Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Northern California people have access to the healthier aspects of their environment. There are trees and flowing waters. They can step off on almost any road and forget the technological culture they live in. A society dominated by advertising. Those in the urban centers are not so blessed. They have no natural retreat at their fingertips. Their only refuge is one they create for themselves. That refuge is now being undone by an unbridled commercialism.

Americans are swimming in a commercialized world. It is so accepted among the mass population that there is no public debate about the commercialization of our visual space and our “virtual” space. We live in a culture where it's ok that every action on the internet may now be crafted and designed to be held up by a series of interruptions and secondary confirmations; slowing down processes to expose the user to more advertising. In our visual space there is now the phenomena of truck and trailer ads. In most California counties it is illegal for a homeowner to hang a sign to advertise a yard-sale, or to sell his mother's car. Yet, huge truck and trailers file past. Everywhere there is an endless series of mobile bill-boards thirty feet long. Showing huge graphics in bright colors with multiple lines of copy. With the “large-format-printer,” they can over power the streets.

Corporations in the United States are allowed to put their advertising wherever they see fit. It can be argued that there are new laws restricting the placing of outdoor advertising, so it is getting better, but the Corps have moved beyond outdoor, while they still use the truck and trailer mobile bill-boards method, they appear to be more concerned with commercializing any remaining space not now carrying ads. They don't need static, roadside billboards when they can have a constant stream of advertising in your vehicle. With the map programs that come with new cars there will be no escape from the ads coming from dashboard monitors.

Advertising in the public space used to be a necessary component of capitalism. In 2011 the public space has been narrowed down to a small screen. Within that flat glass lies a world with its own “real estate” and its own “reality”. But it takes real money from this world to keep that world going. At some point Americans have to say: “No, I've already paid the fee; you don't get to advertise on top of it!”

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