Thursday, June 23, 2005

Part I: Propaganda Engineering

Years ago, I attended a gig at Arlene’s Grocery – a small dive on New York’s Lower East Side. Plastered across one wall of the bar area was the familiar mishmash of graffiti, posters and advertisements you often find in such places. Interspersed amongst the mess were dozens of these:

Obey. Obey what? I didn’t get it. It was one of those questions quickly forgotten in the rush of life. A few other times I saw stickers or spray-paint with the Obey theme, but not being a regular city dweller these occurrences were rare. They always provoked the same perplextion, but always yielded to more pressing matters.

A few weeks ago, an unlikely chain of clicks brought me to the website of cult phenom propagandist Shepard Fairey, where his manifesto explains the rationale behind it all. I still can’t decide if he’s a jackass or a genius, but I was a little pleased to finally get an explanation. Somehow I doubt he's actually read much Heidegger, but I'm not sure that matters.

And I hate to admit it, but some of his artwork is interesting. I especially like his clever incorporation of old communist devices. If that doesn't force you to question intent, what will?


Shepard Fairey - Manfacturing Quality Dissent Since 1989


Blogger Aanen said...

You should take information warfare at mason. It covers all kinds of interesting topics like propaganda, disinformation and others. I'll see if I still have the links to some of the articles.

6/28/2005 7:01 AM  

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