Cramulus hat geschrieben:Why I Put Up Posters
I have a little brown messenger bag which waits by the door for me like a puppy wanting to go out.
In my bag, I carry a few pages of stickers, some markers, post-it notes, pope cards, my notebook, a camera, two fake moustaches, and a folder containing a few hundred posters. I like to walk around the neighborhood, putting up flyers, making changes to signs, and generally jaking around.
One day, past midnight, a one-eyed bum approached me on the street. "What've ya got there?" he asked. "I seen your pictures around the neighborhood. What ARE you doing?" I blinked. This question always stumps me. It's a funtime activity I've never really attached a name to other than "putting up stuff".
Searching my brain for a quick explanation, I eventually told him, "It's art," but the word stuck in my throat. Well I guess you could argue that anything is art, certainly some of the stuff I put up is artistic, but I don't really consider this activity art.
I lay in bed that night, the question turning over in my mind: What AM I doing?
For one, I'm taking back my environment and gradually transforming it into the place I want it to look like. I like making everybody's day a little bit more surreal, and this is a really visible way of doing it.
For two, I know that somewhere out there, there are other people like me. Other people who appreciate these weird little intrusions into pedestrian reality. My posters are signposts saying "I'm here, and you're not alone."
And for three, it sends the message to everyone that public spaces are public property. We all modify our environment by living in it. The sounds and smells and rhythms of the neighborhood are an organic reflection of its occupants. Putting up posters is just like trimming the hedges or mowing the lawn.
Walking through the neighborhood with my bag over my shoulder, my cabal at my side, I'm reminded of don Juan Matus and Carlos Castaneda on their way to Ixtlan, trying to walk with the entities and intelligences of the desert. We're urban shamans, befriending the spirit of the neighborhood. While you go on your ventures, I reccommend this attitude, one of respect and stewardship for your environment, your companion on this journey.
I've been regularly putting up posters in this neighborhood for about a year now, and I think it's "working". At first, they'd dissapear quickly, but they're staying up much longer now. I think people are either laughing at them (and leaving them up) or are getting tired of taking them down. I like the fact that when I walk from point A to point B, I get to chuckle at the cool stuff hung on the telephone poles, walls, and trees, the moustaches drawn on posters, the stickers in the phonebooths. It feels like MY neighborhood. I am having such a blast doing this, I can only hope that somebody else out there is digging it half as much as I am.
I don't have any agenda higher than that. That's why I tend to avoid posters with political or ideological propaganda on them - people have a lot of defense mechanisms when they sense someone's trying to sell them something. I just want them to stop for a second and be aware of their environment. I want to jolt them, if only briefly, out of their pedestrian autopilot. And after seeing a few hudred of these signs, maybe they'll join me in modifying their environment for the better. Or maybe when they realize how easy it is to have fun FOR YOURSELF, IN YOUR OWN WAY, they'll loosen up, just a bit.
If you want to join me, but you're stuck for ideas for what to put up, search the web for our code word, PosterGASM. I've collected quite a bit of material over at http://www.blackironprison.com/index.php?title=POSTERGASM. I also advise you to take pictures of your work and post it on flickr.com with the tag "POSTERGASM". That way, you'll KNOW you're not out there alone. There's a community of people who also dig these kinds of shenanigans, and we love it when other pranksters choose to help carry the torch into the Strange Times.
May your stapler be full and your stickers be sticky. May your streets be filled with laughter. And may your posters hang high, long, and deep.
Cramulus hat geschrieben:Here's another misc. tip - partially for you, partially for anybody that's making posters-----
One thing to be careful of with one-line-meme-bombs is that sometimes the closer your phrase is to sounding like a commercial slogan or catchphrase, the less memorable it is. The brain filters out most of the stuff it sees over the course of the day. You may be making a good point (ie, the last one in your set suggests that common sense is actually fairly uncommon), but remember that your posters are adrift in a sea of memes. As you walk down the street, you're seeing ads for concerts, billboards, bumper stickers, guys with sandwich boards handing out coupons, etc etc etc.
There is a war going on, a war for your attention. The trick isn't just to grab attention, but to maintain it. A cute catch phrase momentarily rises into awareness and then will be replaced by the next flashy thing to come along.
That is why I think Discordian posters should be absurd, surreal, mysterious, or otherwise itch your brain in some way. You can get by on being funny. The main thing is that the experience of the poster should be something unique which the target will remember later in the day, will relate to others.
Think about how many times you've seen the phrase "Buckle your seatbelt", or some other public safety notice. This is sort of what we're going for, except we're not concerned with physical health. Does it stick our in your memory? (probably not) When you saw it, did it change your behavior? (it might have, if you were unbuckled, and there was a hefty fine listed) What factors can make your posters more effective than that? A meme's goal is to get inside someone's head and change their behavior from within. In the "buckle your seatbelt" example, they do that by leveraging internal factors against one another. Namely, the fear of harm, and the reminder of financial penalty for failing to internalize the meme.
The Situationists thought that the best way to protest the dominant order is to protest from outside of it. They tried to be surreal, confusing, misunderstood. They thought this gave them a certain outsider power. The phrase "My shadow is my graffiti" was a popular May 1968 slogan. I like it because it doesn't make a clear point that you can argue with. It seems to express some dissent, but not in a way which can be circumvented through discussion. You have a hard time explaining it to people. It sticks in the brain a little bit just because you can't chew it up and swallow it like the phrase "Shop at Sears" or "Drink Guiness for Health" or whatever.
A powerful meme creates a mental shift in the reader. Sometimes all it takes is a phrase like "Is this a dream?" to make people spiral into a cascade of self reflection and awareness of one's own thoughts. But it's hard, because you have to pierce through the veil first, you have to win the attention economy. The battle for attention is fought nearly every time you move your eyeballs. How are your posters going to win that battle? How are they going to throw a wrench in the MachineTM?
We have a bit of an advantage in that we are not a commercial venture. We are not trying to sell you anything. But we are marketing ideas, hoping to snare your brain into a train of thought which leads you our way. Perhaps you are intrigued. We leave you with little to follow up on, other than "the Discordian Society", a mysterious and nebulous entity if ever there was one.
Or maybe it's just about rearranging the MachineTM. If you make everybody that reads your poster smile a little bit, you'll have introduced a little warmth into a cold cold world. I think a lot of people are surprised when they see a poster which isn't trying to sell them something. We have no commercial interests. We just want to make the world better (for ourselves), and we can do that by making you relax and laugh a little. People aren't used to the idea that you'd waste your calories doing something that isn't tied to a bank account. They don't know that there are forms of protest which don't involve carrying a sign and shouting at (essentially) a brick wall. They don't understand that there are hobbies which you can make up yourself, you don't have to pick your activities from a predefined list of culturally accepted pasttimes. If putting up posters has mindfucked anybody, it's myself. And I wish I could show everybody what I've seen.