“Storefront for Art and Architecture is making a call for submissions for projects and strategies that offer a new, creative and productive way of spatial occupation for public demonstrations and actions in cities throughout the world. Gathering expertise from the various acts of civil occupation throughout the world during the last months, we ask architects, artists and citizens at large to offer their ideas for enabling acts of communication and action between the civil society and the structures of economic and political power.”
The mission of the Public Ad Campaign reads, in part:
Public Ad Campaign acts on the assumption that public space and the public’s interaction with that space is a vital component of our city’s health. By visually altering and physically interacting with the public environment, residents become psychologically invested in their community.
According to reporter Barbara Celis, the Public Ad Campaign recently found out that a number of NYC billboards are illegal, telling Celis:
“the agency that owns the ‘attacked’ billboards operates on an illegal basis. “NPA outdoor operates over 500 street level billboards in NYC ranging in size from about 4’x4′ to 50’x12′. All of these advertising structures are illegal. I found this out by talking to the NYC Department of Buildings which has no permits for the NPA outdoor structures but has its hands full dealing with the rampant illegal billboard situation. I have also spoken directly with NPA outdoor employees who have told me that the NYPD will jail them from time to time at which point NPA lawyers bail them out and they are compensated 500 dollars for the nuisance of spending the night in jail”.
On April 25, Public Ad Campaign organized the New York Street Advertising Takeover. Over 80 artists – and others “including an architect, a bio-physicist, a sports writer, a software developer, and countless others” – whitewashed 128 of the illegal signs and painted their own artful messages. Celis’s video is below and more information about the action is here and here, with lots of images on flickr.
They’re different but the NY Street Advertising Takeover reminds me of these remarkable photographs from Sao Paulo, when in 1997 city officials banned billboards, neon signs and electronic panels.