Saturday, 9 April 2011

Paris and I ~ 'Word On The Street'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Word On The Street ~

Word On The Street, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

I could hardly believe my eyes. One of, if not the biggest chain of opticians (i.e. spec-sellers) in France seems to have graffitied, yes, there's no other word for it, if it isn't 'tagged', the pavement just in front of the old Marine Ministry across from pricy Maxims-of-Paris.

Three equally unlikely theories instantly come to mind. One is that a graffiti artist is somehow mocking this brand, but all we can see is the company's faithfully repoduced logo and a picture of a dog wearing glasses, so I can't find too much irony there, unless it's supposed to be an ad targetted at pooches themselves (ah yes, maybe that's it).

My second idea is that it's an unofficial piece of guerrilla marketing which the company has surreptitously commissioned to raise brand awareness in a street-cred kind of way. Sunglasses manufacturer Raybans did it a while back I think, with their 'Never Hide' slogan, but it doesn't seem quite in the style of a boring high street group.

And finally, maybe brands can actually legally do this these days. And why not? If the walls and platforms of the city can be sold to and defaced by the highest bidder, then why not the sidewalks too? I'm interested to know.

Although that could prove tricky. I can't quite see how the authorities would be able to distinguish between 'official' advertising graffiti, and unofficial street art. Especially when the really urban wags got going. And you could easily say that genuine art had a far greater right to adorn the street and bombard our aching eyeballs than adverts for perfume, glasses and watches we are never likely to buy. In terms of adding value to the public domain and our lives overall I know which I'd chose. I'm not talking tags and signatures here, but proper reflective pieces with genuine artistic merit.

Every now and there there's a flash attack on the advertising billboards in the metro, covering them in derogatory slogans and humorous slander, and although I'm not that radical I can see their point. Another initiative was for students (it generally seemed to be students) to go around switching off all the neon shop signs that wasted electricity all night for no good reason.

But anyway, back to Place de la Concorde and this strange apparition. What is the answer to the riddle? Whence this initiative? Can anyone do it? Will four-eyed canines soon be as commonplace as their daily dejections... I think we deserve to be told. May I suggest a suitable wall just near where I come out of the metro at Saint Michel-Notre Dame? There's a big church there with loads of space available...

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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