Among the many gems in the classic Crass track Big A Little A is the line “If you don't like the rules they make, refuse to play their game.” That pretty well sums up the logic of ad takeovers.
While as part of Crass and for many decades since, poet-philosopher Penny Rimbaud and visual artist Gee Vaucher have made works that act as a sort of bridge between the Situationists and the culture jammers and subvertisers. These days, Penny is most visibly active on Twitter, where he shares short texts and images almost daily. We reached out, and he was kind enough to let us adapt a few of his tweets for Art in Ad Places, three pieces reformatted by us and one made by Gee.
We don’t always have a chance to stick around after our installations to see how the public responds to each intervention. But we like to believe that, even in midst of this hot New York summer, folks are stopping to read and ruminate on Penny’s texts. How can we live every moment as if that moment might be our only epitaph? How do we enact our ungovernable nature? These are crucial questions about the human spirit, and they are being considered in spaces usually reserved for the promotion of soulless consumption.
Both Penny and Gee have inspired us and been on our wish list of artists to work with since day one. It feels surreal to be sharing their work in this format. When we asked Penny why he said yes to Caroline’s out-of-the-blue Twitter message, he replied, “Why am I working with you? Because you asked, and because I like subversive art subverting consensual spaces, and I like free access in art and life in general.” An attitude that we greatly appreciate.