A guest author introduces the practice of busting ads in order to #subvertthecity.

Anonymous group adbusting Billboards in Berlin

Author: Patrick Fuhrmann

Who:             adbusters Group & Street Artist “Rookley”

Where:          Berlin, well-known Kreuzberg district

What:            Adbusting Billboards w/ self printed posters

How:             Self-made keys from the #Public Ad Campaign movement

When:           End of 2017

There has been an increasing interest in Adbusting in public open spaces. Since the beginning of the #SubvertTheCity movement in 2017, a growing community of adbusters are taking over public advertisement spaces for their own street art interventions. The need for more inclusive and self-designed cities has risen with the growing participation of inhabitants in the visible urban space.

It’s 6 am in a misty grey morning in Berlin, the only people on the street are the drowsy, coffeecup-in-hand early workers. Two of them, in their high-visibility jackets and a bundle of posters on their backs, are on their way for a special mission: They take over advertisement posters by replacing them with self-printed artwork, taking out brand images from backlit boxes and metro advertisements. As a protest against what is called “visual pollution” in urban space, adbusters embellish the sites claimed by advertisement companies with their street art.

Adbusters at work. Copyright: Patick Fuhrmann

“Most people see advertisement boxes as an inherent part of the city environment”, the street activist Rookley says – “but our own visual space should not be something dictated by companies. We can actively engage in the constitution of our environment.” His artwork served as a poster used by the two street artists seen in the video. Rookley himself is a follower of the Adbusting movement. “You can take part in this by planning your own projects. The Public Ad Campaign for example can get you a first insight into the possibilities of shaping your environment in the city.”

To open ad-boxes, adbusters use self-made keys from the Public Access Project (Copyright: Patrick Fuhrmann).

Via the Public Access Project, you can obtain access to outdoor advertising sites in many cities worldwide and participate in the public dialogue of your home.

This live point-of-view video gives you an idea of how adbusters “hack” open public spaces:

Header picture: Artwork installed in Berlin Kreuzberg-District (Copyright: Patrick Fuhrmann)

Thank you, Patrick!

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