<body> Public Ad Campaign: 4 Questions for PublicAdCampaign
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

4 Questions for PublicAdCampaign

Laura Pulgarin, a student at Rutgers University wrote me the other day asking for my views on a few things. Here are my responses as I think they are uncharacteristically brief and possibly even succinct?

Why do you think that citizens should be more alert about illegal placement of advisements?
illegal advertisements are a symptom of outdoor advertising. the intention of advertising in general is to monopolize your thought process and create a single channel upon which messages disseminate to you. this is the most affective way to get a message across, no other messages. outdoors the industry intends to overwhelm you in an environment in which you have no option but reception. it only makes sense that in an effort to achieve saturation, legal boundaries will be crossed. Im not sure people should care about illegal advertisements but rather advertisements placed in the space we call public. the reasons to prevent commercial and private messaging in public versus public communications and dialogue are many and not within the scope of this question.

Why did you pioneer Public Ad Campaign?
PublicAdCampaign is a lifelong research project intent on figuring out how to better use our public spaces, particularly in relation to outdoor advertising's use of that same space. While it started as a street art project, it has grown into an art project with activist roots. Often the work I do these days looks more like civil disobedience and protest than it does art. That said, there was no particular reason to "pioneer" PublicAdCampaign but rather a compulsion to explore public space and the activities that make for a more healthy society.

Do you think that the city of New York is doing enough to stop illegal advertising?
No not really but I'm not sure I care. I see the publics role in the curation of our shared spaces as much more important than actual policing by government Agencies. While the city might take down all illegal advertisements, this does nothing to talk about the issue of outdoor advertising in general and the public's ability to use that same space for its own purposes. By engaging this conversation as citizens, we are activating our responsibilities in our public environment and in doing so becoming more engaged citizens. I would like to see the public not only remove advertising from the streets but also use our shared environment in a more active way, thus helping to spread public dialogue and interaction.

What do you make of the fact that the city goes after members of public ad campaign or other street artists and many times do not go after those who put up illegal ads?
The city does go after illegal advertisers. That said it is incredibly difficult to fight these battles in court against such monied opponents. What NYSAT participants did was technically illegal and therefor resulted in some arrests. As our current system stands today, that is what should be expected. What I would like to see in the future is a police force or city whose laws allow for the public to make alterations to their surroundings in positive ways without needing permission to do so. NYSAT participants saw a problem and took it upon themselves to solve it. As things stand now that is illegal but a public space which allows for this type of engagement would better suit a city as well as its citizenry.

Hope that helps!

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