For my white paper, I intend to focus on the occupation of public spaces by commercial advertisements. This issue is most prevalent in urban centers, such as Times Square in New York City, and along highways.
This paper is tangentially related to my Paper 2 topic, because the “OBEY” campaign was all about Shepard Fairey disparaging how we have become desensitized to visual media in our surroundings because we’re constantly barraged with ads. I’m going to shift focus away from “OBEY” and street art and research the policies associated with outdoor public advertising, analyze how effective they are, and eventually recommend how best to regulate it.
I found my society resource on Academia.edu. The paper is entitled “The AR|AD Takeover: Augmented Reality and the Reappropriation of Public Space.” It reports on a project the authors undertook to utilize AR technology, which is essentially the creation of a virtual reality in which commercial advertisements are replaced by street art and other forms of public visual media. The project itself is not the relevant element of the report to my research, but it is instead their discussion of why they have identified this issue as one that needs to be addressed. They disdain that, because our government aims to buttress capitalism, and advertising is the primary tool used to create a consumerist culture, “advertising becomes unavoidable for the average citizen, and implicitly or explicitly sanctioned by our various levels of government through its placement in public space.” Furthermore, they echo Fairey’s theory that “commercial advertising is so pervasive that it has become, in the U.S., the de facto public art form and has usurped all other media as the dominant mode of public expression. So dominant, in fact, that it is a form of ‘narcotizing dysfunction,’ which asserts that exposure to mass media creates a numb and passive society.” Finally, they argue that, by advertising in public arenas, citizens have no choice about whether or not to engage with the ad, while they would be able to in private arenas (like pop-up ads on a personal computer).
This source largely mirrors much of what I explored from an ethical perspective in Paper 2. It will be helpful in understanding the counterargument to the business resource I am planning to use, because it argues that it commercial ads in public spaces are detrimental rather than beneficial to society. I think it is a credible source because it was published on an academic website and used to support the development of what sounds like a very advanced and probably expensive project, so I would think the authors would use and produce thoughtful and realistic research.