NY Artist Puts Printed Political Statements Over DOOH Posters On NYC Subway Platform

March 21, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Let’s assume that New York contemporary artist Jonathan Allen did not have permission to go in – or have someone go in – to the New York city subway network this weekend and put printed film posters atop the digital OOH screens on the platform – making the political point that while what’s going in Ukraine is awful, so is what’s been happening in Palestine for decades.

I will leave the political arguments to other, more suitable forums, but will say I doubt the media owners would be terribly happy. Allen does what are described as ad interventions in New York City subway stations, “which seek to interrupt the language of advertising with imagery from our current political predicament.”

The Instagram video below shows him or a colleague/friend putting up two posters in the 14th Street station. This is some sort of cling film that I am not sure has adhesive or just kind of grabs. I didn’t catch him using sprayed water or anything.

Display people would know much more than I about what adding film atop a digital screen that’s producing heat will do, or whether whatever makes it stick leaves a residue. It would make a difference, I’m guessing, between this being monkey business and vandalism/property damage. He has also put the film over LinkNYC screens and the stair toppers at some subways entrances.

Allen’s not shy about saying he’s doing this, unless it is an assumed name.  He told an arts publication:

The project only lives on digitally: the Interruptions are often removed by transportation authorities within minutes or days of their installation. This ephemerality, and disappearance of the physical work, is an important part of the project. To me it speaks to the sad futility of lasting meaningful political and social messaging in the face of advertising and its power in our capitalist society.

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  1. Wes Dixon says:

    Around here we have rules: And Rule #5 states: Take what you want… and then pay for it. This is a crime… make them pay for it… with time and/or money… and make them clean the screens while we’re at it.

  2. gideon adey says:

    Brandalism as art, has a long history in OOH, and relies on the public nature of the medium – some legitimate creative executions play to this history.
    It’s a nuisance, but it’s also a validation of the power of OOH, and may be the work of a future creative director…

    1. Dave Haynes says:

      Brandalism! New term for me. This was also referred to as subvertising.

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