Watching the Watchers

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.

10 Responses to “Watching the Watchers”

  1. Sorry Dark Ninjas, definitely did not mean to lead you astray. It’s still art, but commissioned (and CC approved) is not the real deal. I apologize for ever bringing this to your attention. Trust nobody. Keep the faith!

  2. Rick is right. You are a numbnut.

  3. SCP says:

    thanks for the link
    Surveillance Camera Players

  4. […] I’m happy that some people are watching the watchmen. […]

  5. Love your site… and this pics… its great!

    Keep watching… officially links to Billboard Liberation!

    Much Love,
    Idiot the Wise

  6. Michael says:

    I’m the guy from Clear Channel who worked with the artist on this project. People should encourage corporations to partake in these endeavors and not dismiss it as “not the real deal.” Many of us work hard on the inside to promote these public art projects. We did a series of these with the artist, Felipe Dulzaides, and I hope to do more in the future.

  7. […] I found the photo from Billboard Liberation Front, from this post, which had been updated with the new information regarding the funding from Clear Channel.  Lots of people have problems with Clear Channel as a mega monster conglomerate, and they expressed distaste for a street art project that is “commissioned” by a corporation like that.  (After perusing the Double Take website, however, it looks like the project wasn’t actually commissioned, but funded in part by Clear Channel, not controlled by it.) A comment was posted from the “guy from Clear Channel who worked with the artist on the project,” and he defends Clear Channels intentions with the project.  His comment is valid and brings up the important issue that what the corporation is doing, all in all, is good—for art, for the artist, and for the audience. He says: People should encourage corporations to partake in these endeavors and not dismiss it as “not the real deal.” This is true, absolutely. The problem arises, however, when you realize how contradictory and hypocritical a corporation becomes when it is as large as Clear Channel.  On this post on Laughing Squid, a particularly right-on comment informed us to Clear Channel’s court case in Portland, Oregon, against a public arts and murals program.  Looks like Clear Channel wants a monopoly on street art.  This controversy started when: Clear Channel successfully argued in Multnomah County Circuit Court back in 1998 that murals and other “signs” (billboards, painted wall ads, wall wraps) all had to be regulated by the City’s sign code (a 100 page book of rules on what can be put on a wall). […]

  8. Deadpixel says:

    To the clear channel guy: fuck you.

    If you knew really cared at all about art or music, you would be working to destroy that company from within. Clear channel is nothing less than criminal, and it is high up on my list of corporations I’d like to see wiped out.

  9. Joe Cotter says:

    Clear Channel was partially responsible for killing legal mural production in Portland for seven years. The City Council folded murals into the sign code after a court order came down in November 1998. The court order was part of an AK Media (now Clear Channel) law suit. Clear Channel has continued to go after the City of Portland since then and was in court the week of Oct. 2, 2006 charging among other things that the City of Portland “favors art over signs.”
    That’s a laugh! Just look at the urban landscape. What do you think the ratio of art to signs is? We know that Clear Channel has about 500 billboard structures and there are only about eight or nine “public art” murals, all painted in 2005 – 2006 since the new public murals program began. All the pre 1999 murals are now classified as non conforming signs thanks in part to Clear Channel. There were about 39 murals over 200 square feet in Portland in 1998 and many of those are now gone.
    We don’t need more billboards. If Clear Channel were really interested in promoting art in the City of Portland it would cut art loose from the litigation with the City. Artists groups, building owners and others would then be free to express themselves on the walls. Clear Channel has cynically exploited Article I, Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution to pressure the City to allow more billboards. Some people think that the only public interest is the commercial intrests. What do you think?
    Last week seven people from the arts community were able to testify in the Clear Channel litigation. Closing arguments in the case will be on November 30, 2006 in the Multnomah County Courthouse room 538. See for yourself what Clear Clear Channel has to say about billboards in the City. Listen also to the arguments for art and the City’s arguments for billboard regulation. Make up your own mind.