Author Topic: Why I put up posters  (Read 4782 times)

Cramulus

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Why I put up posters
« on: June 03, 2008, 03:58:51 am »

I have a little brown messenger bag which waits by the door for me like a puppy wanting to go out.

In my bag, I carry a few pages of stickers, some markers, post-it notes, pope cards, my notebook, a camera, two fake moustaches, and a folder containing a few hundred posters. I like to walk around the neighborhood, putting up flyers, making changes to signs, and generally having fun.

One day, past midnight, a one-eyed bum approached me on the street. "What've ya got there?" he asked. "I seen your pictures around the neighborhood. What ARE you doing?"

This question always stumps me. It's a funtime activity I've never really attached a name to other than "putting up stuff".

Searching my brain for a quick explanation, I eventually told him, "It's art," but the word stuck in my throat. Well I guess you could argue that anything is art, but I don't really consider this art.

As I lay in bed that night, the question turned in my mind: What AM I doing?

For one, I'm taking back my environment and gradually transforming it into the place I want it to look like.  I just like making everybody's day a little bit more surreal, and this is a really visible way of doing it.

For two, I know that somewhere out there, there are other people like me. Other people who appreciate these weird little intrusions into pedestrian reality. My posters are signposts saying "I'm here, and you're not alone."

And for three, it sends the message to everyone that public spaces are public property. We all modify our environment by living in it. The sounds and smells and rhythms of the neighborhood are an organic reflection of its occupants. Putting up posters is just like trimming the hedges or mowing the lawn.

Walking through the neighborhood with my bag over my shoulder, my cabal at my side, I'm reminded of don Juan Matus and Carlos Castaneda on their way to Ixtlan, trying to walk with the entities and intelligences of the desert. We're urban shamans, befriending the spirit of the neighborhood. While you go on your ventures, I reccommend this attitude, one of respect and stewardship for your environment, your companion on this journey.

I've been regularly putting up posters in this neighborhood for about a year now, and I think it's working. At first, they'd dissapear quickly, but they're staying up much longer now. I think people are either laughing at them (and leaving them up) or are getting bored of taking them down. I like the fact that when I walk from point A to point B, I get to chuckle at the cool stuff hung on the telephone poles, walls, and trees, the moustaches drawn on posters, the stickers in the phonebooths. It feels like MY neighborhood. I am having such a blast doing this, I can only hope that somebody else out there is digging half as much as I am.

I don't have any agenda higher than that. That's why I tend to avoid posters with political or ideological propaganda on them - people have a lot of defense mechanisms when they sense someone's trying to sell them something. I just want them to stop for a second and be aware of their environment. I want to shake them, if only briefly, out of their pedestrian autopilot. And after seeing a few hudred of these signs, maybe they'll join me in modifying their environment for the better. Or maybe when they realize how easy it is to have fun FOR YOURSELF, they'll loosen up, just a bit.

If you want to join me, but you're stuck for ideas for what to put up, search the web for our code word, PosterGASM. I've collected quite a bit of material over at http://www.blackironprison.com/index.php?title=POSTERGASM. I also advise you to take pictures of your work and post it on flickr.com with the tag "POSTERGASM". That way, you'll KNOW you're not out there alone. There's a community of people who also dig these kinds of shenanigans, and we love it when other pranksters choose to help carry the torch into the Strange Times.

May your stapler be full and your stickers be sticky. May your streets be filled with laughter. And may your posters hang high, long, and deep.

tyrannosaurus vex

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 04:30:57 am »
if i had a magazine, i'd publish this.
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Triple Zero

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 07:09:35 pm »
is it on the blog yet?
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Doktor Loki

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 07:30:50 pm »
For one, I'm taking back my environment and gradually transforming it into the place I want it to look like.  I just like making everybody's day a little bit more surreal, and this is a really visible way of doing it.

For two, I know that somewhere out there, there are other people like me. Other people who appreciate these weird little intrusions into pedestrian reality. My posters are signposts saying "I'm here, and you're not alone."

And for three, it sends the message to everyone that public spaces are public property. We all modify our environment by living in it. The sounds and smells and rhythms of the neighborhood are an organic reflection of its occupants. Putting up posters is just like trimming the hedges or mowing the lawn.



May your stapler be full and your stickers be sticky. May your streets be filled with laughter. And may your posters hang high, long, and deep.

Yes, sir.
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Jasper

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2008, 07:37:14 pm »
Do the fake moustaches get stapled to other people's posters?

Cramulus

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2008, 07:39:54 pm »
No, I wear the moustache if I have to interact with anybody.



srsly though, a fake moustache is a great prop to put yourself in an "over the top" mindset. Because you're so obviously IN DISGUISE, you can't help but not be yourself. It can get radically silly if you're willing to go there.

Jasper

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 07:48:36 pm »
I gave away my only fake smoking pipe, that needs to change.  I still haven't found a place that sells bubble pipes.

Verbal Mike

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2008, 10:31:56 am »
This is very awesome. I wish my own neighborhood weren't of the dangerous variety. :(
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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2008, 07:27:45 pm »
I love it, Cram. This is inspiring, and addresses an issue that I think needed clarification for many.

I'll be out on the streets this weekend.

Actually, I'm in Chicago this weekend for Bluesfest, even better  :)
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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2008, 10:45:38 pm »
:mittens:
You cannot fathom the immensity of the fuck i do not give.
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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2008, 10:49:13 pm »
:mittens:

I'm totally on the same wavelength Cram.
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u4!k

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 09:28:51 pm »
i love exploring the streets and seeing  all of the stuff that people "put up".

..i occasionally put stuff up myself.

so much fun!

Faust

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 01:36:36 am »
I haven't put up anything in months, I have been in a rut, cram this is getting my juices going again, I am gonna buy a fake mustach and make a bunch of fake namebadges at work.
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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2008, 08:15:21 pm »
i put up the "HELP ME <picture of cat> I HAVE AN ALIEN BRAIN VIRUS THAT IS MAKING ME PUT UP POSTERS LIKE THIS" one in the supermarket yesterday.

today i saw it was still there. once it gets removed i'll put the other one about the "MAKING ME PUT UP POSTERS" one from the PosterGASM vol. Dingus collection.
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Skid Rat Son of Inkblot

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Re: Why I put up posters
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2008, 12:30:01 am »
This idea is brilliant. I live right on a beach, I think I oughta collect some empties and toss them to shallow tide with messages inside early in the morning.

When I was living in Japan I created a series of signs that read "FREE CIGARETTES" and taped them up all over the three-block vicinity of the train station near my apartment. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry over there smokes compulsively and I thought it would excite them. They stayed up until the day I left, oddly enough.
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