Sunday, March 14, 2010

Banksy is Right

I was reading Adbusters in the local library. It's one of the things I like to do when I'm there. It's a great magazine and has some interesting articles. Usually the main articles are the ones that are thought provoking, but as I read the most recent issue there was a quote from Banksy. As you probably know, he's a graffiti artist of a great deal of fame. His works are now found in a number of cities around the world.

Let me quote him, and you can find the quotation at the website Wreck and Salvage:

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are “The Advertisers” and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

F*** that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

The overall theme of the magazine was Altermodern. It seems we are now out of postmodernism and now a new era has begun, an era that:
Altermodern, a compound word defined by Nicolas Bourriaud, is an attempt at branding art made in today's global context as a reaction against standardisation and commercialism.

As I read the quote I have to admit I thought "Banksy is brilliant". Consider what we see, advertisement is based upon our inadequacies. We are not perfect, in fact modern day branding confronts us with our imperfections and mocks us because we do not fit the standard of perfection that is declared by companies such as the Gap, or United Colors of Benetton

This leads to the question, why do we allow them? I know that advertisement is based upon the notion of inventing a need that doesn't exist and filling that need with a product no one actually wants. Which still doesn't answer the question, why do we let them? Wny do we allow them to bombard us with these messages. Why do we allow them to fill our public space with their abuse?

So as I think of the questions I've asked, I can only come to one conclusion: Banksy is Right.

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