anti-advertising: sanctuary through subversion
Last week, I looked at rooftops as a site where urban dwellers can find sanctuary from all of the commercial images and messages that bombard us at street level. I first explored directly changing the rooftops to make them feel more like sacred, "apart" spaces. I ultimately decided, however, that such approaches, which included using vegetation and sculptural elements to edit views, did not do enough to address advertisement specifically.
I decided to focus instead on ways to change urban advertisements so that rooftop observers could not see them straight-on, in their entirety, or at all. Such fragmentation and distortion would render their rhetoric ineffective, and rooftops would become a safe space where city dwellers could take control.
I explored two different ways of creating this sense of rooftop sanctuary. The first involves limiting the heights at which any advertisements, corporate logos, signage, etc. can appear so that no such images or messages could appear in rooftop occupants natural fields of vision. Examining advertisements would require standing at the edge of a rooftop and looking down, and even then the distant advertisements would appear at sharp, distorted angles. The result would be an urban "treeline" similar to the mountaintop zones where forests abruptly cease above certain altitudes.
I then experimented with breaking up vertical advertisements so that different sections appeared on different buildings but appeared connected into a single, unified advertisement when viewed from specific point(s) at ground level. From rooftops, however, these images would appear fragmented once more.
(Images of the second approach to follow.)