Like Pearls by Morehshin Allahyari is an animated and interactive mash-up of the Farsi spam Allahyari receives in her mailbox.
In a supposed free-speech society, control over public spaces is paradoxically becoming tighter and tighter and advertising looks more and more like propaganda. Surrounded by ads communicating always the same messages, people are getting used to such a standard. Art then intervenes to alert not to take the status quo for granted. Street art has a long tradition in subverting the rules, reacting against dictated communication models. ‘Printable Cold Sore’ project by Geek Graffiti embodies this concept. The idea is quite immediate and, to a certain extent, not fully original. Basically, the artist suggests to take action against advertising tagging underground ads. For this purpose, he produced a freely available kit which consists of a printable cold sore sheet that people can download, print out on a transparency sticker sheet, sticking them on ads, documenting the tagging and remove them to avoid prosecution (tagging the underground is still an illegal practise). The project isn’t really about the artist taking credit himself, as it happens, for example, in ekosystem’s ‘Herpes’ similar billboard actions. Here, the artist’s statement is effective only if many people take part. However, the artwork adds nothing to the public space debate, and it’s probably far from offering ‘a theoretical solution to a real-world problem’, as the author claims.