Brandalism: Record-breaking subvertising campaign hits Birmingham
By Kara Moses
The streets of Birmingham and 9 other UK cities look a little different this Monday morning. Guerrilla install crews have swapped 365 adverts with art works, creating the largest unauthorised advertising takeover in world history as part of the rapidly growing “Brandalism” campaign against the corporate take-over of public space.
40 specially commissioned international street artists produced artworks exploring the impacts of consumerism, including ecological damage, financial collapse, and gender stereotypes. The Brandalism crew lovingly hand printed the artworks which replaced adverts by companies such as H&M, Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Morrisons in the dead of night this weekend.
With the United Nations currently investigating the impact of advertising on human rights, Brandalism seeks to highlight the lack of control that communities have over their public space.
The Birmingham Brandalism trail starts in the city centre and heads southwards through Balsall Heath, ending with an artwork installed in a number 50 bus stop right outside Kings Heath police station.
Elsewhere, the Leeds Half Marathon runners were given an extra boost as the route was plastered with some thought provoking posters
…while some Londoners dropped by Scotland Yard and Tottenham Police Station, to try and express how a lot of the people feel about the boys in blue.
Bill Posters, one of the artists involved in Brandalism, said: “This is a revolt against visual pollution. Advertising is key driver of a system which destroys our future to fulfil the demands of the present, a ceaseless expansion of production and consumption. Communities are taking back control over their public spaces – expect many more actions like this in the near future.”
Swapping them is easier than you’d imagine. All you need are some of the magic cabinet keys and a trusty hi-viz vest to remain hidden in plain sight. So if you don’t like what we’ve put up, check out the guide (on the Brandalism website) to opening the cabinets, and replace it with something you prefer. Because after all, they’re your streets.
Check out the Brandalism video for more.