In a massive act of ‘brand vandalism’ just two days before the launch of the UN COP21 Climate Conference, 600 anti-advertisement posters have been installed in outdoor media spaces throughout the streets of Paris. The posters display artwork from over 80 artists from 19 different countries, including big names such as Banksy-collaborator Paul Insect, Alex One, Know Hope, Escif, Cleon Peterson, Hyuro, Jimmy Cauty, Ron English and many others. The pieces are strategically placed in advertising spaces owned by JC Decaux, one the the largest outdoor advertising firms and an official sponsor of the climate talks. This large-scale project aims to challenge the corporate takeover of the climate change event by addressing the connections between advertising, the promotion of consumerism, and fossil fuel consumption.
The Brandalism Project began in 2012, when two friends in London decided to begin reclaiming billboards across the UK after tiring of the visual pollution that stems from large scale, public advertisements. Joe Elan from Brandalism said, “By sponsoring the climate talks, major polluters such as Air France and GDF-Suez-Engie can promote themselves as part of the solution – when actually they are part of the problem.” The Paris reclamation is the team’s largest project to date; completely unauthorized, the posters are not self-promotional in any way but rather a visual attack on the advertising companies, lending a voice for the people to demand action from politicians and policy makers.
This guerilla art project joins artists from around the world to challenge authority and draw attention to the prominence of commercial images within public spaces. A “revolt against corporate control of the visual realm, [Brandalism] is the biggest anti-advertising campaign in world history and it’s getting bigger.”