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Stop the Tar Sands »« Introducing Quarotchety and her Olympic misadventures

Don’t agonize — subvertise


                                                                                                                  — photo by The Blackbird

I was delighted to come across the above photo at an exhibition at W2 Community Media Arts Centre at 112 West Hastings in Vancouver, BC. A photographer and poet in the city, known as The Blackbird, created this image as an example of subvertising. (Wikipedia defines this practice as “making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements to make a statement.”)

In his accompanying artist’s statement, The Blackbird said that he was wondering: “How do I combine the cute and mascot dolls with the harsh socioeconomic and political realities of playing host to the [Olympic] Games while 1) not diminishing the mascots’ accessibility as products of popular culture intended for mass consumption and 2) not making light of serious problems such as Vancouver’s homelessness crisis, the drafting of bylaws that restrict guaranteed Constitutional freedoms in the interests of a corporate elite, and the complete militarization of a peaceful democratic metropolis?”

I had just created a sillier, more whimsical version of subvertising with a similar Olympic theme (see my post below called “Introducing Quarotchety . . .”). It was a wonderful moment of synchronicity to discover this image taken on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It depicts beautifully the startling difference between the cutesie, moneyed version of life, as per Olympics advertising, and the reality of a dumpster diver in Canada’s showcase coastal city. What better way to convey that than use a primary Olympic icon? Well done.

February 13, 2010 at 10:35 pm
1 comment »
  • February 14, 2010 at 4:55 pmFrank

    Quarotchety is cool and has the right idea. Her brother is a pawn of the machine.

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