Binary Opposition

Shift//Delete, Interventions in advertising spaces, Manchester, 2010


‘Consume; Conserve’

Liberate; Confine’

‘Question; Forget’

Walk; Don’t Walk, Stop; Go, Entry; No Entry. Urban spaces are designed to control our movement, behaviour and perceptions of reality. The information we receive from within the urban landscape is controlled centrally and expression within is predominantly based on economic capability. This is a potentially dangerous situation where local inhabitants have little control on the look, feel and meaning of their own streets.

For this intervention six large format outdoor advertisements were re-appropriated and subsequently reinserted into public space as pairs of binary oppositions mounted on opposing sides of free standing advertising spaces. A series of statements that create opposing situations for the viewer. Installed anonymously as gifts to society, the art works subvert the spaces traditionally associated with commodity exchange and therefore cannot be commercialized. A rupture occurs; the visual language of the art works is also a subversion, a hijacking of the brand identity of a prominent cultural organisation.

By simulating the identity, equipment and behaviour of the workers that install outdoor advertising posters, it is possible to interact with their spaces, places and infrastructure without being noticed, by simulating the rhythms traditionally associated with these spaces it is possible to hide in plain sight. When transgressing these boundaries, opportunities to participate, interact and express are revealed.

This art work here is both a documentation and a call to action. Participate, Intervene, and share. Take back these spaces.

A guide to interacting with outdoor advertising spaces is available from the artists here