New York "vandals" mock consumer culture

Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:19am EDT
 
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By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - In New York City's subway system, self-described vandals who share the name Poster Boy have a political agenda: make passengers question the barrage of advertising they face each day.

Skilled with razors, they cut up poster ads for movies, television shows, or consumer products in mere minutes, rearranging letters and images to alter the meaning in a practice sometimes called "culture-jamming."

The aim is to satirize American consumer culture and entertain with wordplay and incongruous juxtapositions.

One display cuts and transposes upper-case letters from the 2008 movie "Iron Man" to form "Iran=Nam" to comment on the possibility that the U.S. military might become involved in Iran as it did in Vietnam.

Another changes a ubiquitous train sign that reads, "Please do not lean on door," to "Please do not lean on poor."

A book of Poster Boy works is due to be published by Mark Batty Publisher (www.markbattypublisher.com) later this year. A member of Poster Boy spoke with Reuters about the group's craft and political views.

Q: Hello Poster Boy. Are you one person or a collective?

A "It's a group of us. It started with one person, but now anybody can pick up the moniker, you don't even have to be in contact with us. Anybody can pick up a razor. It's about taking control of your environment."   Continued...

 
<p>A sample of art done by Poster Boy, a group of urban artists whose work is being published in an upcoming book, is seen on a wall in a subway station in New York in this undated handout. In New York City's subway system, self-described vandals who share the name Poster Boy have a political agenda: make passengers question the barrage of advertising they face each day. REUTERS/Courtsey Mark Batty Publisher/Handout</p>