schnews friday 14th november 2003
last friday 500 people descended on the paris métro armed with pots of glue, spray cans and colourful determination. more invaded the brussel’s metro with their own buckets of ideas. in paris they split into groups of 40, radically repainting vulgar, buy-buy-buy advertising boards, transforming them with brushstrokes from private spaces for profits into public spaces of resistance. in paris and brussels subvertised advert boards screamed “no adverts!”, “advertising kills”, “the street is ours”, “advertising is hazardous to your mental health.” in the end, 130 stations were reclaimed and repainted in paris while 7 were visited in brussels. all 40 adbusters arrested were quickly released back into a subvertised paris.
these actions of mass redecoration were called by stop pub (‘stop ads’) and other collectives in france. the aim was to ‘reconquer public space’ in the face of mass privatisation, repressive neo-liberal states and a life drowned in empty, consumerist adverts. “everything is seen as a commodity”, said one ticketless adbuster, gilles, “we don’t want to be visually polluted.” and to the hundreds of students, workers, artists, mums, dads and skaters that took part in these actions, the links between bigger adverts, less social rights and more cops was all too obvious. so the adbusters went calmly and non-violently from station to station, peacefully going about their decoration of vulgar car and clothes ads while chatting with the public and handing out info on the reasons for their actions. métro passengers largely supported the actions, found them funny and in a few cases they even got their hands dirty doing some redecorating themselves.
this thursday yet another action is planned. in the light of all this success, 16 organisations jumped on the adbusting train this week in france with attac, greenpeace and others starting a campaign against advertising. why not bring this colourful train to a station near you?
for photos see: http://paris.indymedia.org/article.php3?id_article=9453