Sunday, August 06, 2006

Parrotzilla: Culture Jamming In Tampere

On 3 August 2006 the Tampere morning paper Aamulehti's Moro supplement on local affairs reported of a billboard modification that had taken place at the pedestrian tunnel of Tampere Railway Station.

An unknown person or persons had created a piece of culture jamming commando art: a parrot figure with a comic book balloon with the text "It's the Parrotzilla!!!" which had been created by ripping layers of paper off a Pepsi billboard ad. Parrotzilla remained there for a couple of days until it was censored away.

The Re/Search anthology Pranks! (1987), edited by Andrea Juno and V. Vale, tells how American performance artist Mark Pauline used to create similar anti-consumerist billboard modifications in San Francisco already in the late 1970s. There was, for example, a billboard with actor Telly "Kojak" Savalas advertising Black Velvet whiskey, featuring the slogan "Feel The Velvet" -- which was changed into "Feel The Pain", Telly also getting new teeth in the process.

Of course, little boys have done these sort of modifications to advertisements and posters since the beginning of time, by adding new moustaches, spectacles, scars and so on to the images of unsuspecting models portrayed there (and there's a famous Marcel Duchamp work of art with Leonardo's Mona Lisa sporting a handsome moustache), but these prankish acts receive additional philosopical stance in the works of these Situationist-influenced artists; made famous by the "counter-ads"/"anti-ads" of such magazines as AdBusters.

Free the Billboards: Billboard Liberation Front's Guerilla Campaign

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