The Commons

Public art commission: custom campaign for commercial billboard spaces and mobile advertising platforms, 2020

Societies are created in public spaces. Green areas, public squares, parks and walkways create an organic network through the city. They form a topography of social and political participation and the backdrop for public interaction. In downtown Munich from 17 - 27.07.20 and on Instagram (@TheCommonsMUC), a poetic and provocative campaign encourages us to reflect on the nature of the public sphere.

Advertising also comprises an influential infrastructure in public space. Not only along streets and squares but also in the digital realm, billboards, posters, pop-up windows, and screens function to disseminate marketing campaigns to unwilling audiences. Mobile devices advance the intertwining of analogue and digital spaces, such that we increasingly exist simultaneously in the inextricable intersection of both.

As part of broader discourses around digitalisation and the attention economy, or social cohesion and exchange beyond filter bubbles, The Commons questions the commercial use of shared, public space. Do the public spaces we inhabit reflect our priorities, realities, and values -- and how could public space be transformed for social good?

Social interaction during the early months of 2020 shifted suddenly and dramatically toward the virtual. Meanwhile, however, whether in regard to the heightened awareness of the unequal distribution of public parks and recreational areas, the new patterns of movement and social interaction made necessary by social distancing, or the urgency of the movement of worldwide protest against racism, it's clear that we are gaining new perspectives on the role that public space plays in society.



Acknowledgements
Commissioned by the Cultural Department of Munich as part of the public art series Oeffentlichkeiten. link
Production: Annalena Roters.
Design in collaboration with ATAC. link
Photography by Maximilian Geuter. link