THIS  IS  ONLY  A  BILLBOARD  —   NEW  YORK  (2009)
Dawn Of Man commandeered this empty billboard on Houston St in the East Village to broadcast an important message to fellow New Yorkers.
We are surrounded by thousands of ads every day. To many, the process of advertising is a mysterious one. Ads are big, they are impressive, they are shiny, expensive looking, they command attention.
They come seemingly out of nowhere, the minute mechanics of the whole start-to-finish ad process beyond most people's understanding. For these reasons, by default, many people take the messages conveyed in ads at face value - the message conveyed on the billboard must be the truth.
In reality, every ad across all mediums (tv, billboard, internet ad etc), can be traced back to the effort of a single individual, a man or woman no smarter, no better, or more qualified to command attention than anyone else. Imperfect as the rest of us - opinionated, imprecise, self-serving - and now dictating and deciding what kind of message will occupy a particular public space.
Ultimately, the source of that ad (big and impressive as it seems) does not extend beyond the impetus and whim of that initial individual. The ad was not placed by some mysterious omnipresent force, was not commissioned by a grand all-knowing shot-caller, and certainly was not created by anyone remotely concerned with any kind of objective "truth".
By re-appropriating the billboard, by demonstrating a kind of unsanctioned control over it, our aim is to break down and demystify this power of ads, to crack the illusion that the billboard is anything more than a man-made object, its message contained within also man-made, and is just as flawed as the individual who put it there.
Essentially, our objective was to catch the billboard with its pants down, capture and frame that image in an empowering way, and then broadcast that image to an audience who didn't even realize billboards had pants in the first place.