<body> Public Ad Campaign: May 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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ARTUNG! Montreal Falls to Massive Ad Takeover Project

On 08-22-10 I joined forces with 60 artists and a fantastic group of organizers in Toronto to bring to fruition the second street ad takeover, ToSAT. It was a grand success and led us quickly to the third venture in the series, MaSAT. I believe yesterday, completely independent of PublicAdCampaign, those same organizers launched "This is not an ad" in Montreal. While I am unsure of the exact numbers, it seems they replaced more than 200 advertisements on the streets of Montreal with the work of artists and individuals in a highly specific protest of recent actions by major media companies trying to force community acceptance of their right to corporate free speech. I repeat, this is not a PublicAdCampaign project and was a massive street ad takeover of monumental proportions. I contributed a single piece shown above. Congratulations to everyone involved, you guys are all amazing and I hope to see many more large scale takeovers around the world!

The long story short is that Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal borough wants to ban billboards while media companies want to put up billboards. The ad companies, in light of the communities rejection of their media interests, have made it abundantly clear that they will fight the community in a lengthy and expensive legal battle if they do not comply with the media companies demands. Sounds about right to me. In order to bring more light to this issue, ARTUNG! took back the streets and created a website where you can see it all. Start with the ARTUNG! Map as it is an impressive feet in and of itself.
Congratulations to everyone in Montreal for a job well done!!!!!!!!!
Original poster design
"Along with our elaborate identification system, Ceci n’est pas une pub also digs a little deeper. It brings to light the current battle that’s being fought between private and public interests, not only within our streets but within our communities and minds. By opening spaces for collective discussion, we hope to deconstruct profit-based power structures and work towards issues directly affecting our communities like: The deportation of our friends and families, family and sexual violence, criminalization of poverty, privatization of the public services, the environment, police brutality…
Born out of a collaboration between individuals of various backgrounds, politics and artistic abilities, Ceci n’est pas une pub is dedicated to strengthening, enlivening and challenging the design of our public space.
Our streets should be a canvass for our communities, not for corporations!"

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Adbusters Includes TrustoCorp's Masat Addition

Recently, Trustocorp's addition to the MaSAT project was printed in Adbusters Magazine. While I was a bit disappointed they included the project under the meme's page, essentially reducing the entire event to the "slogan" Trustocorp submitted, I was happy to see the article on the following page. A Unified Thoery of Mental Pollution by Micah White, opens with this paragraph…

"How do we fight back against the incessant flow of logos, brands, slogans and jingles that submerge our streets, invade our homes and flicker on our screens? We could wage a counteroffensive at the level of content: attacking individual advertisements when they cross the decency line and become deceptive, violent or overly sexual. But this approach is like using napkins to clean up an oil spill. It fails to confront the true danger of advertising - which is not in its individual messages but in the damage done to our mental ecology by the sheer volume of its flood."
While the article goes on to champion the writing of Michel Serres and the mental environmentalist movement, essentially it proposes a merger between our concept of mental and physical toxins in our shared environments. In this way we should be as concerned about Carcinogens and cellphone radiation as we should the proliferation of media into the smallest recesses of our lives. Wow. While this ecological approach seems more fitting for our pastoral notions of the good life, I am an urban dweller through and through. In the city, it is not the vistas that need to be protected but our psyche. The difference I want to note is that while in a suburban environment we might want to keep the landscape "clean" and intrusion free, in an urban environment I believe we must find a way to omit advertising and replace it with a more public, but no less intense form of media. The benefits I find to being surrounded by people and the manifestation of their personal thoughts on the walls of our city is profound and I in no way wish for the removal of this type of communication.
This notions seems to agree with Michel Serres interpretation of a mental environmentalist movement but without having fully read his work I cannot say at this point if I am correct.
VIA Adbusters
"Michel Serres, an eccentric French philosopher, has written the first truly philosophical work of the mental environmentalist movement, a radical re-conception of pollution that hones the Adbusters critique. The big idea of his book, Malfeasance: Appropriation Through Pollution?, is that animals, humans included, use pollution to mark, claim, and appropriate territory through defiling it and that over time this appropriative act has evolved away from primitive pollution, urine and feces, to "hard pollution", industrial chemicals, and "soft pollution", the many forms of advertising. [More Here]

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Friday, May 27, 2011

I Mean What Would You Do In My Shoes

As you probably know I have an aversion to outdoor advertising using the streets of our cities to hock the commercial. I believe one must be weary of brands, commercialism, and the psychological ills that come with it. That said, commercial messages can often be avoided in most mediums through simple acts like muting the radio, DVR'ing your TV, or using add-art to filter your internet consumption. Alternately when using the streets, these incredibly self serving messages give the public no option but forced consumption, and by default integration. While I have many other opinions on how the streets should be used, this basic fact about advertising in public fuels much of the activist side of the PublicAdCampaign project and the aggressive stance on illegal commercial signage.
With that said, Mediacy has decided to openly flout the law while making bold claims of artistic philanthropy in New York City. I find this very hard to stomach as it seems artists and individuals are hunted by a very expensive Vandal Squad, while advertisers (despite the DOB Sign Enforcement Unit's continued efforts) openly violate the law in broad daylight.
Recently I began a Mediacy Advertising Location map with the help of PublicAdCampaign readers, marking illegal locations we had found around the city. This week I was out and about in the city and came across a stockpile of them in the Lower East Side. I also ran into two employees installing one of the ads at 132 Delancey and took some photographs of them and their truck. This brings the map to 11 locations, 10 of which are affixed to buildings with absolutely no sign permits, making them very clearly illegal advertising. Oddly, the location where the installers were working, 132 Delancey street did have an SG work permit granted very recently. I believe this permit is for the Contest Promotions sign also affixed to this building but I cannot be sure. I therefore don't want to say that the Mediacy ad at 132 Delancey is illegal, although I am pretty sure.
215 Bowery
166 Allen Street
163 Allen Street
157 Allen Street
132 Delancey
Mediacy Installation. I don't feel like its appropriate to put license plate and company address here.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mediacy And TNT Love To Get Illegal

243 8th avenue has been added to the illegal Mediacy Map. Keep sending us your photos and we can quickly run this company out of town.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Mr. Dimaggio and PublicAdCampaign Collaboration

A few days ago Mr. Dimaggio was in town. He contacted me about taking back some of the many illegal Contest Promotions signs around NYC. Like myself, he knew that the signs were slowly disappearing, but only at a snails pace for signage which so obviously flouts the law and is costing the taxpayer a hefty bill in legal fees. With a rainy forecast for the week ahead, we decided to brave the weather and put up a few quick billboards early last week.
We started at 19th street and 9th avenue, which is on a side street and less risky than many billboards in the neighborhood. What can I say but it's been a long winter. The whole thing took about 15 minutes and came out just alright. The text read Nobody's Perfect and it was by far the less eventful of our two postings. The second location was on 22nd street and 7th avenue. This location faced 7th avenue and was what I would consider a high risk billboard. On a side note, this second location once held two illegal billboards, one on the 22nd street side of the same corner, which has since been removed. The remaining billboard continues to exist under the dubious claims that the Pirates of the Caribbean posters currently being displayed constitute goods available at a small deli 3 doors down.
22nd street and 7th avenue (Since Removed)
7th avenue and 22nd street (Currently Displaying Pirates of the Caribbean Posters)
As we approached 22nd street, cars packed the avenue and pedestrians ran a steady stream. With nothing better to do than get started Mr. Dimmaggio and I began this reclamation by pasting both of our layers at the same time instead of the weave first and then faces on top. This allowed for the faces and weaving to layer more organically, greatly improving the collaboration in my mind. Somewhere towards the end, a passerby stopped and began to chat us up for the remaining installation, snapping photos with his iPhone and generally being excited about the work. His are the only photos of this piece that were taken as the work would not survive its installation.
Literally as we were packing up our bucket and rollers the telltale sound of car doors slamming and a husky voice beckoning our attention rang through the air. We were asked very forcefully if we had a permit for posting signs at this location, which we obviously didn't. Oddly enough the OAC Contest Promotions that runs this location doesn't either, which I would go on to explain to the officer to little effect. I told him about the illegality of this sign and the history of NYC's battle with the company responsible for the billboard. He then asked why we were doing this. I explained as briefly as possible, my concern for illegal signage and the proliferation of advertising in general, the lack of public access to the street, and my concern for my neighborhood. No matter, our ID's were taken and we were told to remove our "posters".
Slowly we complied with this request, bemoaning our misfortune. If only we had packed up seconds sooner we might have been able to come back to this piece in the morning and watch peoples reactions, ask questions, and generally gauge the public's thoughts on how we should be curating our shared spaces. Instead we waited for our backgrounds to be checked.
A few moments later, with the billboard turned completely back into its old self, Geoofry Rush, Johnny Depp, and Penelope Cruz stood 6 feet tall at street level. We were handed our Summons' and explained our violation, illegally posting signs. I then took a moment to ask the officer if he found it ironic that the very signs we were posting over were illegal in the first place and that our actions drew attention to this fact. His response was to tell me that if that was the case, then my actions were vigilante justice. A complicated truth and yet somehow I wish he could have agreed, cited our action as vigilante, and allowed this to coexist with his duties as a law officer. Sometimes actions can be outside of current legal framework and yet possess an inherent rightness that can be weighed out easily if they are thought about for a brief moment.
I then pushed my luck and turned to the "good" cop, who incidentally had not spoken since they arrived on the scene, and asked him what he thought of the piece. His response was... I kid you not, "It was dope". I then turned to the other officer and asked what he thought, to which he replied, "It was weird." Amazing! A strange byproduct of doing work on the street is your interaction with people and police officers. It is odd how violations and summons' are handed out, people discouraged from different forms of behavior in public through a network of public policies that predict our actions in our shared environments. It makes you think about our expectations of the general public, our fear of others expected behaviors, and our lack of confidence in the our fellow citizens. It also makes me wonder why it is so hard to tell an illegal advertising company to remove its illegal signage and so easy to send a concerned citizen to see the judge for having the gall to question it. Oh well, I guess those are the breaks.
thank you David for taking pictures!!!!

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Desire Obtain Cherish Billboard Takeover

Desire Obtain Cherish taggin a billboard with an alternative message.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Mediacy Locations Poppin Up Around Town

Now that our readers are aware that Mediacy is running mostly unpermitted and illegal signage they are starting to send in images of the locations they find around town. The most recent photos come from Luna Park and are taken at 176 Bowery. Oddly enough, these two illegal signs share a corner with another company responsible for illegal signage in our city, Contest Promotions. I have added this location to the Mediacy map and have called in my complaint. Once we get a few more spots recorded I will do my best to reach out to the city.

Keep sending us your photos and addresses and together we can nip this problem in the bud before it gets out of hand!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ads on Illegal Signs: Who’s the Responsible Party?


Until recently, southbound motorists on the 110 freeway near the L.A. Convention center were greeted with huge fabric Pepsi signs draped over two sides of a seven-level parking garage. On Highland Ave. in Hollywood, an even larger Pepsi sign hung from the side of a historic building housing a film archive, dominating the view from blocks away. And for several months, the familiar Pepsi logo adorned a building alongside the 405 freeway in West L.A. [More Here]

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Friday, May 20, 2011

FIAT Ad Sculptures Promote Green While Invading a Park

Saw this FIAT advertising on my way to work. Two security guards watched me through the corners of their eyes as I took pictures. I don't have much to say about this that isn't obvious so I'll leave this post simple.

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Artung! New Ad Takeover Work

I can't say much about this poster except that it will be installed by someone else in a far off land. More information to follow as it becomes available.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

‘I can remember when all this was fields’


From id-iom:

‘I can remember when all this was fields’ sounds pretty much like something you would expect your grandad to say as you drive past the newest and most monstrous of shopping centres doesn’t it? With the seemingly endless stream of development around London town and the proliferation of advertising messages on just about every conceivable surface which are forced into our brain (without our permission) on a daily basis it’s sometimes nice to strike back with a simple message to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise tedious day.

To think there was a time (not that long ago) when there was a little more greenery about and that every single scrap of land wasn’t pounced on for yet another massive advertising hoarding (or completely uninspired housing development.) But then again, perhaps i’m just being a little sentimental.
Anyway, after doing a little reading into billboards I came across this interesting thread on a Brixton forum about illegal billboards. It seems that billboards are sometimes set up without planning permission whilst the companies doing it know they can make more than enough in advertising revenue to remove the boards or pay the fine when the council finally get round to identifying the culprit and doing something about it. Now, whilst the billboard we went on is probably entirely legal it was covered in blue paper which is definitely fair game in my eyes. And i’m sure i’ve suffered enough at their hands over time to make this the mildest form of payback."

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nuria Has My Attention And She Should Have Yours Too


Photo by Falansh

Nuria Mora is one of the organizers of the MaSAT project and an incredible street artist whose work has often found itself taking over outdoor advertising space in an effort to mediate that line between public and private dialogues in our shared environment. This most recent takeover is by far the most beautiful and aggressive takeover I have seen from her, and from anyone for that matter, in quite some time. Working in broad daylight and on one of the busiest streets I can imagine, this takeover defies the covert actions of an illegal activity and embraces Nuria's role as public individual with rights to access public media space. The fact that so many individuals became a part of this takeover through their shared witness of the event is astonishing and I cannot commend Nuria enough for her brazen and beautiful efforts.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Newest Mediacy Gatescape And A Whole Lot Of Comments

I think someone is upset with us over at Mediacy for our recent posts on their illegal Gatescape operations. Frustrations running high I can only assume, they decided to comment on nearly every post we have made for the past several months. Incredible! It reminds me of the spoof sites setup by NPA after the second NYSAT project. (www.publicadcampaign.org and www.publicadcampaign.net) My favorite comment can be seen here, and suggests that cops should be questioning practitioners of urban DIY initiatives like guerilla gardening, renegade knitting, and public seating infrastructure. Its pretty fantastic.

Last night a PublicAdCampaign reader sent me this image of yet another illegal Mediacy Gatescape. It seems like they are popping up everywhere lately and I think that means it is time to start building a map. Each new location we find will be put on this map, allowing us to visualize the breadth of this newest problem. Please help us by sending in your imagery and addresses.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Newest Mediacy Insights Require Your Attention

A few days ago I posted about the slow removal of many of Contest Promotions' illegal advertising locations along with the rise in what I had assumed were legal Mediacy Gatescapes. Thinking I was doing nothing more than continuing to report on the state of OOH advertising in NYC, I was a bit surprised to see a comment on the post a few days later. Curtis, the commenter suggested I look closer at Mediacy locations, implying that I might be surprised to find many of the locations illegal (and that the company was giving legit OAC's a bad name)

Now I have not been keeping tabs on Mediacy for the past year as I have been under the impression that my initial response to Mediacy had scared them straight and forced them to permit the locations they were using to blight our city with Lady Gaga ads and other such uninformative commercial nonsense. Indeed the CEO Michael Gitter had assured me that after the DOB had come down on them for offering OOH services without an OAC license, he had made sure to fully comply with the city's laws. On Curtis's suggestion I took a look at the DOB website for 2 Gatescape locations I had previously run across, namely 304 west 14th street and 265 lafayette street, both in Manhattan. Turns out neither of the two locations have permits for 3rd party signage. Upon calling them in to the 311 specialty services to report these ads to the sign enforcement unit, I realized what is working in favor of these illegal, and illuminated signs. (illumination without a special permit is highly illegal and garners a much faster response from the city) The fact is that many of these illegal ads are affixed to the roll down gates of business' that are open during the day, making it nearly impossible for the DOB sign enforcement unit to properly enforce the law. DOB sign enforcement hours I assume are similar to those of a regular business, 9-5, Monday thru Friday. During those hours these bussiness' have their gates up and therefor the ads are not visible to sign enforcement officers trying to check up on locations which have been reported by concerned citizens. I made sure to make this issue clear to the operator taking my complaint but we will see how long this report takes to make it into the system.

In the meantime, and with this new information about Mediacy Gatescapes potentially being illegal, I would ask readers to help us clarify the legality of the many Mediacy Gatescape locations. If you come across a Gatescape advertisement, take a picture and record the building address to which the ad is affixed. You can then check for permits on the DOB Building Information System, or send us the image and address and we will be happy to look into the potential violation ourselves. Remember, keeping illegal advertising off the streets not only helps our city look better but sends a forceful message to the companies who choose to operate outside of the law that the citizens of this city demand compliance. When operating through proper legal channels, OAC's give New York the opportunity to decide how much advertising is too much advertising on our streets.

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‘I can remember when all this was fields’

From id-iom:

‘I can remember when all this was fields’ sounds pretty much like something you would expect your grandad to say as you drive past the newest and most monstrous of shopping centres doesn’t it? With the seemingly endless stream of development around London town and the proliferation of advertising messages on just about every conceivable surface which are forced into our brain (without our permission) on a daily basis it’s sometimes nice to strike back with a simple message to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise tedious day.
To think there was a time (not that long ago) when there was a little more greenery about and that every single scrap of land wasn’t pounced on for yet another massive advertising hoarding (or completely uninspired housing development.) But then again, perhaps i’m just being a little sentimental.
Anyway, after doing a little reading into billboards I came across this interesting thread on a Brixton forum about illegal billboards. It seems that billboards are sometimes set up without planning permission whilst the companies doing it know they can make more than enough in advertising revenue to remove the boards or pay the fine when the council finally get round to identifying the culprit and doing something about it. Now, whilst the billboard we went on is probably entirely legal it was covered in blue paper which is definitely fair game in my eyes. And i’m sure i’ve suffered enough at their hands over time to make this the mildest form of payback."

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Public/Private Partnerships: Will Commercialization Save Our City Parks?

Dennis Hathaway at Ban Billboard Blight is a constant source of inspiration as he follows the ins and outs of LA's outdoor advertising sign developments. This recent post asks some serious questions about LA city council members' approach to public debate and asking the hard questions that would reveal the motivations behind public/private partnerships which would bring commercial advertising to public parks in LA. Riding a wave of red ink, it would seem that the outdoor advertising industry is only too willing to step in and pick up the slack. The question Dennis raises and which should have been raised by the city council is why do we not have money for our parks when we have millions in tax breaks for real estate development and millions in outdoor advertising violations unpaid. Clearly parks aren't underfunded, we simply underfund them.
Public/Private partnerships. At last week’s meeting of the L.A. City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, the term kept bobbing like a life preserver grasped for by city agencies at risk of drowning in a violent tide of red ink. Councilman Bill Rosendahl, speaking of the Recreation and Parks department, said that in the absence of such partnerships “we’re not going to be able to sustain our parks, it’s as simple as that.” The other committee members who spoke–Paul Koretz, Greig Smith, and Chairman Bernard Parks–all nodded assent to Rosendahl’s declaration, apparently feeling no need to examine either its truth or its implications for the city’s future. [More Here]

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Beast's Superheroes Line Up For Work In Los Angeles

Recent work by Beast in Los Angeles, photo courtesy of the artist. www.beastmaster.tv

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Off the Wookie Magazine #6-A Motivational Guide to Public Media Curation

A while back I was asked by Ice Cream Man to contribute to Wookie Magazine issue # 6. The theme of the publication this time around was "How to" and so I wrote a motivational guide to public media curation. Without room to get into the real nitty gritty of ad takeover work, I instead focused on motivating people by showing them how simple ad takeover work can often be. Big thanks to Kid Zoom, Maya Hayuk, Princess Hijab, Poster Boy, OX, and Jason Eppink for letting me use their fantastic imagery.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

DIY Urban Design, from Guerrilla Gardening to Yarn Bombing

Gordon Douglas recently wrote this piece for Good magazine online which focuses on DIY public space interactions. I am always happy to be included in less aggressive and yet no less important urban space activism. As we have mentioned before, public space interaction and physical alteration is a wonderful way to become a more engaged citizen and all of the projects listed in this article reinforce this notion.
Citizens have always made their marks on cities—graffiti has been an urban presence for millennia—but land use and city planning have long been the province of professionals and bureaucrats. As a result, many urban spaces today lack human scale and sensitivity. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the unauthorized, creative alteration of public spaces for the common good. Enterprising citizens are repurposing abandoned phone booths, installing public furniture, painting their own bike lanes, and even reclaiming entire intersections. More targeted and purposeful than most graffiti, yet more personal and place-based than a political campaign, this is do-it-yourself urban design. [More Here]

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

While Contest Promotions Is On The Decline, Mediacy Spreads Like Cancer

NPA outdoor once ran rampant in New York, plastering construction sheds with illegal flyposting and erecting hundreds of illegal street level billboards in all 5 boroughs. Coming under the attack of local citizens and the NYC Department of Buildings, NPA was forced to cease its flyposting activities and face up to the fact that while its inventory of street level billboards looked legitimate, they were in fact highly illegal. The result was NPA dissolving in NYC and re-branding itself as Contest Promotions. This name change was not just for PR but was part of a larger business model shift which attempted to re-define what constitutes outdoor advertising by contending that their illegal signage was in fact 1st party signage. The idea is that because you can win posters and prizes which are similar to the advertisements outside, the Contest Promotions ads are not ads at all, but actually visualizations of products offered on site. New York is in a lawsuit with Contest Promotions over this business model alteration, and while I am unaware of the details, it looks like we might be winning. Which is good because if they win get ready for a wave of outdoor advertising to fill every nook and cranny of our public lives.
Before
After
Contest Promotions signage is coming down all over the city slowly but steadily. The above and below are examples of locations once held by the company which have recently been abandoned, presumably because they do not stand up to this new business model. While I am excited to see Contest Promotions go, I am even more excited to see what might potentially become of these spaces. The goal of removing signage in the city is not to create a stark environment but rather an environment prepared to accept the imagery and ideas of a local citizenry.
Before
After
While Contest Promotions seems to be on the decline in New York, another street level nuisance seems to be gaining some footing. Michael Gitter's Mediacy and his Gatescape program has riddled the city in Lady Gaga advertisements, plastering rolldown gates all over the city with decrepit plastic sheeting and two 60 watt lightbulbs. Sadly Michael has gone through the process of obtaining permits for many of his Gatescape locations, making them technically legal. This in no way makes them acceptable in my opinion and as the city is slowly overcrowded with street level signage like this I think we will have to take a long look at how the permitting process in New York allows for the dissemination of commercial messages without concern for the residents of our neighborhoods. Speaking to passersby who had noticed the garish Gaga posters, most people found the ads ugly, uncharacteristic of their neighborhoods, and an intrusion on their psyche which was entirely unwanted. At some point permits will not matter in the wake of aggressive public opinion.
Mediacy Gatescape Advertising

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ludo Answers 5 Questions For PublicAdCampaign

When I realize someone is working over advertising on a consistent basis, I like to ask them a few questions about their work. I am not interested in the profound, but rather keeping a short record of these artists reactions to similar questions. Ludo was kind enough to answer a few for us and we thank him for his time and his work on the street.
1-Where are you from and where did the name LUDO originate from?
I live in Paris right in the centre but grew up in the suburbs. ludo is an abbreviation of my name. No real meanings behind just like my good friends call me.

2-Ludo, your work can be found on side streets and over advertising, what is the difference between your work posted on the street and that specifically targeting advertising?
I think the work I put on the street is kind of more abstract for me. I mean it's more open and everybody can have his own opinion, hate it or not for sure, find a message, see it as an other crap decoration, like it because of the flowers,.... .Then it lives thanks to the walls textures or whatever integration that makes it more "alive". Over billboards, I think I already give some clues and people minds are already driven because of the advertising spaces. I want it to be as a reaction to the common commercial visual codes. Like using a logo and an image that has nothing to do with it, Chanel selling an apple with a camera inside ??? I want to push that till the concept that the visual and the message has really no relation with the brand but because the logo is here then it becomes validated into these spaces. Also, the difference with the stuff on walls is that I'm more interested in the message and how to hijack a brand than the art. It's more about trying to create an impact inside this 3x4m frame.

3-What gives you the right to take private property to exhibit your own ideas and images?
I can't consider the city walls as private property.... I try to respect the people living where I will put my stuff but I've never asked myself if I have the right or not. But you're right, it's not me who has the right or no, it's more everyone should express themselves or their opinion using walls or not. City should put billboards accessible to people just to write something, an idea, a poem,...whatever. That would be beautiful, "for the benefit of the general interest".
Maybe bus shelters are something else in terms of violation and law. When you put your piece inside the box, there is a real trespass I believe. It's funny because not so long ago I received emails from people working for CBS Outdoors, basically asking me how much I would ask to create a piece over one of their billboards that they could use it after to show then sell more spaces to communication agencies. Nice paradox !

4-your hybridization of the natural and synthetic world seems to translate well into ad takeover work, what do you want the viewer to take away from your imagery?
Thank you. I think something like "What the fuck ???" would work for me. A little bit of chaos into the world of standards and preconceived ideas.

5-What is your favorite place or moment in your city?
Right now, honestly, I just enjoy having a little studio where I can be alone with my stuff, draw and listen some music. Very simple.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Street Communications Workshop and Panel Discussion Results

Saturday, April 9th I was at Haverford college doing a workshop with 12 students as well as speaking on a panel with Gaia, and Marc and Sara Schiller of the Wooster Collective. The topic, Street Communications: Art and Advertising in Public Spaces. When RJ Rushmore from Vandalog and a student at Haverford, first spoke to me about the panel he had suggested running a workshop as a way to engage the student body. I was obviously excited about this opportunity but knew that what constituted a workshop for me was an illegal ad takeover to others and potentially to the college which had invited me to speak. After a lengthy discussion, RJ and I decided to move forward despite the potential issues that might arise, both of us knowing full well that the most explicit example of public space interaction is the one where you get your hands dirty.

The workshop was scheduled for 3-4 hours which is a lot less time than one would think. I decided that prepping 12 posters to fit 12 railway advertisements was a good idea to save time while providing an interesting surface for students to work with. We began by talking a bit about public space and its ability to illuminate issues about our social structure. We talked about advertising's use of the public environment and how that use reflected a specific agenda, and not necessarily one which had the broadest appeal. This lasted for close to an hour at which point we had to get to work.
Each student was given their own blank poster on which they stenciled simple sentences hopefully inspired by our previous conversation. After the recent MaSAT project, I have come around to the power and simplicity of text, particularly in the ad takeover format. The students seemed to embrace the text as well, all of us enjoying an hour of stenciling outside in the beautiful, if not slightly windy weather.
At this point all that was left was the installation. As a group we set out towards the first of two train stations that our 12 posters would takeover. While removing advertising on this rural Pennsylvania line wasn't dangerous in the way it may be in a major metropolitan city, the act itself is subversive enough to get your heart going if only a few more beats a minute. Everyone, installing their own posters, were given an opportunity to cross invisible boundaries in public space. This act, however small it might seem can be profound and open up a world of interaction and participation that can change your relationship to not only the space, but to the people that surround you. After taking a picture of the entire group standing in front of one of their newly adorned locations that read "You can touch" I thought to myself…That was a successful workshop.














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