Brooklyn Street Art

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Is This Illegal? Desire Obtain Cherish in LA

Posted on April 12, 2012

When your budget is so large that a violation fee is merely an operating expense, “illegal” is a quaint term.

The power of advertising in the public sphere on our propensity to purchase raspberry-scented shampoo is so effective that hand-bill postering and billboards pop up all over our built environment (and natural environment) like mushrooms overnight. As cities everywhere debate or ignore the appropriate growth of advertising messages, entrepreneurial billboard builders often take the initiative to spread the paid messages in legal grey or red zone because the opportunities for making green are aplenty. Talk about bombing.


Desire Obtain Cherish “Is This Illegal?” (photo © Birdman)

The Los Angeles Street Art collective Desire Obtain Cherish favor the billboard for a bit of culture jamming periodically and they have just raised the irony a notch. In these new photos from photographer Birdman, we see what appears to be Desire Obtain Cherish using illegal billboards for installations – raising awareness of just how many un-permitted, unsanctioned, unapproved, and illegal billboards are in our midst.  You can’t even rightly call this new installation campaign hi-jacking because it’s medium is already illegal. Compounding the fact is that this can also all all be done in broad daylight with foot traffic and cars whizzing by.

Desire Obtain Cherish “Is This Illegal?” (photo © Birdman)

Is this art? Conceptual art? Street Art? Art Activism? Community Service?

If your illegal message is on an illegal billboard in an illegal location, have you committed an illegal act? Do all those compounded “illegals” cancel one another, or create a cognitive dissonance-induced inertia?

Dang those kids for making us think about commerce, art, policy, and public space. In one of the videos below the end text clearly takes some positions but there are many to be taken. This will only mean trouble for the simple-minded who are in search of black and white answers at any cost.

Desire Obtain Cherish “Is This Illegal?” (photo © Birdman)

Desire Obtain Cherish “Is This Illegal?” (photo © Birdman)

Desire Obtain Cherish “Is This Illegal?” (photo © Birdman)

Desire Obtain Cherish “Is This Illegal?” (photo © Birdman)

“Is This Illegal?” – A video by Desire Obtain Cherish

Benjamin Alejandro “Is This Illegal?” Billboard Hijack, La Brea Ave, Los Angeles.

If you repost, please credit the photographer and link to this URL. Thank you.

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