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Ad-free space

April 27, 2010

Just the other day I was riding my bike around the back streets of Fitzroy with my camera, looking at street art. For someone who can appreciate a bit of stencil-work, Melbourne is a goldmine. (As you may or may not know, it is the self-proclaimed (?) Stencil Capital of the World and hence has got some top-notch goings-on in that department).

If it wasn’t so darn long since the brilliant folks behind Are you Generic? last updated their blog, I would have considered posting my findings on their Community section, adding to their collection of international street art. I don’t know why they’ve faded away, but it’s a shame because I think an organization like theirs (sadly) is just as needed now as when they last posted, in Sept 2008.

Are you generic? is/was a group of artists seeking to protest, to question, and to disprove. Their nemeses, they say, are unethical corporations, hypocrisy, excessive advertising and their heroes are art, discussion, independent thought, and creation. (Don’t you love it?) Listen to their Mission statement:

We want basic things: natural, unprocessed foods; ad-free space; trustworthy news sources; a healthy body image; promotion of the independents; and the spread of knowledge.

Yeah!! What is there not to want about that?

Piracy, subversion and guerilla activism might not be your cup of tea, but under ‘What can you do?’ they suggest: “Start a conversation. Refuse to let corporations dictate what is beautiful, sexy, or cool. Stand for something. Support an idea. Think independently.”

And imagine a future where you walk along walls filled with art, not ads.

(This perfectly executed, beautiful and moving work by an unknown artist, I found on a wall just off Brunswick street; I imagine it must depict Black Saturday, Feb 7 2009, when the worst bushfires in Australia’s history claimed 179 lives, injured 5000 people and destroyed over 2000 homes.)

(Oh, and see here for a more quirky reminder of the 47 degrees that day, and how the heat manifested itself in my friend Sandra’s studio in the city -)

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