No Blood For Oil: ChevWrong poster bombs
Just a quick shoutout to a couple well-placed guerilla art pieces spied around town here in San Francisco in the past week or so. In anticipation of the May 27 Chevron shareholders meeting in San Francisco last week, some enterprising artist/activists last week bombed the city with printouts of the downloadable subvertisements from truecostofchevron’s ChevWrong Inhumane Energy ads. The poster brigade, which plastered the city with hundreds of the alternate ads, decided to take matters into their own hands after CBS Outdoor refused to sell billboard space to truecostofchevron, claiming that it didn’t accept “negative” advertising. The Inhumane Energy series cleverly skewers Chevron’s current greenwashing ad campaign that speciously utilizes earth-friendly taglines such as “I will leave the car at home more,” “I will finally get a programmable thermostat,” and “I will replace 3 light bulbs with CFLs.” As if.
Truecostofchevron’s slick little numbers nimbly mimic Chevron’s fakey feel-good sentiments with lines including, “I will not breathe when outside,” “I will try not to get cancer,” and “I will not complain about my asthma,” coupled with facts and statistics about Chevron’s environmentally unsound activities in Nigeria, the U.S., Burma, Ecuador, Iraq and other sites worldwide. As with any good detournement, the series simultaneously critiques, neutralizes and repurposes its source material, in this case simulating Chevron’s high-powered happy-smiley corporate propaganda in order to expose and deride the oil giant’s own hypocrisy.
I’ve also been appreciating the rawer but no less effective commentary on the link between big oil and the destruction of the planet that’s cropped up on the eastbound approach to the Bay Bridge. Stenciled onto a couple pillars on the Bridge’s lower deck is a simple image of a tank’s silhouette spouting a single a drop of blood. Direct, visual and to the point, the graphic needs no embellishment to gets its message across, even to the distracted driver speeding along the freeway. And though it may be ephemeral, its placement in the line of sight of thousands of drivers a day brings its message to where it’s most needed and where it can’t be ignored. Which is the most that anyone can hope for in combating the baldfaced corporate misinformation that bombards us every day.