Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Poster Boy's gargoyle posters

The arrest of "New York's Banksy", Poster Boy, by the NYPD for his razor-assisted anti-consumerist subway poster art can be seen as a subtle play on the theme of authority chasing down those who violate copyright for artistic purpose. What interests me about Poster Boy's work is the fact that he uses a razor, that analog tool for splicing audio tape, on digitally produced images. By doing so, Poster Boy's art is not just a variation on the Burroughs cut-up theme, but actually a form of mashup. The Guardian's Ed Pilkington picks up on this as well:

Poster Boy has taken the reliance on razor blades inherent in scratchiti and put it to much more sophisticated and intriguing use. He realised that the film and product adverts at subway stations are now made with self-adhesive backing, rendering them giant stickers, which can be cut up into bits and remodelled in an echo of a digital mash-up.
There is one work from Poster Boy in particular that I think illustrates that Poster Boy's work is more closely akin to mashup than cut-up.

The pixelated version of the poster above can be construed as the fractured digital image, the point at which the flow of binary data breaks up and allows another flow of data to enter in, thereby "gargoyling" the text. In this piece of work, Poster Boy has merely pixelated the image without inserting an alien data stream, thereby foregrounding the essential digital manipulation behind his analog razor. When the two alien data streams are brought together with artistic intention, the mashup rather than the "corrupted file" occurs with the result that social comment is made in a fresh, razor-edged way.

mashed sauces

For more Poster Boy click here.

The New York Times also finds the mashup in Poster Boy's art.

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