Thursday, May 31, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
OX and BLA Collaborate in Paris
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Ban Billboards, Fund Journalism!
VIA The TyeeHERE]
Subvertisement - New Work From Mobstr
Monday, May 21, 2012
Vitamin Water Subway Double Frame Ad
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Electric Signs - The Documentary by Alice Arnold
A friend of mine, Alice Arnold, has launched a kickstarter campaign worthwhile supporting. Her documentary, Electric Signs, dives into our illuminated world and asks what affects these intermediary screens play in our lives to come. I've seen the rough cut and it is shaping up to be a fantastic resource. Pledge to her Kickstarter campaign [HERE] and help Alice finish off this film the way it deserves.
ELECTRIC SIGNS is a feature documentary that started several years ago in Hong Kong on a Fulbright Fellowship (Filmmaking), and has since expanded to include many more cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Tokyo and Prague. In all of these cities new screen based sign systems are putting TV-style advertising into the public domain. These electronic signs are re-shaping urban environments and re-defining areas of public space by intensifying the commercialization of the public sphere. In addition to the explosion of screens in public spaces, screens are ubiquitous in workspaces and in our daily life activities. These seamless, illuminated electronic surfaces are becoming the devices through which we frame our experiences. ELECTRIC SIGNS explores this new screen culture as it unfolds in the global city.
This Column Is Not Sponsored by Anyone
Below is a quote from an interesting Op Ed by Thomas Friedman. It suggests, with a great level of clarity, that the proliferation of advertising is evidence of the over marketization of our daily lives and that this is restricting our social cohesion. Definitely worth a read.
PORING through Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel's new book, "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets," I found myself over and over again turning pages and saying, "I had no idea." Full Article [Here]
OX in Angers for Artaq
In SF, billboards proliferate, despite voter-approved ban
As many PublicAdCampaign readers know, litigation against offending outdoor advertising companies can be a long and arduous affair for the lawyers tasked with upholding the law. This article from the Bay Citizen proves this fact once again, citing the work of two of the most difficult outdoor advertising firms, Fuel and Contest promotions. These companies actions are not isolated to San Francisco but are similarly represented in NY, LA, Chicago and other major metropolitan cities around the US.
VIA: The Bay Citizen
When Milo Hanke moved from Boston to San Francisco in 1982, he found a city in need of improvement.
“This was the most charmed and enchanted city,” Hanke recalled, “but there were certain urbanscapes I really enjoyed at night that were blocked by signs. I dreamed one day there would be no billboards.” More [HERE]
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Virtual Murals for Real-Life Buildings
Big thanks to Emily Badger for writing this nicely informed explanation of what we are trying to do with the Re*public Mobil App.Here]
Citibank Pays to Put Name on Shared Bikes
This is an utter travesty. I hope these bikes are immediately re-imagined by the public to the extent that Citi is forced to relinquish control. A bike share program is for the people, why shouldn't it reflect their imagination.Citi Bike. More [HERE
Monday, May 14, 2012
Re*public Mobile App is a Reality
Today HeavyPAC launched our demo version of the Re*public mobile application with the help of MOMO who offered us designs from which we rendered some 3D forms. The application takes advantage of Augmented Reality and its ability to "recognize" objects in our environment. Once recognized the application presents digital content over the recognized object allowing us to create murals with all of the standard digital bells and whistles, sound, 3D, movement, interactivity, web access, etc. With this soft launch it is our hope to get some institutional support so that we can bring a large scale mural project to NYC with the appropriate production values and artistic works. As we develop things further we will keep you posted of our progress and any new AR capabilities that we put into play.
What is truly exciting for me about this new tech is its reproducability. Like the digital music copy, giving an AR location to someone else to use does not prevent your own continued use of the site. By developing AR trigger sites around NY, Re*public is building an infrastructure of AR sites which can be repurposed by many institutions and individuals. This allows for an incredibly open and democratic form of access to public space curation and one which leaps over the current issues of private property and monetary monopolization. In the future I hope that advertisings monopoly will be broken by the public's ability to curate its own visual public space.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Illegal Ads on SoHo Building Prompt a Record Fine
Outdoor advertising giant Colossal media does things olds school, painting instead of hanging their advertising contents on the sides of NYC buildings. While their methods of installation might be different, their approach to using public space reflects the industry wide standard of "we do what we want until you make us do otherwise." treating public space as a pillage-able commodity like any other.
VIA: The NY TimesHERE]
The Street Hacker, Officially Embraced
In the following article Emily Badger makes some interesting points about what it might look like if we had a public environment which could respond more flexibly to public demands for change and alteration. Mostly this comes in the form of a more responsive government and flexible municipal code and does not reflect the sort of larger critiques that constituted the NYSAT event. That said a more involved public presence in the curation and presentation of public space is at the heart of the PublicAdCampaign project. If we had more access to altering our environment it would be easier to psychologically connect with the infrastructure and people around us. To me this can only lead to tighter knit communities.
VIA: The Atlantic Cities
Inside the civic digital space, anyone can download a public dataset, build an app, share it with others. There are no permit fees, no regulations to research, no paperwork to file. You don’t have to trudge to City Hall. Everything is (or at least, it should be) open. More [HERE]
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
NEW YORK CITY’S BIKE SHARE IS SORT OF SHADY
While I am a full supporter of the bike share program in NY, having made good use of similar programs in other European cities, New York's share is shaping up to be a branded nightmare. You might say that branding the bike share program is the only way we can afford it, to which I call bullshit, but I would like to suggest another version of the share program still sponsored by Citi Bank. Why doesnt Citi bank give the city 41million to start the program and leave the damn bikes unbranded, make it very clear that they donated the money and have no plans of splashing their gaudy logo over everything. Then they can sit back and watch as the world applauds their actions and willingness to help NY altruistically resulting in a better business client relationship and a less obtrusive bike share program for all.
VIA Animal NYHere]
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Ban Outdoor Advertising - Via the Guardian
A recent article in the Guardian written by Neal Lawson inspired this post. The article is a pretty straight forward attempt to argue that the public should be weary of a shared environment riddled with advertising. In fact it points to some of the same arguments I also brought to bear on the topic as I began to wonder early on if an outdoor advertising rich public environment could be fought. That main argument is choice. With the negative affects of the desire machine relatively well understood, one would imagine that opting out of the onslaught of psychologically abusive imagery should be high on our priority list. Not so. Mr. Lawson goes on to point out the very small number of cities and states around the world which have chosen to take such bold action. Outdoor advertising, for all its unavoidable pandering to our basest emotions, is after all widely accepted as inevitable and a part of the well oiled machines we call cities. How this came to be is less about the publics lack of determination, ability to stand ground against monolithic commercial forces, but rather failure to articulate the problem at hand. After all there has not been a serious unified resistance to the abusive corporate regimes that call themselves the OOH advertising industry. And why should there be? To many the problem is an insignificant blip on their political radar. Yes, advertising is bad and can cause serious emotional depression and physical health issues, It has been shown to increase your self interest while decreasing your ability to sympathize with others. And yes, there are correlations between advertising consumption and economic stability which would make you very uneasy as you let the prime-time advertising wash over you, your wife, and your 2.5 children happily nestled on the couch, remote in hand, enthralled by the latest Dramedy, in a house that you don't own yet. But the lack of conversation around these issues is astounding and one cannot expect the public to demand the end to a problem they truly don't know exists.
And so many people do not consider public advertising an issue but rather a necessary outcome of living in a commercial world. An evil we must bear, if not grow to love by heralding it when it decides to donate a insignificant fraction of its business to cultural exchange our laud its behavior as part of what keeps our urban infrastructure intact. Listening to some OOH advertisers you would think our bridges would crumble and the island of manhattan would sink beneath the waves without the strong economic arm of the ad industry to prop it up. We seem not only to ignore the negative issues associated with surrounding ourselves with images that promote conspicuous consumption but more and more we have been programed to justify its existence as integral to what a city is. In this climate it is no wonder outdoor advertising expands its hold on the facades of our buildings, and our collective consciousness.
What I found interesting about Neal's article wasn't his critique of outdoor advertising, but his understanding of the political implications of the public banning its use of our shared public spaces. He writes.
A ban would be aesthetically, culturally and environmentally right. But it's what it says about us that matters too. It would be a sign of collective and democratic power over the market. It would be a signal that says the public interest trumps private interest. That the freedom to be fully human, and not just be subjected to an endless onslaught of adverts, should come first. That we are citizens more than we are consumers."
Holy shit! "collective and democratic power over the market"? "public interest trumping private interest"? These are the words of revolution and yet all he is talking about is removing some pictures from the walls of our cities. Why is such strong language of resistance so apt in this situation?
In a gross oversimplification, David Harvey, whose lifelong interest in how cities are organized has written at length about how cities are made largely of people who lack a say in how the place they live is organized. At the heart of the outdoor advertising issue is this larger problem of creating a city environment in which each of us has agency. If outdoor advertising has a qualitative negative affect on each of us, it should be expected that we would simply call for its removal in an effort to promote our individual and collective interest and that would be that. The vinyl, wheatpaste, digital screens and the like coming down with a whimper and not a bang as the public made a decision to better its surroundings and therefor itself.
And yet this has not and will not happen in our current political climate. I have been working at this issue as an activist artist and NYC resident for nearly 10 years now with little to no progress in the right direction. (Don't worry, im not gonna jump off a bridge for lack of results to what increasingly seems like a lifelong project.) Our cities are not organized around the collective but the individual, or often corporate. The few make large policy decisions for the rest of us which often benefit them greatly and have no affect or negative affects on the rest of us. While I hate to bring the OWS and the 99% into this blog's rhetoric, it seems appropriate for this post. Our cities, to function for all of us, must include outlets for all of our voices. These outlets should not only exist but function outside of political and economic machines which can skew policies in directions which are not of our collective will.
As the article points out, citizens of Bristol have launched a campaign "Bristol: the city that said no to advertising". As they gain traction and provide a voice for this issue it will be interesting to see how the city responds. One would expect the city council to simply comply with the demands of its citizenry as that would be indicative of a council representing the publics interest and not the privates. Most likely this campaign will be met with much resistance by those whose economic interest in keeping advertising in public gives their voice more weight and a louder decibel level with which to scream their private demands, proving once again that private interest trumps public interest and not the other way around.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Lessons in Advertising Volume Two - Mobstr
Mobstr is at it again, updating his "Lessons in Advertising" series with these two new pieces. Mobstr has the uncanny ability to boil down what can often feel like a complex campaign to overwhelm your subconscious mind, into the simplest tactics used by the outdoor advertising industry. With this new piece he gets at one of the most prevalent advertising strategies, illuminating not only the reason for advertisings interest in overwhelming you, but also the lack of any meaningful content associated with most outdoor advertisements. There are some very interesting developments happening in the anti outdoor advertising campaigns of the world these days that I think the constant reminders by artists like Mobstr are helping to drive this newfound resistance. A big thanks to Mobstr for his incredibly adept work and to all of the people out there who are recognizing that a public consumed with conspicuous consumption is a public distracted from its duty to create a more meaningful public experience for each and every one of us.