99% Invisible: 152- Guerrilla Public Service
February 11, 2015 2:11 PM - Subscribe

At some point in your life you've probably encountered a problem in the built world where the fix was obvious to you. Maybe a door that opened the wrong way, or poorly painted marker on the road.
posted by mathowie (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I loved this episode because of course I remembered everything about this story when it was on MeFi back in 2002, just a couple years after I left living in LA, right near where the sign went up.

I always loved the attention to detail that Richard Ankrom put into it, mostly on the art side of things, but it never dawned on me how dangerous it was to all the drivers passing underneath. I guess that's why CalTrans usually closes a lane below where they work, and why he couldn't do such a thing. I love that it stayed up for nearly a decade after.

Bonus: a few years ago I got an email from Richard Ankrom asking if he could use screenshots of the original MeFi thread in an art show. I said sure, but I'm not sure if he ever had the show, but I always wanted to see how he presented the public's opinion (MeFi's in this case) of his work.
posted by mathowie at 2:15 PM on February 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

I liked the story but felt the concept could have had more examples and tales. I would bet there are many examples of guerrilla signs, even if they're not as dramatic as dangling over a highway. I hope they revisit the topic down the road.
posted by jazon at 6:51 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had a nice chuckle in my car this morning over the, "Be cool, Gary! Why can't you just be cool?!"
posted by gladly at 6:02 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved this one. I like when people solve problems.
posted by maxsparber at 9:59 AM on February 12, 2015

So cool! I've had this thought with freeway signs a lot. Especially going from the SF Bay Bridge to the East Bay via the MacArthur maze.

I loved all the detail that went into it, down to selecting the Pantone colors.

I also would have liked more examples. Surely other people are doing this, although probably not with this level of precision and danger.

The NYC subway thing made me laugh that some New Yorkers don't want to give up their secrets.
posted by radioamy at 12:16 PM on February 12, 2015

ToParkOrNotToPark.com is another good example. It's not so much guerilla signage, but more about amateur designers trying to come up with a system and a better solution to the problems of San Francisco's incredibly complex parking signs.

The Billboard Liberation Front is famous for doing guerilla art on billboards all around the SF Bay Area, for the past 20 years or so. They're not aiming to be more helpful but instead it's usually making a statement and turning boring advertisements into subversive artworks that usually feature statements in them about empowering the disempowered.
posted by mathowie at 8:26 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I made a MeFi post about this episode.
posted by zamboni at 11:13 AM on February 17, 2015

Produced by my friend and colleague David Weinberg, who is currently setting the public radio world ablaze. He is unstoppable.
posted by mykescipark at 11:24 AM on February 17, 2015

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