Some inspired and benevolent hooligans went around town putting up posters for the Laptop Battle last weekend. I was lucky enough to catch one such poster on my way to work on Tuesday, so I snapped the following picture:
Unfortunately for Ricky Martin, there's a limited amount of space in the world, so the former Menudo star had to take the hit so that people could see that there was a cool, different, locally-organized event going down. Well, apparently the guy who put up the Ricky Martin posters got his panties in a wad, and as a result, the Laptop Battle posters are now gone and the club got a phone call about it.
I'm down with people trying to make a living any honest way that they can, but commandeering neglected public space to splash up posters for movies and albums isn't an inalienable right. Anyone who's ever posted fliers for a show knows that any flyer is subject to being covered up or torn down by any other person posting fliers. Usually, it's nice to try and respect people's hard work at promoting their events, but we've all had the misfortune of spending time and money on fliers only to have them covered up in 24 hours by some shitty bar band playing a 'showcase' or something. This is just a fact of life with guerilla marketing.
Our city's public space is under siege. What started with punk rock band fliers and yard sale signs has turned into yet another avenue for Coca-Cola, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. to get their products into our consciousness. It's not enough, it seems, to have a poster for the new 50 Cent movie in every Marta stall and on billboards around town--now we have to have them stuck up on every vacant building or spot of real estate that is otherwise unprotected. This is bad enough with movies and rap albums, but when it's for cars and power tools, I really can't handle it. For one thing, posting bills is illegal. It's illegal when punk rockers do it for a show, it's illegal when artists like Slumber, Inc. do it, and it's illegal when Sony pays some dude with a bucket of wheat paste to do it. Depending on your perspective, it's either an eyesore or something that gives a neighborhood character, but I think we can mostly all agree that sloppily hung Nike posters on abandoned buildings aren't making any neighborhood better.
Now, I'm certainly aware that whoever stuck up the Laptop Battle posters was adding to the eyesore/siege of public space problem, but the way I see it, there are certain battles that have already been lost. This building I drive by every day on the way to work has been cleaned and repainted to get rid of all the bullshit graphitti and posters only to see all of that come back in a greater and more obnoxious amount. That building, until it's occupied or otherwise cared for, is basically lost. With that in mind, I'd rather the space be polluted with public art, socially conscious messages, or at the very least, advertisements for local events and companies rather than more of the monolithic, monocultural barrage we are getting. Maybe that's a double standard, I'm not sure, but I know that I'm much more appreciative of people trying to make the community somehow better than I am of people just trying to make a buck pimping Ricky Martin.