Nice hack. I didn’t realize James Bridle made the awesome ALL HAIL SAURON placard at the The Shard laser show; I just thought he spotted it.
Anyway, Phil Gyford thinks placards could become a platform, a way to integrate protest into the fabric of everyday life. It’d be fresher, he argues, and less invisible than bumper stickers or t-shirts.
And as much as I’d love to see Barack Obama get met in the Oval Office by someone wearing a Katharine Hamnett-style STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS or STOP FRACKING t-shirt, I think it only underscores the point that such deployments are still rely on a media to make or preserve their contextual power.
I don’t think that’s what Gyford’s suggesting, though; his placard-a-day proposal is speaking truth to power by everyone speaking truth to neighbors and people on the street.
Of course, imagine placards manage to catch on, and to survive the regulation and censorship that already befall t-shirt wearers and bumper sticker sporters, who’ve been kicked out of public [and privatized public] spaces and fired from their jobs and blurred out of reality TV shows. They’d get professionalized–in fact, they already are. The “it’s not a billboard; it’s a hapless guy with a sign!” free speech loophole is the advertising medium of choice for apartment complexes and suit outlets.
Or it used to be. Now it’s public performance art and a highly evolved sport. Last year San Diego-based Aarow Advertising held the 1st Annual World Sign Spinning Championships. The company’s founders, then 18-yo, say they invented signspinning in 2002 as a way to save themselves from what was “pretty much the worst job in the world,” standing on a busy corner holding a sign.
image via noel y.c.
As for the rest of us, how many people would communicate anything different than the message of whatever corporate brand tribe pushes their buttons correctly? Placards would become shopping bags with worse ergonomics.
Which reminds me, I just found this OG Helmut Lang shopping bag in our storage unit. I would totally carry that into every Prada store in town. STOP PATRIZIO BERTELLI.
Placads for everyday life [gyford via dan phiffer’s twitter]