Recently unleashed onto the city of Toronto, Jordan Seiler's Toronto Street Advertising Takeover (TOSAT) project revamped over 100 back lit ads and billboards with original pieces from 60 artists from all over this globe throughout the city.
Take a venture through the website they put up complete with all artists' work and a map to each location.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jordan during another massive project he's still involved with in NYC and was inspired by his dedication to see large-scale subversive public art projects through along with a network of volunteers and guerilla support. Of course I was more than happy to contribute to questioning the use of our public spaces by the powers that be.
The Toronto Street Advertising Takeover is the first international large scale non-violent civil disobedience project PublicAdCampaign has executed outside of its home, NYC. After the success of the original NYSAT project, PublicAdCampaign was looking for a way to bring this type of action to other cities. Toronto was a fitting location to test whether or not the intense amount of planning and preparation required for this type of action could be done from afar, and thus allow us a model for further projects. That said we owe an incredible debt to the ground support provided by Posterchild, Sean Martindale, Martin Ries, and all of those activists over at the DuSpa collective who risked arrest to install works collected from artists and citizens here and abroad.
The TOSAT project was broken into two distinct actions, both taking place on 08-22-10. The first was a street level hit of 41 Pattison Outdoor Core Media Pillars spearheaded by PublicAdCampaign and backed by local activists and citizens. This portion of the project relied on artworks submitted from a list of 60 international artists and activists who shipped their work to Toronto prior to the projects date. While much of the work arrived without incident, it should be noted that a few artists works were not included because of issues with customs and delivery. For this we apologize and will take the necessary steps to insure this doesn’t happen again when we take this project to the next city. That said, over 90 artworks were installed around the downtown area.
The second portion of the TOSAT project reclaimed approximately 20 billboards and was again broken into two components headed by both the DuSpa Collective and PublicAdCampaign. Each team was responsible for a total of 10 billboards, first whitewashing them and then adding a touch of color to insure the public was aware that they had been intentionally manipulated in an effort to question both thier legality and validity as a form of public communication. While this operation took place under the cover of darkness, the initial portion of the project was done in broad daylight insuring our continued interest in demanding our right to openly critique how public spaces are used and in particular their illegal use by the outdoor advertising industry.
While this project shared many similarities to the original NYSAT project in terms of organization and execution, there were some slight differences. The main difference was due to the fact that the TOSAT project took place in another city besides NY. This required that all artwork be submitted by mail. Because of this it was decided that a standardized size for artworks would be necessary and therefor Pattison’s Core Media Pillars became the prime target. Instead of creating work on the street, artworks would be installed behind the glass of these free standing advertising structures by a group of dedicated local activists. In order to breach the “locks” holding the 4 doors of these pillars in place, a few tools were needed.
Each Pillar was opened by removing the philips head screw which hides a small latch locking system. Poetically enough this latch could be turned with a regular household doorknob. once released the door would swing open allowing access to the advertisement. Much like NYSAT, installers were armed with a handful of paperwork including maps, checklists and of course a phony letter of permission.
Photos by Martin Reis