November 9th – 29th, 2017
Advertising is a merciless attacker. It demands attention wherever it is placed, while its protagonists are in constant mutual conflict trying to be bolder, brighter, more colorful, more appealing. Advertising visuals are invented and designed to occupy full attention of people, aggressively entering their visual field. They are defined by their content, but they are given importance by the observers they so unapologetically involve. However, if the people aren’t there, the ads lose their intended meaning. Without the attention and the consequential desire, they are virtually non-existent, unimportant and obsolete.
A well-known ad buster, Vermibus, propagates this very idea in his latest project named significantly In Absentia.
If People Were Absent
The suggestive title of the project, In Absentia, can be read “in the absence”, but also “in rebellion”. Alluding to the nonattendance of the usual, and also accidental, consumers of advertising, Vermibus thought out a new series of works. He found his inspiration in one of the largest public networks that subjects its users to imposing commercials at all times – the Parisian Métropolitain. As one of the largest subway systems in Europe, the underground railway of Paris is also home to thousands of advertising spaces, occupied by large commercial companies daily. For them, this is a logical business move since more than 1.520 passengers are constantly exposed to their messages. Still, the decision to rent out public space to private commercial entities was the decision brought in the absence of people, and Vermibus questions its legality. What is left for the tired-eyed passengers is to escape such an environment and demonstrate against the system by actually being away from the scene? This would be an act of civil disobedience conducted in pursuit of a healthier visual environment for everybody.
In search of a solution for this complicated issue, Vermibus drafted a Manifesto, proclaiming his beliefs and inviting the citizens of Paris (and not only!) to join the movement.
IN ABSENTIA Manifesto
Paris is an extremely visually contaminated city. With more than 16.000 publicity impact points, it is covered with more than 26.300 sqm of advertising area, which is the equivalent of a quarter of the complete surface area of the city.
Having more than 1.520 billion passengers, the Parisian subway system is the second busiest in Europe. It is also the one with more than an average advertising pollution in comparison to other such systems in the world.
Subway advertisements are the ones that are in closest contact with the citizens and they are absolutely impossible to ignore. They fight with each other for our attention, they don’t give us a second to breathe, nor they give anything in exchange.
With an almost nonexistent regulation and a weak control of the metro company activities by neutral parties, the advertisers have an extreme power of influence, while the citizens are kept in an absolutely submissive position.
But what would happen if the people suddenly reacted against advertising by not using the metro?
Whose attention would the advertisements they claim then?
In Absentia – the Exhibition
Guided by an idea of dystopian surroundings, Vermibus created a series of 21 solvent-based posters that would perfectly fit in the context of a metro. By suggesting replacement of the commercial messages with a series of bleak artworks, the artist creates a visionary, post-apocalyptic scenario in which the people are invited to think about the problems advertising brings into their lives. He raises the question of the legitimacy of advertising in public and puts an emphasis on the fact that the city and the subway are being kidnapped by major prophets of ultra-consumerism. His goal is to awaken, encourage and empower people to react against it, counteracting the imposed imagery with deliberate and complete disregard.
Pre-Sale Catalog is Now Available Online!
A comprehensive catalog presenting all the works from “In Absentia” exhibition is now available for review and download here.
For all inquiries and sales, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
VERMIBUS · IN ABSENTIA
Vernissage: November 9th 2017.
Runtime: November 29th 2017.
OPEN WALLS Gallery / Schröderstr. 11.1 / 10115 Berlin