How Do We Escape Control?

 Artwork by Hugo Gyrl. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Hugo Gyrl. Photo by Luna Park.

Let's jump right into Hugo Gyrl's thoughts on their piece and this project, because they bring up some ideas that we haven't really addressed yet...

"This image represents the feeling of the world exploding, full of balloons, distracted by phones, and held together by chains and pearls. Queer identity, our society's obsession with constant communication, and current events fueled by madness.

"Advertising is one-dimensional corporate influence. It mostly has a goal of encouraging you to buy more product, change your image or download the newest data-collecting app. Public art (murals, sculpture, etc) is largely advertising for the buildings/businesses funding them. Those businesses don't want to offend or take much risk. Graffiti is illegal which can limit the time spent on it. So when do we get to hear/see ideas not controlled by these parameters? Projects like Art in Ad Places.

"Throw some emotion and color on these streets." - Hugo Gyrl

This point about limitations is an important one. Honestly, we're not sure that Art in Ad Places and projects like it are the solution, but if we can play a small part... fantastic. Perhaps the best definition of street art is curator Pedro Alonzo's: "At its core, street art is the unmediated distribution of art from artist to public." Well, graffiti is mediated by the limitation of time. Advertising, even "artist collaborations" with brands, are mediated by the objective of selling a thing that you almost definitely don't need to buy. Even public art is limited by the concerns of funders and supporters. A city isn't going to commission a sculpture celebrating its mayor's greatest rival. A developer isn't going to fund a mural that is genuinely critical of gentrification. So what do we do?

This is just one more reason that we should turn over our outdoor advertising spaces to the general public. Make them a near free-for-all (while banning commercial advertising and hate speech), and then the messages we see won't be controlled by funders or governments or anything except our time and our imagination. But sure, until then, we'll keep doing what we're doing to create little glimpses of that world.

 Artwork by Hugo Gyrl. Photo by Luna Park.

Artwork by Hugo Gyrl. Photo by Luna Park.