When our friends at Dog Section Press told us that they wanted a few more photos of Josh MacPhee’s ad takeovers for an upcoming issue of DOPE, how could we say no? For this round, Josh gave us four designs inspired by posters that appeared in Paris during the May of 1968 protests, his contemporary updates on classics that we all know and love. We’l let Josh take it from here:
I first came across the posters of May 1968 and the Atelier Populaire twenty years ago, and they were so bold, clear, and concise that it immediately felt like I had always known them. The ability of these simple, one color flat graphics to punch through the haze of our spectacle-driven lives and speak basic truths—“the boss needs you, you don’t need the boss,” “together we have the power,” “the police speak to you everyday through the media”—feels absolutely timeless. Last year saw the fiftieth anniversary of these posters and the social upheaval in France that they were a part of, and I decided to re-engage with the images and see what it would look like to bring them up to the present. The Fuck Work poster is actually an older attempt at this, I initially scrawled this version of the May 68 factory with the smokestack moved over to become a middle-finger almost a decade ago. The image is a bit of political poster inside joke and commentary, as the students and artists that had participated in the Atelier Populaire were dogmatically workerist, using their posters “in the service of the workers” and to support and promote the worker occupied factories in and around Paris. But the reality of the ’68 upheaval was that very few workers actually wanted to occupy their factories. In fact the last place they wanted to be was on the shop floor, whether it was in their control or not, and most just quit coming to work and fucked off to the beach. So I see my re-working as an attempt to capture a more honest spirit of ’68, and the general truth that few workers simply want higher wages, instead we want freedom from wages altogether.
- Josh MacPhee
Thanks again to Josh and Dog Section Press for this opportunity to work together while referencing some of our activist inspirations. Keep an eye out for more from Josh in the next issue of DOPE.