Photo by Rosh
NEKO keeps killing Madrid in the wake of the recent MaSAT project. (not that he wasn't killing it before hand but I'm just saying) This piece, placed directly across from a church reads "let the children come to me". While this is an actual church slogan, taken out of context and close to Easter, and in the space where manipulative advertising messages often emanate, the words take on aggressive new meanings. Instead of a sympathetic call to charity, arrogance and disrespect.
Of all the ad takeovers I have seen recently, this one stands out because of the way it illuminates spatial issues and our own real expectations. As a statement made under the banner of the church, the text suggests beneficent behavior and expectations of charity and good harbor. Placed within the confines of an advertising location where the expectation of voice is entirely different, the text seems aggressive, condescending, and provocative in all the wrong ways. How then does this illuminate larger ideas about what we expect from advertising and commercial sloganeering?
Why does the meaning change under different spatial circumstances? I would argue that we are conditioned to understand advertising's underlying agenda. A text of this nature reveals this conditioning and makes clear how adversarial public space can be when occupied by commercial forces. Why on earth would we want to surround ourselves with thousands of points in our daily public interactions where the expectation of dialogue is adversarial and aggressive? It doesn't make sense to me and it shouldn't make sense to you either.
Outdoor advertising is incongruous with a healthy and well functioning public psychology and therefore public environment in general.
NEKO Madrid subway disruption courtesy of the artist