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Brandalism's 600 Fake Advertisements

November 30, 2015

 

The United Nations conference on climate change has begun in Paris. The conference starts today, November 30 to December 11 and involves over 150 heads of State and Government. This is the 21st conference and the subject of the conference is about plans on stopping Greenhouse Gas emission and creating a plan to stop climate increase. However, there is hypocrisy to this conference. Fossil fueled companies are the sponsors for the event. Knowing this to be the case, the group Brandalism took over 600 ad spaces and placed unauthorized false advertisements in every one of them. The advertisements were not just random pictures, they were mock ads for companies that sponsor the Climate Summit. Some companies to name are Dow Chemicals, Total, Volkswagen, and Air France. All the ads created relate climate change activism and the critique at the attempts to solve rising temperatures around the world. The intent is to call out the companies who were supporting the summit but ultimately not caring about climate changes. Especially when companies such as Dow Chemicals are involved. This is the company neglected Bhopal when the Bhopal gas leak incident occured. Even so, after 31 years, the people of Bhopal are still suffering from the gas leakage. Also, Volkswagen who recently admitted that they were cheating emissions tests. One more to add is the investigation of Mobil for allegedly covering up climate change. So with all of these companies with dishonest actions, how weird is this conference to sponsored by the groups who are apart of the problem? Hence, the mission of Brandalism. From their about section on their website, their goal is to “revolt against corporate control of the visual realm.” The world is run by advertisement; it is polluted with with a bunch of ads that serve no purpose other than to sell a product. This project first began in 2012, and by 2014 they created a project that filled 360 advertisement spots. Going back to the project with the 600 advertisement spots, the success of placing the advertisements around Paris worked well since public gatherings have been banned for the time being. There has been over 80 artists from 19 different countries that worked on this project. Some subjects of the false ads are Volkswagen and the recent development about their emissions test, Air France and commenting on the hypocrisy of that, warnings of the future because of climate changes, and the overall use of fossil fuels. As stated before, Volkswagen, Air France, and even Mobil, are based on fossil fuels--one of the contributing factors to the pollution of the world. One of the advertisements that catches the eye is the ad pertaining to Mobil. Following the picture of a fracking machine, a quote reads, “We knew about the impact of fossils fuels but publicly denied it.”

I enjoy that most of the advertisements are exactly like this, they call out the lies of these companies, and they work perfectly for the occasion. Bill Poster from Brandalism says best that even with the tragedy from earlier in November and the ban on public engagement, large companies can still have their large events. Being that no one can protest the hypocrisy, the big businesses are having an advantage over the silenced. He exhorts to “call out their lies and speak truth to power.” This is a stand against the fuel fossils industry who are apart of the problem but insist on sponsoring the climate summit to show they care about the environment. Having done a similar project for The Cultural Lives of Art & Crime, I understand the power this has. Although mine was about body image (something Brandalism also focuses on) and suggested a fake solution for a real problem, Brandalism is creating the same affect by addressing a problem head-on. Being blunt with the artwork is the best direction for this cause. Unlike the big businesses that have been lying in order to stay safe from any problem, whether it be receiving bad publicity or financial struggles, the group wants to give the truth at its very core. There has also been other forms of protest for the Climate Summit. One created by Avaaz, who took a thousand shoes and placed them in Place de la République, Paris. This also concerns the fact that because of the recent tragedy the city is in a state of emergency. Inside the shoes were messages pleading that when the leaders of nations talk about climate changes, they remember the children and grandchildren of the future. With these two art works alike, the protests are a definite eyeopener. They call attention the upper hand the big companies have, and the people who are being directly affected by the affects of climate change.

 

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