It’s not exactly a new phenomenon, and it certainly didn’t start in 2017, but it does seem as if the sense of information bombardment is reaching new levels. Perhaps it’s due to the incessant tweeting of a certain unnameable PEOTUS and the mainstream media’s willingness to let a jester’s rants drive the news cycle. Maybe it’s because we’re all way too hooked into this digital leviathan for work, play, and everything in between. Or it could simply be a reflection of postmodern malaise reaching its apex, at which point everything’s been done and all we have left is to seek out the new and exciting in the old and familiar.
Hey, don’t blame us, we just work here! But at least consider the possibilities for meeting all of this in a constructive, provocative, demonstrative way. For instance, the sign above (which we all know the original source of) can be made into something meaningful with merely a few small amendments. Indeed, there’s a whole underground (or actually, way above ground) aesthetic around altering billboards with a few devastatingly insightful strokes. The street artist Banksy has notably used the motif of divergent juxtapositions to inspire people to see beyond the surface of things and question the inherently disciplinary codings in the structures around them. This stuff works:
So here’s a juxtaposition to consider. What does information overload have to do with visual disruptions? Sigh. If you have to ask, it might already be too late! Here are a few notions to get you going: 1) everyone is watching and being watched all the time; 2) it’s all been said already so now we get to have some fun; 3) reality takes itself so seriously that it is essentially self-lampooning; 4) creative interventions open up new spaces for people to collaborate and participate rather than consume and spectate; and 5) all of the physical and digital signs enveloping our lives are potential canvases for great art! Yes, signs are everywhere, and so are we, just like the song says:
What else can we say, when it’s all been said already? A few hundred words on a blog that no one reads ought to do the trick. Or a few clever stickers and buttons that no one buys might work. Hey, if you’ve got a better idea, then run with it! We’ll happily tune in, and we’ll try not to make too many unwanted amendments while we’re there. Until then, Rover Goods signing off…