Interview with Billboard Hacktivist Jordan Seiler (by Partizaning)
“I believe what I am doing is right. I use my full name and am open about my responsibility for everything that I have done. I do not hide behind pseudonyms or attempt to hide my identity. I do this because what I am doing is a protest.”
Our cities are increasingly littered and dominated by advertising campaigns. Media literacy is taken for granted, and people seem unaware of the thousands of images they are subject to and absorbing each day, or of the impact it might have. In 2007, the mayor of the Brazilian city of São Paulo passed a ‘clean city law’, forbidding any form of commercial communication outdoors. And as a result, artists started to occupy walls with color and contemporary shapes. But legalities aside, globally, people are retaliating against capitalist domination of free space by ad-busting and hacking billboards to un-clutter public space.
Jordan Seiler is an inspiring NYC-based artist who actively reclaims public spaces from advertisements. He curates the PublicAdCampaign and recently helped create anaugmented reality app called Re:Public to re-imagine public space. His actions are often collaborative and participatory. He runs Truth in Advertizing—a program that grants money for billboard hacks—and organizes international events like the Madrid Street Ad Takeover,Toronto Street Ad Takeover and International Billboard Hacking Day. Read our interview below, and check out his projects online.
thanks to Shriya! | all images © Jordan Seiler