New brandalism campaign commands attention across 3 Australian Cities at bus stops. They call it #BushfireBrandalism
“We’re not a real group. There’s no back story, no history, no narrative – it’s a reaction to what’s just happened,” an anonymous brandalism activist tells us as they describe the sudden swelling of artists who joined together to take over those outdoor big illuminated ad kiosks that pepper your walk through public space.
“Sell the water. Dry the Land. Watch it Burn. Blame Drought,” says one of the boldface headlines on one bus-stop ad controlled by the ubiquitous street ad purveyor JCDecaux.
“Despite Australia being the driest inhabited continent on earth, the Australian Government continues to sell water to mining companies, large irrigators and foreign corporations. This must not go on. Act now,” says the remainder of the black and white poster before providing a QR code for you to scan in the lower right-hand corner.
“It’s an awareness project. It’s just trying to raise money for a charity but its so much bigger than that,” says one of the organizers. “It’s about having a conversation, changing our habits, becoming more interested in politics, participating.”
With a very loosely organized 41 artists making brand new works that were installed in the last week with the help of about 20 volunteers across three large Australian cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, the new messages in these ad spaces are in direct opposition to the coal industry that the current Prime Minister often promotes. There are a number of solutions proposed, and the tenor of urgency varies –but none seem to use particularly offensive imagery.
“Most of these artists have never had a political bent to their work,” says one person involved in the video released here today. “So this campaign can be an exercise in new territory for the artists as well. These are artists who have huge followings and people look to them as leaders, cultural leaders.”
Indeed, the group says that they have “a combined 700,000 social media following,” and they hope to raise awareness of the underlying causes of the recent unprecedented fires in Australia.
“We do not accept that this situation is ‘business as usual’, says a statement by the artists. “We are making these issues visible in our public spaces and in our media; areas monopolized by entities maintaining conservative climate denial agendas.”
“I think there is something cool about taking over the bus stop advertising because we’re the home of Rupert Murdoch and so much of our media and advertising is controlled by News Corp,” one activist tells us, “and they are not really interested in having conversations about climate change so it’s a way to put that conversation out there in public.”
Artists include: Georgia Hill, Tom Gerrard, Sarah McCloskey, Amok Island, Andrew J Steel, Blends, Callum Preston, Cam Scale, Damien Mitchell, Dani Hair, DVATE, E.L.K, Ed Whitfield, FIKARIS, Fintan Magee, HEESCO, JESWRI, Ghostpatrol, Leans, Lluis fuzzhound, Lotte Smith, Lucy Lucy, Makatron, Michael Langenegger, Peter Breen, The Workers Art Collective, Stanislava Pinchuk, The Lazy Edwin, Thomas Bell, Tom Civil, WordPlay Studio, Peter Breen.
Thanks to the many participating artists and creative professionals who chose to remain anonymous, 20 volunteers, MilkBar Print,
Brandalism UK , Bill Posters, Sasha Bogojev, Ian Cox, KGB Crew, Public Access, Nicole Reed, Luke Shirlaw, Jordan Seiler, After Midnight Film Co, Everfresh Crew, The Culprit Club, The Peep Tempel, Wing Sing Records, Waste, Adam Scarf, NCCP, Gabby Dadgostar, James Straker, Partier Bresson and Charlotte Pyatt