational disobedience, and upcoming this year curatorial projects in public space of both the authorized and unauthorized kind.

In order to support these endeavors, we are offering 5 prints of advertising takeover projects we are particularly fond of here at PublicAdCampaign. Each image represents the larger PublicAdCampaign mission and your purchase of a print will not only function to brighten your home or office, providing endless conversation starters for your guests and co-wrokers, but will also support an art/activist project intent on promoting arts role as a vehicle for social change.
All five available prints can be found [Here]. Please direct all inquiries to Jordan@PublicAdCampaign.com.
Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Legal Strategy? Latest Billboard Company Lawsuits Name Community Activists

Dennis Hathaway over at Ban Billboard Blight just sent me a link to the Blu mural controversy in the LA times. He thought I would find it interesting, although I'm not sure I want to speak directly about the censorship at this time. That said, Dennis has a unique understanding of media production in public space in LA. This position makes him acutely aware of the abuses of public space by commercial media and the incredible pressure the public must put on advertising companies to have them act within the will of the general public. Commenting on the Blu mural removal, he sees a deep disconnect between public media production and private media production in our shared spaces. He writes...
"The irony is that on Thursday the city planning commission is holding a hearing on a major development just a few blocks away that proposes to have large swaths of electronic advertising signs embedded into the walls of the building. So public space can be appropriated to display the products of capitalism, but that space must be kept free of comments upon capitalism."
While Dennis clearly sees the irony within which public space continually operates, championing commercial forces while tip toeing around public media productions, his concerns are dismissed wholeheartedly by the companies promoting private media within Los Angeles. This is made clear in a recent lawsuit in which Dennis, amongst others, challenged permits obtained by CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel to convert standard billboards into digital signage. The companies claimed that the parties had no right to challenge the permits in court as none of the parties were "aggrieved" by the billboards in question.
While there are many reasons why a politically active and socially engaged citizen might take issue with specific outdoor signage as well as the companies' continued abuse of the law and public opinion, in light of the recent Blu mural controversy Dennis seems to define another reason why regular citizens should be "aggrieved" by outdoor medias abuse of public space. Time and time again, massive controversial commercial signage is allowed to stand despite public outcry and or basic disregard to the law, and time and time again, public media productions are forced into a theatre of public opinion.
While the later is not a bad thing, the disconnect between the response to the two types of media production is enough to make any concerned citizen irate. We all know the common saying "money talks and bullshit walks", in this situation the bullshit we are talking about is the very means to which the public creates and identifies social issues and common concerns in public space. If public conversations through public media productions are silenced because they don't have the "money to talk" in public space, well we clearly aren't operating our public spaces in a beneficial manner.

The president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight (CBBB) and the heads of homeowner’s groups who challenged permits issued for digital billboards in the Westwood area have been named as parties in lawsuits filed against the city of Los Angeles by Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor. More [Here]

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Thursday, December 9, 2010


Related to the last post, does it bother you that Time Warner cannot face penalty for this recent corporate graffiti campaign. If The DOB sign enforcement unit can figure out who was responsible for the execution, they might face a small fine. Does it bother you that the people who stenciled these were probably local artists who had worked on the street and were willing to face arrest for the 300 or so dollars a night? Does it also bother you that these individuals might face serious jail time if they were caught doing their own work? It does me.
VIA Animal NY
Time Warner stenciled their branding up the Ave from the New Museum on Bowery (and elsewhere) to promote some invite-only party they’re throwing tonight for a launch of their fancy, pricey “signature” package of cable services. Appropriately, the stencils are outside of Whole Foods, marketing directly to the sort of people who pay too much for cheese.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Corporate Graffiti On Our Streets!

Kids go to jail in Witchita for carrying markers and these guys get a few thousand in fines? Maybe their punishment should be being assigned as a Big Brother to derelict youth, but then again they probably aren't the best role models.

SAN FRANCISCO—Cities from here to New York are cracking down on a form of marketing that some police liken to graffiti vandalism—much of it paid for by such marquee companies as Microsoft Corp. and others. [More]

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Let Me Handle This-2nd Wave

It's my birthday today so I think it appropriate to muse on the next year a bit before I go into the Let Me Handle This Project outcome. Last year was fantastic. TOSAT went swimmingly and proved out of country large scale ad takeovers are possible. Working with PosterChild, Sean Martindale, the Duspa collective and of course Jasper Reese, was wonderful. I'm looking forward to pulling off another one this year on and even larger scale and working with a new city and new collaborators. It is my hope that we can grow the project even further and include hundreds of artists the next time around. Only time will tell but keep your ears to the ground. The Taking from the Tip Jar exhibition was a great way to jump back into the gallery setting after a few years of hard core organizing efforts. I can't thank Vincent Michael enough and I look forward to more gallery productions this year. In fact I'm starting a new piece today. Upcoming, PublicAdCampaign is looking to engage public space in new and innovative ways, keep your eyes open for augmented reality public art collaborations and the PublicAdCampaign project taking on public media curation along side critical commentary on advertising's use of public space. Lastly for those of you who know me well, we finally wrapped a 2 year long secret project which I am still not fully at liberty to talk about. Look for some serious documentation, exhibitions, and other media to come out within the next year. It's gonna be a good one friends...
Let Me Handle This Wrap Up:
On december 3rd, the Taking From The Tip Jar exhibition came down and with it the experiment I called Let Me Handle This ended as well. While in Philidelphia for the opening of my show I installed 3 quick ad takeovers to start the Let Me Handle This project. While the project only lasted for the month the show was on, I was hoping it would have grown slightly larger over its duration. Nonetheless it was an interesting experiment and one I might explore further in the months to come.
Essentially the idea was to try and force the media companies in Philadelphia to leave up my work for a month. I started by putting up 3 ad takeovers that can be seen here. In an effort to insure they remained in place I posed a small threat. If removed, I would retaliate by doubling the amount of work I had put in Philly, in New York. This notion that removing my work would only increase the number of ads taken over by a factor of two, I was hoping would deter the companies from taking action against my small media grab. While Philadelphia would not incur immediate harm by removing my 3 takeovers, if NY then chose to remove the 6 I had put up, Philly would then receive 12 ad takeovers. In this way the companies each would be forced to take responsibility for the increase in my aggressiveness and be able to weigh the potential gain of leaving up such a small number of detournments. I felt because it was only for a small period of time this would not have been such a big deal.
Turns out it took almost 3 weeks for the work to be removed in Philly. This was most likely because they have slow turnaround in Philly, although many OOH companies watch my site and when I post pictures, I often find my work removed within hours. Once the work was removed in Philly I did retaliate with 6 more takeovers in NY (below). These stayed up for enough time to get me through the end of the show which meant that the project was over. I was hoping removal would happen faster on both fronts and that I might at least have reached a single action of 24 posters. Alas, this did not happen and if I do something similar again I will need to increase the duration of the project to insure many removals and thus an increase in the total scope of my takeovers. Again, unless the companies just wanna leave my work up for a few months.

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Epos 257 Crew-Unauthorized Appropriation of Public Space

While this urban intervention has nothing to do with advertising, it does share a similar ethos to the PublicAdCampaign project that makes me absolutely adore it. Without authorization, the EPOS 257 crew, installed a 50 square meter fence in Palackeho square in Prague, redirecting foot traffic around what they had claimed ownership to. Public space, with a pervasion of rules and guidelines within which we all must abide, often does not live up to its full potential under such tight restriction. This project shares our own sentiment that breaking those rules and challenging the way we interact with our public space can create psychic interactions which draw us ever closer to the shared physical environment and therefore to those other citizens who share that space with us. Brilliant! see more photos [here]

“In the current society, our living space is defined by legal norms and regulations, the same way as fences demark the choices of our free movement.

Only by attempting to cross those boundaries, we learn how limited the space we live in really is – that we are not as free as it may initially seem. We are getting the sense that the individuality of today is destined to an existence amidst restrictions.” (EPOS 257)

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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