Hogre – Subvertising: The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising


Dog Section Press, ISBN-13: 978-0993543524, English, 130 pages, 2017, UK

Hogre’s subvertising work has recently populated London’s bus stops and billboards, with exquisite graphics and radical content. This is a full colour documentation, divided in sections by media and authoring (“billboards”, “sottovetro” or works under plexiglass at bus stops, and “joint enterprise”) with essays by Andrea Natella and Kay Cameron, and an interview by Vyvian Raoul. The practice of taking over advertising spaces is certainly not new, but the use of sophisticated illustration, design and texts, targeting a single city with a consistent radicality, is quite rare. This kind of active cultural resistance (and also “art crime” as the author says) has to be properly documented because of its short-lived nature. There’s a pure poetic quality in these interventions, which make them comparable to live literature in oral culture, as they live and impact through the short moments of personal encountering, and the shared online and offline narratives and pictures. Hogre states that advertising is the “most direct form of propaganda” in our “soft-dictature”. He remarks then on the importance of anonymity in these types of actions and how it helps to avoid the industry seeking to replicate, or even worse “acquire” at some point subvertising language and narrative. Finally, the book (also freely readable on Issuu) comes with a “Crimesight” high-visibility vest, which is simultaneously a tool and a vehement statement on being free to intrude on communication in public spaces, using the language of propaganda against itself.