ERRATA: 12/28/05. Turns out the billboard is art, but it was commissioned. Commissioned art is fine and in this case a wonderful temporary addition to the city, but it was not a prank as I assumed. Full details of what you are actually looking at is in my next entry.
Some civilly disobedient genius has blown up an image of a security camera, printed it on to a giant vinyl sheet and pasted it on top of a Clear (as in mud) Channel owned side-of-a-building billboard at 5th and Howard in San Francisco. I wrote about this last week but couldn’t determine for sures if it was a prank.
But, it’s the real dealio. Yo! In the style of Banksy (who spray paints realistic 3D-seeming stencils that reinforce the true nature of our reality) and Rigo (who was commissioned to paint large art pieces in SOMA that reinforce the true nature of our reality), this mad mind has blown up a photo of a real security camera that is at street level at the foot of this billboard. The purpetrators are making it perfectly clear to everyone departing the city via 5th street to head home to the subburbs that SF is a city already under much surveillance, and the tracking of your activities will only be increasing.
I find it only fitting that Clear (as in mud) Channel is the victim of this endeavor as they are one the most rapacious corporations of the decade doing all they can to monopolize content distrubution and subverting choice preferences.
But this is one of those pranks where the joke is on us. The prankster is using visual hyperbole to remind us the society and culture we have come to accept: surveillance cameras on all sides; facial recognition reviews; and even nation-wide car journey monitoring. If you can’t see a giant surveillance camera out your window, I don’t think you’re looking hard enough.