Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising

“The constant imposition of advertising in front of our eyes is an oppressive, dictatorial and violent act,” posits the artist, activist, and author Hogre in this new collection of works and words called Subvertising : The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

It sounds rather extreme when put this way, but perhaps that is the dulling power of advertising’s omnipresence in public space year after year. Each of us can certainly recall a time when there seemed like there was more open public space and fewer images and graphics and text telling us what to do, what to buy, who to hate, how to behave. Artists like Hogre are sounding the warning on our ability to recognize its power over our perceptions.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

Street Artists have been siting Guy Debord and the Situationists as the most influential originators of this practice of upending the commercial messages in public space, and many artists and collectives in recent years have begun in earnest campaigns of short-circuiting the machine.

Since the Situationist’s time in the 1950-60s, an ever-growing number of subvertising artists, thinkers and disaffected marketing majors have banded together to turn messages on their head – folks like The Billboard Liberation Front, Ron English, and Jenny Holzer come to mind. Now Hogre finds his practice with many peers, anonymous and known.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

This collection of recent interventions of commercial billboards across London by Hogre and associates is documented in two page full color spreads accompanied by explanatory texts about the intention and inspiration. To the average citizen the messages range from blatant to quizzical to cryptic to so subtle that they may never be detected by the majority of passersby – but the thrill of the takeover never diminishes.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

And the impact of the work should not be discounted – As creative and strategic as any advertising campaign or propaganda or disinformation, these acts of artful messaging can actively embarrass a public initiative, illuminate an environmental hazard, examine fundamental political structures, or question negative social attitudes toward sectors of society like immigrants or others in the margins.

The point made by Hogre and others is that as long as one recognizes that billboards and posters are a platform for delivering speech, that platform should be available to everyone regardless of their status, station, or bank balance. Styled as a system-fighting rebel, Hogre and his co-artivists are ultimately an optimistic voice in the public sphere – if for no other reason than to draw our attention to exactly how many commercial messages we are dining on daily.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017.

HOGRE. SUBVERTISING. THE PIRACY OF OUTDOOR ADVERTISING Published by Dog Section Press. London.

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