11 Sep

The Unlogo prototype replaces store signs with the heads of their corporate CEOs.

Eyebeam recently posted about Unlogo, a project by Jeff Crouse that asks us to consider the pervasiveness of product placement, even in the media we produce ourselves. By taking a photo inside a Starbucks and sharing it via Facebook, are we creating a Starbucks ad? Yes, it would seem we are.

Unlogo is an Iphone app that recognizes corporate logos in cell phone photos and replaces them with images of our choosing. Brand messages infiltrate our photographic memories, and this project gives us a way to opt out. It implies that we have agency in media culture, and encourages us to recognize it by not only considering how we use new forms of media, but the content as well.

Unlogo is political art. I think a lot of political art can too easily value and promote the most surface of readings (like “corporations are bad, individuality is good”). But this project also allows users to decide what counts as a logo, which opens a range of other possibilities. I guess someone could use it to replace smiley faces and peace signs. What other icons could Unlogo help us avoid recording?

3 Responses to “Unlogo”

  1. hahello September 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    I agree with you that there is a tendency in what we might call “political art” that tends to be too didactic and works in binaristic terms like you point out (good vs. bad). This project does seem to blur the lines, making the questions around what logos are, how we define them, and how we might use them for our own purpose – making these questions a bit more complex. So I want us to think about our own complicit role, but also about how we can challenge the very form or structure of consumerism and image-based media.

  2. shinpogo September 13, 2010 at 3:46 am #

    In a picture but hate that McDonald’s Golden Arches are in the background? Want to put a twist on it? We have an app for that. Point is there is no escaping product placement or promotion. In your post you just promoted Apple and their iPhone. Consumerism is just too embedded in our daily lives to completely eradicate word of mouth advertising.

  3. karaphelps September 13, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    Sure. I don’t think this project is saying word of mouth advertising is a bad thing, or that consumerism is a bad thing. More like a morally neutral thing that can be used in ways that aren’t instantly obvious.

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