<body> Public Ad Campaign: April 2011
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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

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

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Newest Piece Shipping to LA

I just finished my newest piece, boxed it up and sent it off to the New Puppy Gallery for an opening on Friday, May 13th. The 3D lightbox is made with used books, board, spray paint, and LED lights. The dimensions of the lightbox are 57"x 27" x6". This image is part of a new series I am working on using phone booth frames to create real objects of desire.

If you have any questions about the work, please feel free to email me directly.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mediacy Ads Are Popping Up Around Town

Lately I have been seeing Mediacy Gatescapes cropping up around town. When the company first started, Michael Gitter partially justified the advertising intrusion by insisting that it would get rid of graffiti and make the spaces more visually pleasing. Obviously this was not true as evidenced by this advertisement on a gate which could not physically hold graffiti. With the city requiring all rolldown gates to be converted to this "see thru" version in the next few years, Mediacy rolldown gates will themselves become the new graffiti that adorns this ubiquitous New York street feature. And yes, many will be lit with two household bulbs to make them even more "attractive". Thanks Michael.

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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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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Apple and Google Use Phone Data to Map the World

And suddenly there were more iPod ads on your route to work….
SAN FRANCISCO — You may not know it, but if you carry a smartphone in your pocket, you are probably doing unpaid work for Apple or Google — and helping them eventually aim more advertising directly at you. [More Here]

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

EyeSaw Interview-Ad Takeovers in London

A few days ago I received an email from Eyesaw regarding the recent MaSAT project. I was aware of Eye Saw's work but not the extent of his practice. I asked him a few quick questions regarding his work which you can read below.

Whats your name and where are you from?
-I like to be known as Eyesaw I try to keep my private life separate from my work (although I never stop working in my head), I do not like to disclose to much information with people that i'm unfamiliar with. I live in London Uk.
When did you start working on the street?
-I originally Started out painting graffiti in the streets about 2001 although was not very good, mainly tags and thro-up"s. I then moved onto stencils as it was quick and could get a message across rather than just getting a my name up. I then had a break for a short while and studied BA Hons graphic design.
when did you start working over advertising if this came later?
-I started working over advertising in 2008 I have a disregard for authority and don't like being told what to do, how to act and what I should buy to make me cool or make my life better.
If you switched to working over advertising, why? if there was not switch, why do you choose to work over advertising?
-Studying my degree opened my eyes to the world we live in, I had researched a lot about advertising and society. I was very interested how advertising has painted a distorted image of the world and the consumer. At uni we were encouraged to seek careers in this field to which I had no interest, I made a conscious decision there and then that would use what i had learnt to stick two fingers up to the advertisers.
What do you want passerby to take away from interacting with one of your pieces?
-Using phenomenology, I aim to make the viewer question their surroundings and the world we live in and their role in society. By placing my work in prime advertising space the passer-by is almost fooled into believing my work is an advert selling more shit they don't need. As my work offers no explanation as to what is being sold, the viewer is made to ask their own questions and draw their own conclusions. As a result I gain great satisfaction knowing I have removed a crap advert from circulation and replaced it with one of my works and just maybe open someone’s eyes to society’s downfalls.
What is your favorite thing to do in your city?
-I'm a people watcher I love taking in culture and looking out for little things that others miss or take for granted.


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Ukranian Ad Takeover by Homer

Artist: Homer

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

ABC No Rio 2011 Gala and Benefit Auction

I was recently asked to contribute a work for the upcoming ABC No Rio gala and benefit auction. While I have spent little time interacting with the Lower East Side institution, I was kindly granted the use of their space by Steven for the after party of the original NYSAT project. In the end we ended up using another location due to spatial constraints but the overwhelming support was obvious and I'm happy to give back to this important venue.

My contribution is a full "Support to Own" print set including one framed piece. The edition of these prints is almost sold out so if you are interested in acquiring a bit of PublicAdCampaign history, contact us or better yet, come on May 3rd and start the bidding on a full set.

"Support to Own" White on White 16x20 Giclee Print. Edition of 10
Full contributing artist list:
John Ahearn, Joey Archuleta, Bullet Space (Your House is Mine), Kathe Burkhart, Andrea Callard, Michael Cataldi, Molly Crabapple, CRASH, Bill Daniel, Willem de Kooning, Jade Doskow, Stefan Eins, Mike Estabrook, Brian George, Ilona Granet, Gregory Green, Hans Haacke, Julie Hair, Julie Harrison, Clarity Haynes, Geoffrey Hendricks, Becky Howland, Robert Indiana, Vandana Jain, Lisa Kahane, Hannes Kater, Fawad Khan, Adam Krueger, Fred Krughoff, Barney Kulok, Peter Kuper, Leslie Lowe, Anne Arden McDonald, Josh MacPhee, Victor Matthews, Ryan McGinness, Judith Modrak, Joel Morrison, James Nares, Joseph Nechvatal, Nils Norman, Claes Oldenburg, Alice O'Malley, Yoko Ono, Tom Otterness, Trevor Paglen, Graham Parker, Anton Perich, Cara Perlman, Kembra Pfahler, Virge Piersol, Judy Rifka, Jennifer Riley, Walter Robinson, Judy Ross, Gary Rough, Christy Rupp, Kelly Savage, David Schmidlapp, Jordan Seiler, Ward Shelley, Loren Siems, Wolfgang Staehle, Chris Stain, Swoon, T-Lo, Seth Tobocman, Anton van Dalen, Tom Warren, and Lawrence Weiner.

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Eddie Cola sent me a link to a BSA article about his recent ad takeover commenting on the current MoCA show Art in the Streets. It seems the best part of this is that after the work was covered with the ussual movie poster filth perpetrated by Contest Promotions, onlookers removed the ads in favor of Eddie's handiwork.
VIA Brooklyn Street Art

Eddie Colla says his billboard takeover is a response to a Huffington Post article last week where a finger wagging tone was on display toward current street artists, “MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch pegs it on the ‘young’ and ‘anarchic,’ and is quoted giving this message to illegal taggers: ‘If you harness your talent you can be in a museum some day, make a contribution and a living from it.’ ” [More Here]

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

PB is Improvising Non-Stop And Doing A Damn Good Job Of It!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On School Buses, Ad Space for Rent

Cash-hungry states and municipalities, in pursuit of even the smallest amounts of revenue, have begun to exploit one market that they have exclusive control over: their own property. [More Here]

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hunter Student Uses Phonebooth on this Auspicious Tax Day

A while back I was contacted by a Hunter College student studying Integrated Media Design. He wanted to access phonebooths for some public media production and so I directed him to the phonebooth video tutorial. Just yesterday I received these two images under the heading "pay your taxes adbust". Asking the student how it felt to have a space in which to create his own personal dialogues, he told me "it felt GREAT and i can't wait to do it again."

To me this is what PublicAdCampaign is all about, creating opportunities for moments which break our expectations of our public roles. Realizing our agency as individuals and the power and empowerment associated with having a voice and an effect on our shared environment. To often we are complacent and willing to accept the our role as consumerist receptacles for private messages. Altering that relationship can have profound effects on the individual that I believe are worthwhile exploring despite their transgressive nature.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Sam3, Billboards in Murcia, Spain

I have yet to meet Sam3 but I already know I will like him. His work over outdoor advertising is both incisive and insightful.
VIA Unurth

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get In My Belly-Toronto Ad Takeover

Sometimes public ad takeovers are used to critique the system of outdoor advertising, the companies being advertised, or in this case the political system which perpetuates commercial control of our public spaces. A PublicAdCampaign reader writes us...

"This is a takeover of a billboard in the east end of Toronto, 355 Eastern Ave, spoofing the new Mayor Rob Ford who is very anti-street art, he ran on a platform of ending the 'gravy train' at city hall and won big time. Our little new dictator." Artist Unknown.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Contest Promotions Will Pay You In Peanuts

Contest Promotions, currently in a legal battle with NYC over their dubious business model, is not on my christmas card list this year for many reasons. Mostly this is due to the fact that they have littered NY with commercial signage without concern for NYC law and authority. This behavior is indicative of typical outdoor advertising companies that treat public space as if it were a resource to be used and abused with no consequence to the people who inhabit that space. While this is a good reason to not receive holiday cheer, this check I was given by a friend only adds to my disdain. It seems that $50 dollars a month is the compensation paid to landlords willing to give up the side of their building to the private interests of commercial signage. (this space is then sold to brands for thousands of dollars a month)

Often outdoor advertising justifies its existence by harping on the economic benefits associated with allowing commercial signage in public spaces. They say this important revenue stream keeps value flowing through the system, implying that without it our public infrastructure would crumble under the added economic strain. This check serves as evidence that the economic benefits clearly do not reach the city but rather stay nestled in the coffers of national outdoor advertising companies and the brands they help promote.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Doing It In Public - Art Production For The World To See

I have been meaning to post my thoughts on Madrid but have not gotten around to it as of yet. My apologies. I have just now found myself 20 minutes to post on the work of a wonderful artist I met in Madrid who flew in from Munich to participate in MaSAT. This artist is C100, and I was lucky enough to roam the city a bit the day before our MaSAT action watching him create his "diamonds for everyone".

C100 uses simple white duct tape to create his work, slowly laying out the corner points of his diamond before he begins to fill it in line by line. This process takes about 10-15 minutes and is as uneventful as it sounds, save the oddity of a stranger duct taping the sidewalk. While I understood conceptually what C100 was after, what excited me about his work was not the final result but the process through which he had to go through to create his imagery.

Because Duct tape is removable, C100's process is not destructive in any way. This allows him to work in very populated areas in full daylight with little expectation of police interaction. Because of this, C100's process plays out in front of passersby. At first they are confused, stand watching as the lines of his diamonds begin to emerge and reveal the image. Skepticism turns to immediate recognition and an almost instantaneous understanding that C100's work is a gift. "Un diamante para el mundo" was the first reaction I heard and indeed that is what is was.
While this may seem incredibly simple, I believe it also quite profound. So often street artists and graffiti writers practice by the cover of night because of the criminal nature of their work. They leave their mark for the world to find when they wake up. This unknown, the who behind the what, is unsettling, confusing, and ultimately contributes to unfavorable public reactions based less on the value of the work and more on the unfamiliar. While a genuinely placed stencil or wheatpaste has a power of its own, there is no substitute for the power of face to face interaction. Viewers, confronted with this very public, public art production are allowed to see who is leaving marks behind on their city and without fail they take the time to ask questions, make remarks, and become a part of the making of the art. In this way I believe they familiarize themselves with both the imagery and the producer which leads to a more open reaction to the message and imagery in general.

With that said, C100's work made me realize that open public production can be an incredibly valuable tool. As strangers sneaking around at night our work takes on tones of secrecy and conspiracy, an underground who presence is unwanted. As individuals producing on the streets for everyone to see we are more easily integrated into the image of city life, the production of signs and symbols and are therefore less threatening.
Interestingly as I was pondering all of this, NEKO showed me the below YouTube video called Magic Colorz. In it Graf writers in Berlin take to the streets without cans to tag the streets as they normally would but without consequence. The result is an incredibly accurate performance for the public of what goes on while they sleep. While graf may always be illegal, by simply watching these characters perform their process it becomes that much more familiar and to me that much closer to something I can understand and come to terms with.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ads That Pay Your Mortgage, Then Rob Your Neighbors

AdZookie rendering

MSN Video interview with AdZookie representative

It seems AdZookie has really hit this one out of the park. The idea is they will pay your mortgage for between 3months and a year if you allow them to vinyl wrap your house in a giant advertisement. While I have an infinite number of issues with this I would like to point out one thing. Adzookie claims that despite the obvious volatile nature of this new media development, this will prevent potential foreclosures allowing neighborhoods to stay intact and ultimately that will outweigh any neighborly concerns about the blight this will cause. I would say that what neighbors will be most upset about is not the fact that said home owner has defaced the community with commercial signage, but rather that said home owner has significantly lowered the property value of everyone's homes within site of this monstrosity.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Credit Where Credit is Due

Photo Credit: Jaime Alekos

Photo Credit: Falansh
In my rush back from Madrid and the quick transition back to a hectic schedule in New York, it seems I made a terrible oversight. Jaime Alekos and Falansh are two amazing photographers that helped document the MASAT project as well as participate by giving text. Their photos are the only installation photos we have and their imagery is undoubtedly a huge part of the project. While I credited their work in my posts to this blog, I forgot to credit their work on the MaSAT website. These images were then picked up by other sites and distributed without credit. I sincerely apologize to both of them and ask that anyone using imagery off the MaSAT site give credit when the photos are attributed.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sean Martindale - Simultaneous Advertising Takeovers in Madrid and Toronto

Sean Martindale, artist and ToSAT organizer contributed his sentiments to the MaSAT project in two cities. Using the text format, Sean decided on "We interrupt this program". This text was translated into Spanish and we installed it for him in Madrid on 03-30-11. On the same day, halfway around the world, Sean installed the English translation in Toronto. Thanks for taking it there Sean.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Limits of Cyber-Revolutions

While I do not want to draw comparisons between the protests overseas and the fight for a non-commercial, pro-public environment, the public space issues raised in this piece are compelling.

VIA New York Magazine

Illustration by Jacob Thomas

Article By Eric Goldwyn
Public spaces, not virtual town squares, are still the places where uprisings are decided.

Revolutions remain a tricky business. Even as social- networking sites have changed the way insurrections are built, the daily headlines from the Middle East are a reminder that a robust Twitter following and a widely followed Facebook group are only half the battle. At some point, an uprising, to truly be one, needs a physical staging ground. And what’s gone underappreciated this Arab Spring is just how much hangs on what happens as protests make the jump from virtual to actual, old-fashioned public spaces. [More Here]

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Cemusa Removing MaSAT Posters

Photos by Falansh
These photos are the only documentation of Cemusa removing MaSAT work. In fact, according to the photographer, this employee didn't even remove our work at this point, but rather "felt" the poster (presumably to check it's authenticity) and then closed the bus shelter back up. Later we noticed Cemusa crews counting the number of posters that we had put up. They then returned a few hours later with enough ads to remove our work without leaving the shelters empty. I find it interesting that they don't want the shelters empty and would rather allow our content a few more hours of public time. It's as if they think the paused operation of the shelters might trigger a moment of truth where the viewer questions the validity of the advertising venue itself. Remarkably this is half of what I am trying to achieve with these projects and maybe simply removing hundreds of ads would have a similar effect.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Con la guerrilla gráfica que 'robó' 130 marquesinas de Madrid

Son las seis y media de la mañana y llevo quince minutos frente a la antigua estación del Norte, acompañado de una joven y un francés ansiosos por hacer desaparecer los anuncios de Mahou, Hugo Boss y Nokia que cuelgan de las marquesinas de en Madrid. [More Here]

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rogue Sign Company That Fled L.A. Loses Court Fight in San Francisco

Fuel Outdoor, a New York company that put up hundreds of illegal advertising signs in L.A. and then took them down last year after losing a five-year court battle to overturn the city’s ban on new off-site signs, has suffered a major loss in a similar fight against sign regulations in San Francisco. [More Here]

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Street Communications - Artists and Advertisers on the Street

On April 9th I will be giving a small workshop that will coincide with a panel discussion on visual public space use. I am honored to be on a panel with Gaia, and Marc and Sara Schiller to discuss this broad but important topic. If you are around and can make the talk, or workshop for that matter, please come by.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Madrid Street Advertising Takeover Site is Live

The MaSAT website is finally live. The action took place on 03-30-11 and resulted in 106 bus shelter advertising replacements with 106 text based public sentiments intent on creating public dialogues where once commercial messages stood firm. Although there were no arrests this time around, Cemusa was quick to remove our handiwork, replacing our imagery within 5 hours of its posting. I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit to this project as your words and thoughts are what made this project so powerful. The sheer range of sentiments was mind boggling and truly magnificent to behold.

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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