We're Gonna Have A TV Party Tonight
January 25, 2007 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Light Criticism is the newest project by Graffiti Research Lab and the Anti-Advertising Agency.
posted by fandango_matt (22 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

I love the two puzzled passersby at the end: "Look honey, 'GRAFFITI'. Is it Cologne? A shoe? Get a cab. I want a pair."
posted by hal9k at 2:09 PM on January 25, 2007

Nice to see a statement being made out of the TV Abstractor idea.
posted by Milkman Dan at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2007

This is good.
posted by gurple at 2:29 PM on January 25, 2007

And now, years into New York City’s war on graffiti writers and protesters, after we’ve watched our friends be detained, arrested, beat, fined, tried, and given real jail sentences, not a single corporate toy from any ad firm has had to do any time.

What is the truth behind this? Because Microsoft, IBM, Nike, HBO, and others have all been fined for illegal graffiti. The statement also lumps protesters in with graffiti artists; corporations don't do street protests so it's not surprising they haven't been fined or arrested for them. And what kind of graffiti artists go to jail? The ones who create legitimate public art? Or the ones who run through a car park tagging everyone's windshield?

Nevertheless, this is kinda neat.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 2:34 PM on January 25, 2007

Well, I think the difference is that those graffiti artists are using someone else's property as their canvass, while advertisers use their own or rented space. (Besides, of course, the mentioned exceptions). Still a neat idea.
posted by IronLizard at 3:04 PM on January 25, 2007

True enough hdwow and IL. If it were me I'd have made cutouts that said stuff like "INTRUSIVE" or "UBIQUITOUS" or "BRAINWASHING" and left it at that.

Still, a damn cool idea.
posted by gurple at 3:24 PM on January 25, 2007

The problem with advertising is that cities are not willing to clamp down on it (sometimes because of revenue they gain). Therefore, what you see is a lot of people being fed up with the pollution of it all, but feeling powerless to change anything. I see it as a system failure.

So, yes, the advertising is paid for and legit through the system...but look at the system.
posted by Muddler at 3:57 PM on January 25, 2007

The ones who create legitimate public art? Or the ones who run through a car park tagging everyone's windshield?

I prefer wry stencils taped over the headlights.
posted by arialblack at 4:00 PM on January 25, 2007

I'm sure I'll come off as a corporate shill or some such thing here, but their spreading of an anti-advertising message is just another form of advertising. After all, ads are in existence to raise public awareness about a product, person, idea, or event.

As already mentioned, corporations are paying for the usage of this space. You may not particularly enjoy the level of advertising that is abound in the world today, but to block an ad out just to post your own ad seems... well, kinda counter-productive and dare I say, hypocritical.

If everyone were allowed to just post their messages in a public place without having to pay for the usage of the space, that space becomes not unlike the bulletin boards at colleges. Walk past one of those boards sometime and you'll see the same thing everytime : the board cluttered with one jackhole's "ad" for whatever thing, covering everyone else's "ad" for whatever thing. Until the NEXT jackhole comes along and covers all that up. This is also common in the "hip", indie record stores that let bands post flyers on their walls -- one band after another just covers everyone else up w/their ad. So, for the purpose of lessening the chaos and eyesore, many have developed a system of paid advertising placement. That's why there are ads everywhere - people are willing to pay to get their message out.

Say what you want about "everywhere advertising" - would you prefer the alternative?

posted by revmitcz at 4:03 PM on January 25, 2007

So let's bump this up to a higher level. Under what circumstances do I, a private citizen, have the right to bombard you, a member of the public, with my message?

You say the only condition is that I must pay a property owner for the rights to use their public-facing surface.

I say that condition is neither necessary nor sufficient.

Imagine a world in which ads, ideas, and artwork were judged by the people who view them, and accepted or rejected on their merits and relevance, rather than on the advertiser's ability to pay some anonymous and absent third party. A meritocracy of messages, if you will. Wouldn't that be much, much better?

By the way, if you want to talk personal preferences, I far prefer the chaos of those multilayered, handmade band posters to the unison of the corporate chorus shouting "BUY!" in my face.
posted by otherthings_ at 4:27 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

@otherthings :

Sure, I'll take ad-voting. Hell, there's even an online ad network company that's applying a digg-like (pardon the reference) voting system when deploying ads.

Unfortunately, I don't see that happening in the world at large. We as a people are generally too lazy to vote for public officials, much less deliberate over ad space.
posted by revmitcz at 5:24 PM on January 25, 2007

Ah, but not all of us are that lazy! Graffiti Research Lab is a case in point. Billboard Liberation Front is another good example.

What the advertisers have in dollars, these underground groups more than make up for in wit and gumption. That's the beauty of this project: all it takes is a few bucks, some brains, some guts, and something to say, and you can put your own words in the mouth of a million-dollar ad machine.

And these groups are growing. The meme is spreading.

The utopian picture I painted above is not likely to happen any time soon in meatspace, I know. But that has more to do with the capitalist stranglehold on our public space, enabled by weak local laws and a value system skewed towards money, than with individual laziness. I find that ordinary folks have quite a lot to say, if they think someone will listen.

By the way, in case I sound like some kind of raving commie--I have nothing against business and advertising per se. I'd just like to see advertising get a bit smarter, and a lot less annoying. There are plenty of things worth buying, and you don't have to pollute my public space with shrill, ugly lies to make me want to buy them.
posted by otherthings_ at 5:52 PM on January 25, 2007

Neat. I always love how GRL combines tech, street art and their pro-commons agenda.

This was also on Rocketboom today.
posted by anarcation at 6:46 PM on January 25, 2007

Seems similar to this guy
posted by headless at 8:49 PM on January 25, 2007

I especially liked the fact that it seemed relatively non-destructive to boot.
posted by Samizdata at 10:26 PM on January 25, 2007

I have nothing against business and advertising per se.

I do, and I'm not even a commie.

I for one am extremely weary of living in a world where money (and the fleecing of it) is the only respected cultural metric. I'm very weary of the lowest common denominator ruining everything good and pure. I'm tired of being pandered to by fucking crazy, jackhole idiots in ironically hip suits telling me over and over again that they think that they have some remote fucking clue of what cool or interesting is.

"Well, duh, the advertisers have a right to place their advertisement there, because they paid for it. Graffiti artists are just common vandals." is the most frequent argument.

I never gave those advertisers the right to psychologically assault me, belittle me and my feelings of self-worth and somehow imply that I am an incomplete human being. I do not value their message, their clutter or their art.

I do not want them, I'm tired of being exposed to them, and I'm tired of the visual and psychological pollution.

Graffiti is an entirely appropriate response to this aesthetic "problem".

Hey advertisers? Fuck you, fuck your business model, fuck your marketing research and go take a flying fuck at a blue moon, you useless, scabrous shits.

It's high time for a fucking cultural war, and you're never, ever going to win this one - because you exist only as parasites alive on the blood of the truly creative, and your weak ass shit is about to get purged.

To all the street artists: Keep it up. We're watching, we really are! Show us your stuff. Show us how. I watch for your art religiously, and it makes me happy to be surprised by it in unusual places. Please don't give up, you're appreciated.

(To Seattle and the PNW: I love the big woodcut and black/white posters and stickers lately, very nice and nicely done.)
posted by loquacious at 12:18 AM on January 26, 2007

This was suprisingly pretty cool, especially coming from Graffiti Research Labs. I had come to expect nothing but lame digg/boingboing/make hype-machine crap like "LED throwies" out of them.
posted by blasdelf at 12:58 AM on January 26, 2007

Nice concept, and excellently produced video. Anyone know what the soundtrack is?
posted by Nelson at 8:36 AM on January 26, 2007

The song is "El Pico" by Ratatat.
posted by Nelson at 9:15 AM on January 26, 2007

@loquacious: sounds like you and I agree on most everything, especially the psychological assault part!

The reason I'm not against business/advertising in principle is because not all businesses make evil products, and not all advertising is done in this ugly, stupid, scattershot, widecast way.

I make things myself. I would hope that if I someday want to sell those things, I'd be able to find the people who'd be interested in buying them, and let them know my things exist. I'd just try to do it in a way that didn't assault the non-interested, insult their intelligence, or lie to them. That would still be advertising, it'd just be good advertising. And there's nothing wrong with that.
posted by otherthings_ at 9:19 AM on January 26, 2007

Can you cite some examples of "good" advertising?

Sure! The Google Adwords ads that show up on web pages when I'm searching for something I actually want to buy-- those are a great example. In that context, I've already identified myself as being interested in the product. The ads connect me with people who are selling that product. I'm actually happy to see the ads, because they're exactly what I'm looking for. And they're made of text, so they tell me some useful information without resorting to blinky flashy annoying stuff. They just quietly inform me of options I might not otherwise have been aware of. And if I'm not interested, I can just ignore them. That is very good advertising!
posted by otherthings_ at 11:44 AM on January 26, 2007

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