Over the years I’ve heard the case pled by many graffiti writers that the results of their efforts are no worse than the intrusiveness of commercial outdoor advertising. That ‘liberating’ a billboard or taking over a high profile outdoor space is no worse crime on the public at large as the product and corporations that are given official sanction to violate these same spaces with their own messages. The opposing argument to this stance (and generally most widely accepted) is that because the latter has paid for the rights to push their message, there’s a clear distinction between the two, and so little more regard is usually given to the rest of the world that is unfortunate enough to have to pass by the paid advertisement.

I’m not going to argue the merits (or flaws) to either side of the graffiti versus advertising argument, but it would seem that thanks to the ingenuity of TruMedia Technologies and Studio IMC, it has become a moot point anyways. In a move that puts the world a huge leap closer to a Minority Report-like interactive advertising era, miniature cameras are now being embedded into advertisements to help track the effectiveness of the message being broadcast. Further, in true Orwellian style, those sensors are feeding the captured data to facial recognition and pattern matching software so that it is now possible to distinguish and track the general age, gender, frequency and time a person spends engrossed with the propaganda with 85 – 90% effectiveness.

Perhaps now a compelling case can be made (as well as widely accepted) that as a (somewhat) free people, it has become our duty to now systematically do graffiti over these advertisements for the social good. Now that it would seem that some people’s intrusiveness is now a lack of everybody else’s invasiveness, the distinction that defines the true quality of life villain has become more blurred than ever.


Newsweek article via PSFK

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