<body> Public Ad Campaign: NuART 2012 - PublicAdCampaign Wrap Up
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

NuART 2012 - PublicAdCampaign Wrap Up

I just got back from NuART 2012 a few days ago and had an amazing time. First, my immense gratitude goes out to the dedicated team which put on such a rich and inspiring event. Those names include Martyn Reed, Marte Danielsen Jolbo, Irene Ostbo, Sesella Knutsvik, GT Aamdal, and Kristel Talv. 
During my stay I was asked to do three things in no particular order of importance, create gallery work for the opening exhibition, do some sort of ad takeover in Stavanger, and give a talk for the NuART plus program. 
I began by installing two light boxes which I had previously shipped over a few weeks before. These light boxes are where my gallery work is going these days and involve an advertising frame, a used book, some LED lighting and a lot of drawing with pencil charcoal and spray. Knowing the work would be in a long "tunnel", I opted for two images which had religious undertones, hoping to create an alter effect at the end. Sharing the room with Ben Eine, I was able to keep the room dark and produce the affect I was hoping for by accompanying the two pieces with a video at floor height of how I got the frames, so that viewers had to bend down in front of the two women. I was pleasantly with the way the light boxes appeared to float in space. I apologize for the photos as these pieces are incredibly hard to photograph.

photo by Ian Cox
On wednesday evening 9-26-12 I installed a large ad takeover project of my own work. This takeover targeted the downtown Stavanger city center and included 30 freestanding and bus shelter ads as well as 3 street level billboards. I concentrated the work as tightly as I could hoping the repetition would clue people in to the detournement. Sure enough Mobstr, one of the other artists involved, told me that driving through downtown the repetitive nature of the image made him realize just how much advertising is on our streets, even in a small town like Stavanger.

Sadly, with an article in the local paper appearing the next morning, all of the bus shelter and freestanding ads were removed by 9am thursday morning. Unmentioned in the news article, the billboards stayed up. I was pretty upset about the work being removed so quickly because I was hoping to point out the pieces to participants in a street art walking tour that RJ Rushmore and I did thursday afternoon. In my anger, that same evening I decided to turn all of the advertisements that replaced my work upside down as a way of showing my unhappiness to JC Decaux. This little gem, plus my mention on facebook that I would be staying for another week or two to continue my work, prompted a call from JC Decaux. Basically they were calling to see if I would continue to make work for them and would they have to continue to remove my work or turn back around the advertising that replaced it. What I find interesting, and typical, is that they did not call the police despite being very aware of who was responsible for the civil disobedience. Unable to confront my transgressions for what they are, or maybe just unwilling, the typical industry response is to lay low. Open public discussion of the issue is the last thing they want as this discussion might actually lead to their demise. Maybe I just need to make them more mad!

The last part of my participation was in NuART Plus which was a first at this years event. The Plus program attempted to tackle some of the issues raised by street art and urban interventionist tactics, while talking directly to the community instead of amongst ourselves. My participation included a talk called Interrogating Utopia: Conscientious Curation of our Shared Public Spaces. All in all I felt it was well received and I will post the video of my talk as soon as it is available. I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout at the Plus event which included city planners, council members, community activists and others from the community that might not engage street art as part of properly functioning cities. 

You can see more of my street work from NuART 2012 [HERE]

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