Global Liberal Media Please - The Work of Kyle Magee
It's funny, I have been working on the PublicAdCampaign project for over 10 years now. As both an artistic and activist endeavor it has had its ups and downs, fast paced movement, and lulls in activity. At times it seems worth giving up on and at other times the only way forward. When asked to summarize my goals I often respond,
"To better the health of our public spaces and by extension our collective society by questioning the role outdoor advertising plays in our shared visual public environment."While removing the burden of commercial media on our public spaces might be a clear aim, the path taken to get there is not. Despite all of my activities, I have yet to see any significant change in how we treat our shared public spaces. I take heart in the small victories and know that my role is partially to bring attention to a question which unduly receives very little. I am a small part in a growing machine that one day will bring real and permanent change to our public spaces. Actively expressing my views is an important part of helping to create the society I want to live in.
That said the tactics one chooses to fight an injustice or bring an issue to light are not all created equal. Kid Zoom recently made me aware of one of the most well spoken (minus the constant expletives thrown into his writing) and courageous advocates for a democratic and open public media space that I have ever come upon. Kyle Anthony Magee from Australia does one thing, he gets arrested. His tactic is to buff over outdoor media as public protest which he believes is within his rights. In the process, Kyle leaves behind notes, manifestos, his phone number and name, and other information implicating him for his "crimes". He has posted his police interview in which he admits to his actions but demands he is not guilty. He is open and upfront about his views and believes that the fastest way to have them implemented is to put them before the law. He has gone so far as to continue his actions despite the courts telling him not to, bringing his actions to their very steps in defiance.
To the average individual and in particular his arresting officers, Magee must seem borderline mad, but to me he is convicted. I have never gone as far as Magee has to put myself in harms way, but I have openly taken responsibility for my actions with the understanding that there could be legal ramifications, and these would bear out a discussion of the issues. It would seem that Kyle's method eschews all of the cat and mouse in order to bring the issue to the relevant opinion makers as swiftly as possible. It is a bold tactic and one which I hope wins the hearts of his fellow Australians. While his tactics may seem brash, they speak to the magnitude of his beliefs. His willingness to stand behind his actions, despite the harm which will come to him by doing so, should give everyone pause and cause them to look harder at his demands.
The questions Kyle poses about commercial media and its affects on global poverty, global environmental issues, and our individual and social psychological health are relevant questions to ask in a world which faces such immense hurdles to solve each of these growing problems. What if we banned commercial media in public space? What effects would that have on our individual health and behavior and how would those individual effects add up to a global effect on both our planet and our society as a whole? While you may not agree with Kyle's methods, you must agree that the questions he asks us to ask ourselves are extremely important as commercial media invades more and more of our daily lives. If the answers we come up with serve to promote commercial media than so be it, but we cannot be sure until we dare to look. Magee, in the most agressive of ways is asking us to look, and at a great cost to himself and im sure to those around him. I think we should all give him a bit of our time.
To see Mr. Magee's protest chronicled, please visit www.globalliberalmediaplease.net