Who does the public space belong to? A network of activists called Subvertisers’ International proposes an answer – it belongs to us! This anti-advertising group is rapidly growing into a full-scale global movement of organizations and individuals who all focus on one thing: to show how commercial advertising affects our public media spaces in social, economic, and environmental terms. They are dedicated to raising awareness about the harmful effect of such advertising through different activities and this year they are going international!
The third week of March 2017 is to be marked with worldwide acts of nonviolent protesting, an array of artistic and social activities designed to promote the people’s right to take control of the commercial content in their public spaces in pursuit of a more just and fairer world. The global action is named Subvert The City and it speaks to urban dwellers across the planet.
Here is what a renowned adbuster, Jordan Seiler and one of the organizers of the Subvert The City activities had to say about the matter:
“Subvert the City campaign is the first coordinated global civil disobedience and activist week of action organized by Subvertisers International. It is a loose network of artists, activists, NGOs, citizens who have joined forces to create a transnational network of like-minded individuals who are really attempting to move beyond their individual struggles and their individual countries, and sort of galvanize the anti-advertising movement for the general public, across the globe.
We truly believe that advertising and its influence on not only public space but our other media systems has a detrimental effect on both the physical space itself and the media itself and the individuals who interact with that space or media. And so, we really are concerned with creating a conversation that begins to talk about this effect and create an environment in which more new decisions are being made on how we allow commercial media to infiltrate our lives.”
Who are the Members of the Subvertisers’ International Network?
All of the members of the Subvertisers’ International network have a substantial background in battling commercial advertising through the works and acts of art. The official list of members includes Brandalism and Special Patrol Group from the UK, Consume Hasta Morir from Spain, Le Collectif des Déboulonneurs, Résistance à l’agression publicitaire (R.A.P.) and Robert Johnson (RJ) & Commission AntiPub Nuit Debout (CAP) from France, Democratic media please from Australia, DIES IRAE from Germany, NO-AD Day as an international movement, Proyecto Squatters / ContraPublicidad from Argentina, Jordan Seiler’s Public Ad Campaign from the USA and Vermibus from Germany.
All of these groups and individuals have different tactics while focusing on the same goal. They are devoted to raising consciousness about the commercial images we might not even notice, but that make an impact on all urban inhabitants on different levels.
The hashtag #SubvertTheCity is created to engage people from all over the world to take creative action against corporate advertising in public space. It will take place from March 22 – March 25, 2017, in all of the listed cities and hopefully beyond.
The core idea is to reimagine and rebuild the cities and societies and to put an emphasis on the actual human and environmental needs rather than on the created images filled with expectations of a different kind. Subverting the cities means to fight for a more democratic, humane surroundings, to create better cities and to propagate the society of equals.
Therefore, participation in this global action is not reserved for the members of the network alone, but it is open to everybody – from free artists, professionals, NGOs, to concerned citizens.
As Jordan Seiler says, participation comes in different forms: “The public call for participation attempts to provide lots of opportunities for engagement beyond the artistic street action, civil disobedience. People will be hosting film screenings on consumerism in the public space, people will be holding workshops on how to hack your environment and democratize the use of public space. People will be holding lectures that everybody can attend. So, in terms of participation, individuals are being offered opportunities to engage the topic and anybody can join.
People who are not necessarily artists but who have some understanding of this issue are asked to bring their knowledge and their expertise to the public through, like I said, lectures or other forms of communication beyond the civil disobedience street action.”
There are many different ways show solidarity with this movement, from expressing your creative self to contacting local officials and asking about the policies on the public advertising in your cities. Whatever you do, remember to report your action!
You can do so by using the hashtag #SubvertTheCity on Twitter and Instagram, but also by pinning your act on the map of Subvertisers’ International – here.
Get engaged – #SubvertTheCity and make the conversation happen!
Now that the action is over, we share a set of exclusive images of Suvterting Berlin during the Subvertisers International week! All images courtesy of Vermibus.