Archive for December, 2005

Watching the Watchers

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

I Spy a Spy
– photo credit: Ted Rheingold

San Francisco blogger and developer, Ted Rheingold spotted this excellent billboard prank corporate art. The artist (who so far remains unknown) reminds us how omnipresent surveillance has become in our everyday lives. Read Ted’s writeup and peruse his flickr photo set of the art. Special thanks to our hosting service Laughing Squid for bringing this to our attention.

The BLF stands firmly against prolific monitoring of the population, as it gets in the way of our ninja activities and highly restricts our dark artistic endeavors.

UPDATE: Looks like the art is part of a collaboration between New Langton Arts and {get this} Clear Channel called Double Take.

months later…….. Ronald McEnglish cont….

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

So, the four of us got to the van which was parked two and a half blocks from the board. Freeman quickly applied the magnetic “VIACOM” sign plates to the doors and off we sped. Hours earlier, while the clowns were applying make-up & the security team was talking into paper bags, we had a bit of a scare when a Viacom pickup stopped at the board, a guy got out, hung a swing ladder on the board and climbed up. Visions of a high-tech Viacom/SFPD/NSA/Interpol sting operation began percolating in my feverish brain. They had just forgotten to flip the switch on the sat-uplink surveillance system cleverly disguised as block of wood bracing the back side of the board and sent out a man to quickly arm the system. Maybe for the last several months, the MAN was bugging our phones, monitoring secret BLF emails on our protected comm-links…… lying in wait to spring their carefully seeded trap and finally, in a flash of dramatic and decisive action, the multi-agency task force swoops, cornering the criminal masterminds on the billboard!! Look at me Ma! TOP OF THE WORLD!!! as we go down in a hail of bullets, Cala-Food shoppers used as human shields! Yeah, right. I’ve come to the conclusion, over the years that THEY don’t seem to give much of a shit bout us forlorn billboard improvers.

The ad agencies swipe our ideas without paying us, the companies that “own” the boards see us a minor annoyance, akin perhaps to the cumulative negative impact of pigeons & seabirds pooping on their billboards, the cops are way too busy trying to avoid lawsuits and punitive administrative actions to actually pay attention to what’s happening on the streets – criminal-wise and the general public just assumes that no matter how outrageous our improvement might be – it’s just advertising as usual. For a bunch of attention seeking media-whores, maybe we should have chosen another field, perhaps something like farting out the 1812 Overture. At least we could get on Howard Stern. What’s a “Reality Hacker” to do when there is no more reality? As it turned out the worker guy was just applying the SF sign code numerals on the top of the board.

Well, there is always the adventure: the metallic taste of adrenaline in your parched mouth – blood pounding in your temples as though a turbine for some colossal dam had been shrunk down & implanted in the cavern of your skull, the insane slowing down of time to the point where your actions and all movements of others and the world around you seem to be encased in a solid block of acrylic and displayed in some SOMA gallery, the fluid way your actions seamlessly coincide with your team while carrying out the hit despite the improbability of it all. more later.