Thursday, January 19, 2006

Free Speech on the Freeway

Thanks to Triscula's post at Three Wheels we can kill some time learning about, perhaps enjoying, the escapades of a political artist/commentator known to some as the Freeway Blogger.

A visit to the Freeway Blogger's web site shows a photo gallery of his on-site work and offers background on what he thinks he's up to. In the San Francisco Guardian in "Sign of the Times" Jan Sturman writes:

"In the past four years, [the Freeway Blogger] says, he's planted more than 2,500 of these brain-mines along California's freeways. He estimates that today's propaganda campaign could reach up to a quarter of a million people. Not bad for a few dollars in supplies and a couple hours of work. It all started with a soggy mattress dumped on the side of a highway in Orange County. The Supreme Court had just selected George W. Bush as president after the contested 2000 election. Incensed, Freeway Blogger pushed the mattress up against a tree and spray-painted '1776-2000: RIP' across the yellow stains.

"'What shocked me is that even as thousands of cars drove past it each day, the sign stayed up for a week,' he says. 'Suddenly I found my voice.'

"Since the 2000 election, 9/11, and the U.S. military's invasion of two countries, Freeway Blogger has refined the crude mattress approach to a choreographed dance of message transmission using recycled cardboard, paint, and reconnaissance.

"'Freeway blogging requires a sense of rhetoric, art, science, demographics, and sneakiness,' he tells me."

Yes, I suppose it does. If this sort of thing catches on, well...

An underground artist who used the streets of the Fan District in the early 1980's as his canvas/kiosk, Art Riot, would certainly get a kick out of this story, if he's still around.

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