As we reach our 16th Art in Ad Places installation, things are starting to get a bit easier. We have a good rhythm down during installations, and the weather has become our friend. No more brutally cold installations for a while (hopefully), and it doesn't feel like quite such a crazy idea to make trips out to the far corners of NYC (Art in Ad Places posters have already appeared in the furthest north and furthest west pay phones in the city).
This week we have Nomi Chi's The Ecstasy of St Katsuhiro Otomo for you. Here are her thoughts on the installation:
"This piece marks an important pivotal moment in my work, a time when I was contemplating ontological boundaries - cultural and physical - between the self and the outside environment. How arbitrary these elements can be, depending on how you observe them, are thoughts I have applied in much of my current work. I was thinking about this, too, when I decided to participate in the Art in Ad Places project. The hive that is a city can be a wonderful and frustrating deluge of stimulus, and advertisements are such a ubiquitous part of the urban experience: I often wonder how much of my identity is of composed of their messages, and who I would be if they were absent, or replaced by a different kind of experience. Regardless, I hope my piece offers a place to rest the eyes, a little bit of strange peacefulness in the fray."
Nomi touches on an important question that all of us, as people exposed to advertisements every day, need to ask ourselves: How do these images, consciously and unconsciously, influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? It's the question at the heart of the classic horror movie They Live, when the main character can suddenly see the true messages that advertisements are sending (OBEY, CONFORM, CONSUME...). We need to actively engage with that question, because it's one that, as consumers, we're practically trained to automatically dismiss. That's why we try to create glimpses of a radically different public space, even on a small scale, with Art in Ad Places.
We are lucky that we were able to pair Nomi's poster with some fresh cherry blossoms. A total coincidence, but we think the art and the tree work well together. They have a kind of synergy. To Nomi's point, the tree and the poster create a little space of quiet beauty in the midst of a busy street. You're not being sold anything or told to be a certain way. It's just a space to enjoy. So, enjoy.