i’ve always thought that acting in the way that i do is an implicit recommendation of others choosing to behave in a similar way, but just to make it explicit: i believe many people, as many people as are willing, should protest against corporate/capitalist domination of our public space/media, starting with the simplest point of resistance: the out-of-home corporate/capitalist advertising that invades our public spaces*.
when it seemed i had to live my life in this type of protest, i tried to go about it in the most simple, unoriginal, unimaginative and unskilled way, for two, totally interlinked, reasons:
— i didn’t want to provide any reason for anyone to like this protest other than the ideas behind it and the conviction with which i held to them (i didn’t want people to like it because it was ‘clever’, or ‘intricately planned and executed’, or of ‘artistic merit’ etc. — i wanted the action itself to be thoroughly pedestrian and totally pathetic, so as not to distract attention from the overall concept of the protest, which is where the real substance lies).
— i wanted to use the simplest method, stripped of anything personal/individual/original/inventive/skilful/artful, that would be the most basic form of protest, a form evidently open to everyone who feels similarly about the social ills of advertising and feels compelled to act**.
this form of protest (erasing/altering/replacing/adding messages displayed in public spaces) is as old as civilisation itself, the only thing that is slightly different about this particular form of anti-corporate-advertising protest (as opposed to other contemporary ‘ad-bust’ actions) is that it deliberately causes conflict with the legal system by taking responsibility instead of trying to avoid detection — again, deliberately causing conflict with the constabulary and judiciary is a centuries-old tradition, used in many different forms of political protest throughout history.
the form of protest i’m making cannot belong to anyone, is not the invention of anyone — it is just the basic form of anti-advertising protest dictated by the current situation and political concepts that have existed for centuries — concepts that just exist to be observed and practiced by whoever feels the need.
the reason i stress this point is that people have expressed to me in the past that they believe this form of protest is ‘my thing’, something i have some special claim to and want to do alone — neither is true, i set out to do things in a way that is so basic/general/unimaginative that it could never be considered as something unique to any individual, and i would love to do this in company, i’d find that really heartening actually.
i hope that anyone who wants to take up active opposition to corporate/capitalist advertising feels totally comfortable to take up the same underlying form of protest, without being concerned about using a method that is ‘original’, or ‘clever’, or ‘talented’ or any of the other bullshit our late-capitalist individualist society has a tendency to make us think is more important than having sound political views that we feel compelled to act upon in the simplest and clearest way.
there is absolutely no doubt that this protest would be more effective if carried out by a large number of people, the larger the number the better.
the reason i do not wait until more people are willing to make this sort of a protest is that i am unable to for personal/political reasons — i feel the cause is so right that i must make this protest immediately, and while i hope more people come to the ‘party’, i’m certainly not going to wait around for a critical mass to avoid having to risk chucking my meat into the gears (the phenomenon of people being unwilling to go all-in for a cause until they are assured of victory holds us back too often i think, so fuck it, i’m throwing my whole life in on this one, stupid monkey-token it is anyway).
one reason that in the past i have not made my wish that others join in explicit, have not encouraged others to join in, is that i think everyone who makes that decision should do so completely of their own volition — the personal consequences are so serious that the reasons have to come solely from the actors themselves (they face the consequences alone, they sit in a cell alone, so the drive and strength to continue must be as internal as possible).
i guess that is it.
one more thing i could say is that while i have decided that a total public stance against advertising (and the legal system that allows and protects it) is the best approach to take, if people want to take up a less confrontational mode of opposition that will also be useful.
what i mean by ‘less confrontational’ is any anti-advertising activity that seeks to avoid detection and does not wish to stand proudly (stupidly) against the law.
if anyone wants to do that, being unable or unwilling, for whatever fully-understandable reason, to take it any further, then that is certainly better than nothing, and i would appreciate efforts like that also.
*the out-of-home advertising that invades our public space is the best point of resistance not only because it is a tangible target that is relatively simple to disable — we, the targets, have no choice to opt out of being bombarded with advertising’s offensive bullshit every time we leave our homes…. with other forms of advertising in our media (which is, or at least should be, a public space), the argument is always put that if people didn’t want to see/hear advertising they wouldn’t tune in — i think this is a weak argument, easily defeated, but it is good to start opposing a form of advertising that has no recourse to that kind of defence.
** this is not to say that no anti-advertising activity should have any artistic merit, skilled execution, individual style or inventive approach — i just feel that something that could hold back a social movement in our individualist western societies could be the common (somewhat stupid) insistence on being original…. i wanted my form of protest to be nothing but the basic form that would underpin all total anti-advertising protests — ultimately it is the common, unadorned, underlying form that is the meaningful and important part, i wanted to bring that fact into focus by using nothing else (which is of course impossible, seen as pure form can’t exist in practice, but it is still my aim to stay as close as i can to the pure form in practice) (please excuse all that wankar speak, but i cannot actually say what i mean without using terms often abused by wankar pricks from hell — in the end it all seems like a whole lot of bullshit about nothing, but oh well, i’ve said it now).