Billboard message subversion dates back to at least The Billboard Liberation Front and The Guerrilla Girls undercover antics of the 1970s and 1980s mangling commercial messages to expose their underside or to call out hypocrisy. Later artists like Ron English did scores of billboard “takeovers” that focused on fast food and cereal brands and their links to obesity and diabetes.
Despite an assumed increase in surveillance these days, it is surprising how many artists still get up every year on these high-profile slabs to re-engineer their message, or to put up an entirely new message altogether.
In that tradition, the activist art collective who call themselves INDECLINE say they recently took over a rather plain billboard ad-space from Christian Aid Ministries on Interstate 22 West in Byhalia, Mississippi – re-configuring their message into one they would presumably abhor. Indecline states that the new work offering Planned Parenthood services is “in direct response to lawmakers throughout the South who continue their attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
In a modern twist on this story of detournement, the anonymous crew says they plan to convert the imagery of the vandalized billboard into an NFT. For profit? No, they say they plan to auction it off and give the proceeds to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.