Little Brother is Watching. This billboard in Boston, is under attack for its political subject matter. challenges the Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping program. The Massachusetts state Outdoor Advertising Board officials sent the owner of the board, John Rosenthal, a letter stating, “You are directed to remove this billboard forthwith.” The Little Brother is Watching blog is open for comment. (via)
Little Brother is Watching
>  31 March 2006 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , ,
Houtlust. A blog of images non-profit advertising and marketing. Lots of posters, advertisements, urban interventions, and an occasional video clip from around the world. Updated daily. Some of the images are quite strong — and it’s interesting to try to figure out why. The ones that hit me in the gut mostly involve the human body. Even, as in the example below, by implication.

Update: Houtlust is now Osocio.
>  22 March 2006 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
Progressive poster designers in Australia, 1960’s-80’s. A capsule summary of the political screen printing movement down under. Lots of organizations and names I’ve got to look into.
>  11 March 2006 | LINK | Filed in
Samedi Gras(s). Vivid poster from a worker movement in Italy promoting a carnaval event this Saturday in Milan. The event is in solidarity with the people of New Orleans and to protest the ‘eating’ of green areas by highway construction.
Samedi Gras(s)
>  3 March 2006 | LINK | Filed in ,
The Graphic Imperative. “International Posters for Peace, Social Justice, and the Environment 1965-2005.” A design show with a few classics and greatest hits. More images here.
>  16 February 2006 | LINK | Filed in

Workers of the World Play Ball

The International Institute of Social History in The Netherlands has a brief text, a few posters, and a couple of photos from the Labour Olympiads, an counterevent to the Olympics between World War I and II:

Labour Olympiad“In the twenties, the Olympic games got their counterpart within the labour movement. Labour Olympiads took place in Frankfurt, Vienna and Antwerp. Workers played soccer, practised gymnastics and ran for world peace instead of the national honour.

As a result of the struggle for the 8 hour working day, workers had time for sport. Already in the beginning of the 20th century workers participated in games with comrades in neighbouring countries. Massive labour sport unions were founded in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and France. They strove to educate workers both physically and spiritually.

The Labour Olympiads, organised by the Socialist Workers’ Sport International (SASI), fit well with these ideals. Against the normal Olympic games, marked as ‘a war between nations gained by sportive means’, stood the solidarity of comrades in sport. The labour sport unions disapproved of idols and records. At the labour games the anthem of the socialist international replaced the national anthem of the winning country. And only the red flag flew. Participation was more important than winning.”

See A Dozen Pictures of the Labour Olympiads.

>  15 February 2006 | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,

Four Questions for Anarchist Art

by Josh MacPhee
From Perspectives in Anarchist Theory, Fall 2005.

Places the U.S. Has Bombed Since World War TwoAnti-authoritarians have been extremely successful in using art and spectacle in recent years, whether to re-energize the protest movement in Seattle with both puppets and window smashing, or to fight dam construction in India with complex ceremonies and direct action theater. Historically, art has played an important role in revolutionary movements, and the Left has a long tradition of cultural resistance, particularly in the graphic arts. The graphics collective, Atelier Populaire played an integral role in the student-worker uprising in Paris in May 1968. Amilcar Cabral has written extensively on the central role of culture in the African liberation movements in the 60s and 70s.

Surprisingly most of this history seems lost to the Left itself, and we are far more likely to have a corporation mine our own visual history to create advertisements than to study and understand the history ourselves. Indeed, art and culture are rarely the focus of debate for anarchists and anti-authoritarians. As art has become increasingly rarefied in our society, and relegated to museums and expensive galleries, we have tended to spend decreasing amounts of time thinking about it. As a result, our definition of “Anarchist Art” is usually by default simply art created by an anarchist, whether it is a clip-art graphic, a heavy metal song, agit-prop street theater or an abstract painting.

Rather than being content with shallow, unconsidered or simply absent perspectives on art, I think it is extremely important that anarchists develop complex ideas about how art and culture operate in society, influence emotions and ideas, and are part of movements for social change.

Continue reading "Four Questions for Anarchist Art" »

>  12 February 2006 | LINK | Filed in ,


Mobil Oil

Parody of the old Mobil Oil logo seen along Silverlake Blvd in Los Angeles.

>  30 December 2005 | LINK | Filed in ,

The Hurricane Poster Project

Hurricane Poster ProjectI’m not big on “humanitarianism” as a political strategy, nor posters as limited edition collectibles, priced as luxury goods. But The Hurrican Poster Project hits a few good notes. From the site:

“The Hurricane Poster Project seeks limited edition sets of hurricane-related posters from high-profile and up-and-coming artists, designers, and firms from the United States and abroad. The donated posters will be sold online, and all profits will go directly to the Red Cross.”

As of this writing, the site shows 108 posters from around the U.S. and the world. As with any open call, the sophistication of the messages is checkered — but there are a few that do a good job. It’s also instructive to see the wide variety of approaches. And, despite the depoliticized context the campaign, several images do hold FEMA, Bush, and the media to account.

>  28 December 2005 | LINK | Filed in ,

Vote No on Arnold

No on Arnold

Passing through San Francisco, I spotted these near 16th street and Valencia. The Arnold poster says nothing about the substance of the initiatives — it doesn’t need to. For locals, there’s no explanation necesary.

>  24 November 2005 | LINK | Filed in

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