PUBLIC ACCESS - key archive and tool production
A few years ago I was in Norway for NuArt. The festival brought me to Stavanger to cause a scene in downtown by removing every bus shelter advertisement and replacing it with artwork illegally. For a state sponsored arts festival that puts a huge part of its budgets behind large scale mural productions in a small oil rich town, I was happily surprised by my invitation and how progressive they showed themselves to be with that choice. There was one problem, I had no idea how to break into the ad infrastructure in Norway. Luckily for me volunteers were able to send me photos, take measurements, and generally help me figure out what I needed to make before I got on a plane.
I left for Norway equipped with a new tool I assumed would give me access to every shelter I would need access to, in order to blanket downtown. Upon arrival in Stavanger it became immediately clear that what we thought was the key, was in fact an aberration. I now know that many cities have several different keys that open infrastructure installed at different times. New models of bus shelters can have wildly different opening methods and Stavanger was no different. The more ubiquitous tool, and the one that would allow me to blanket downtown, was not in my possession and I had to figure it out fast.
After gathering some random hardware supplies, I was able to hand craft a tool that provided me access to the rest of Stavanger's infrastructure. I became excited by my resourcefulness and ease with which these keys could be made, even on the fly. Traveling over the next few months, I began to notice that this new key I had crafted in Stavanger was in fact quite universal, giving me access to advertising infrastructure all over Europe. In fact, with outdoor advertising run by a few large multinational corporations, a key that worked in Hong Kong, might also work in Tel Aviv and the idea for PublicAccess was born.
For the past two years I have been using my travels as an opportunity to build an archive of keys that open advertising infrastructure all around the world. The photos below are a selection of cities which I have gained access to, the list growing as I move around or work with artists from cities I have never been. The idea at this point is to make this archive available to anyone who wants it. I have in fact been giving these keys away slowly to personal requests. Over the next few months I will be creating a dedicated website for this project. The website will include a world map with accessible locations, a way to purchase the keys for a small donation, as well as 3d printable files and instructions. My hope is to make advertising takeover work easier for those who might want to get involved but don't know where to begin. As the keys are used and documentation of thier use is gathered in one place, I see this projects final stage being the exhibition of photographic documentation of work made using the archive that I have created. More info to follow as the website is finalized and this project goes fully live.
PublicAccess - Shanghai, China
PublicAccess - Washington, DC
PublicAccess - Saint Louis, Missouri
PublicAccess - Oakland, California