Augmented Reality and New Gallery Works
The works presented below should also be viewed with a free augmented reality app, PublicAdCampaign Now! downloadable for Android [HERE].
I have been working on a new series of gallery pieces that focus on my long term struggle to take back outdoor advertising spaces without imposing my own aesthetics on the public or running an ad campaign for myself, while at the same time making visible my tactics in the hopes of promoting similar behavior in others. I do this to ask whether or not we should adorn our cities with commercial messages in light of the many other types of visual stimulus we could offer ourselves, and with the understanding that advertising in general has a net negative effect on our personal psychology and thus our global behavior as a species.
These works are as close as I think I have come to reaching that goal for a number of reasons. First, while people who are familiar with my work may look at these installations and assume it was me, I think thier utter simplicity anonymizes my actions and prevents the installation from being promotional. If you don't know who made the piece, you cant think about the person behind it and therefore must instead have a relationship to the image alone. That said, you must notice the installation in the first place and I think the striking difference between the imagery used for this series, and advertising, helps to create that initial interaction.
So now we have someone looking at an anonymous installation that removed an advertisement for some unknown reason. This is the space I want the viewer to end up, as it allows them to begin the conversation with themselves about the difference between the two types of imagery, advertisings ubiquity and role in our public spaces, and all of the other questions we should be asking ourselves when thinking about how we want our public visual environment to be used. Given the opportunity to disassociate these physical locations with thier expected advertising content, viewers are free to enter a line of thinking that is almost unheard of... "Should we have, and do we need, outdoor advertising intruding on our public spaces and minds?
For this, the final element of AR, and the PublicAdCampaign Now! app come in to tell the rest of the story. Video of me actually installing the piece which is to become the image you are looking at in the gallery plays over the still image when viewed through the app, proving the aesthetics to be in service of the idea and the work to be sincere. Once this sincerity is established, I think the gallery viewer can come to a similar thought trajectory as the public viewer and honestly consider the proposed argument that is established by me actively breaking the law to remove commercial media and replace it with something else, whatever that might be.