Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Corporate appropriation of Street Culture


One thing I really despise is the all too common practice of big corporations trying to latch onto and copy street culture in order to make themselves look hip and cool so they can sell stuff to gullible fools. It always turns my stomach. I don't like fashion. I like people to have style and look good and feel good about themselves but the best style is the one you develop for yourself. People who spend shitloads of money on poor imitations of military jackets for instance when they could go and buy the real thing for a fraction of the price. Another good example is the rise of the shop bought fixie, wasn't the whole point to convert it yourself? Why are there so many losers out there?

On more than one occasion I've ridden past the Enmore stencil wall and seen it being used as a backdrop for advertising shoots. Girls dressed up as goths or boys dressed as hipsters posing with skateboards that they can't actually ride. That's bad enough. But to actually paint over the whole wall just to advertise fizzy drink...I really find it hard to believe that even in the shallow, morally bankrupt world of corporate marketing they can be this hypocritical. Destroying real street culture so that you can create an empty, bastardised version of it to sell crap. What do you think would happen if we painted on one of their walls?

This company sells a drink that costs them about 1-2 cents a bottle to produce. The company pays $200 for a water extraction licence and sells it in separate plastic bottles for more than $10 million a year. Each plastic bottle takes a fifth of a litre of crude oil to make. This disgustingly popular drink is one of the top ten grocery items bought in Australia. What a bunch of suckers. Don't buy it, if you see someone else buying it tell them not to.

This is just one of the recent artworks that was painted over.


Thankfully the locals have moved quickly to express their opinion in the way they know best. The only good thing about oppression is that it does lead to good Art.

8 comments:

ChrisS said...

Kathmandu have One Less Car t-shirts. Only took a cultural lag of a decade or so ...

Missing Link said...

What a joke it is when advertising hijacks a culture to try and speak to those who appreciate, impermanence and evolution is part of street art but this is just nauseating. It would be great if you could add these pics to some of the street art groups on Flickr (Stencils & Graffiti In Australia and Sydney Graffiti )so folks know there is a nice red wall to re-appropriate. Seeing as Coke are so pro street art perhaps some artists would like to collaborate with the multi-national on their billboards and outdoor signage?

Thanks for sharing the story and loved your story on the ST2K opening too, it was nice to meet you too :)

David J said...

How un-cool.

naomi said...

So the boy peeing on the wall is a later addition? I cycled passed the other night (I often detour down here to see what's new) and saw it for the first time so without looking closely I thought it was all part of the artwork and took it as an anti-corporation comment. I never even considered a marketing company for Coke could have instigated it - would love to find out!

So I guess you won't be checking out the fakengers at St Peter's this Saturday night? I can't wait to see those shiny new Deus celeste fixies and retro cycling caps:)

Sydney Body Art Ride said...

Hi Naomi,
Saturday night is totally different. That's fashion made as one-offs by the people who will be wearing it. It's going to be great!

Stuart said...

I think you're being a bit harsh on people who choose to purchase a fixie instead of building their own. What if they don't have the skills, time or parts to do so? I reckon its great that they're out there riding, shouldn't matter whether it's bought or built as that's just reverse snobbery and excludes people from the fixie cycling clique as not as cool as those who can build their own.

naomi said...

tongue in cheek:) It was great to see so many cyclists out - didn't stay long though - good gig next door!

Anonymous said...

Please paint over that damn red wall as quickly as possible !