<body> Public Ad Campaign: The Clandestine Cultural Knowledge of Ancient Graffiti
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Clandestine Cultural Knowledge of Ancient Graffiti

It is interesting to think of a time when urban scrawl was less an offense and more a part of the everyday. It reminds us that the invention of outdoor advertising as it pertains to public infrastructure has drastically altered our cities by creating a vast network of privatized sacred space untouchable to the normal citizen. This sacred space makes anything outside its boundaries profane, an unintelligent interruption to the ordered logic of a public environment where messages have their rightful real estate and anything else is an intrusion.

It makes me think that while there may not be a direct connection, the distance between the urban neglect and lack of investment in our cities and the invention of the JCDecaeux model of privately financed public infrastructure paid for by advertising isn't far. Neoliberal policies that favor privatization have always taken advantage of our sites of degeneration to maximize profits. Take gentrification as a prime example. Neighborhoods that are neglected over many years have depressed values and thus maximal profit potential for investors who guise thier wealth extraction as regeneration.

The same goes for the outdoor advertising world. lack of investment in the public environment in general, and more specifically bus shelter infrastructure created an opportunity for wealth extraction. We will "regenerate" this space and in the process create an unprecedented opportunity for profit. Some 50 years after the JCD models invention, talk of undoing the relationship between public infrastructure and advertising is almost unheard of an a long stretch for even the most liberal of voices.

VIA: Hyperallergic

Saqqara is an ancient Egyptian site that was used for burials over thousands of years. Of these, the most famous is the Step Pyramid of Djoser (a king of Egypt’s Third Dynasty) built roughly 4,700 years ago. Visit there today and one of the things you might see, in a building near the Step Pyramid, is a room with glass that protects an inscription. Not any ordinary inscription, this is actually tourist graffiti. Why protect graffiti? As it happens, this example of graffiti was left by a tourist at the site over 3,000 years ago. More [HERE]

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