Who owns the virtual public sphere?
Jeff Crouse’s Unlogo was recently featured as part of the 01SJ Biennial in a collaboration with the Berkeley Art Museum as part of their Net Art program. As Richard Rinehart writes in his essay about the project
“Corporate branding coupled with new media transforms our already cluttered visual environment into a pulsing tesseract of capital. Commercial television and video digitally blur some logos while promoting others. Music videos were introduced as short films and commercials for albums, but today’s music videos are commercials within commercials (Lady Gaga’s music video Telephone features nine product placements.) However, new media also offer new forms of resistance and play.”–Richard Rinehart, Digital Media Director and Adjunct Curator, BAM/PFA
“is a web service that eliminates logos and other corporate signage from videos. On a practical level, it takes back your personal media from the corporations and advertisers. On a technical level, it is a really cool combination of some brand new OpenCV and FFMPEG functionality. On a poetic level, it is a tool for focusing on what is important in the record of your life rather than the ubiquitous messages that advertisers want you to focus on.”–Unlogo website
Definitely humorous – for a $100 contribution to Crouse’s Kickstarter campaign, he will personally take your favorite movie and use “The Moustachizer” to add moustaches to everyone in the movie. – Unlogo also raises serious issues about how the increasing commercialization and privatization of contemporary society plays out in an increasingly hybrid public space, where all your vacation photos and videos posted to Facebook (or wherever) also become augmented megaphones for the brands and logos in those “memories.”
Join me in supporting Jeff’s Kickstarter campaign for Unlogo.
P.S. Among other sources, let’s not forget Steve Mann’s Eyetap precedent-
“Dr. Mann fights technology with technology, wearing computers on his body and cameras in his glasses so he can ”shoot back” by recording everything he sees. The billboards and advertisements posted on every public surface are a form of ”attention theft,” he says, so he has invented technology that replaces these messages with whatever he would like to see. When he is wearing his ”eyetap” glasses, which project an image onto the retina of his eye, a condom ad in a bathroom becomes a picture of a waterfall.”–New York Times