ARTUNG! TURNS 200 MONTREAL ADS INTO WORKS OF ART
Montreal, May 31st, 2011 – 100 ad pillars and billboards across Montreal, owned by Pattison, CBS Outdoor and Astral Media were replaced today with community artwork. Artwork was created by 200 Canadian and International artists and installed by fifty public space activists operating under the name Artung!.
“Today, we transformed Montreal's outdoor ads into public works of art to send a message to advertising giants: to stop threatening residents of the Plateau with an unnecessary legal battle and immediately remove their visual pollution from the whole of Montreal’s cityscape,” said Vanessa Moraless, an Artung! campaigner.
Artung!'s action comes in response to threats made by Montreal's advertising giants to take the democratically elected Plateau Mont-Royal council to court for a November 2010 decision to ban 45 billboards in the borough. Jeannot Lefebvre, the industry spokesperson, argues the ban goes against the advertising companies’ right to freedom of expression and they'll legally pursue it until it is reversed.
According to Projet Montreal, each billboard only generates $1,000 in taxes for the city, an insignificant amount of revenue compared to profits made by these multi-national outdoor advertisers. Artung! supports the borough's decision to take action against billboards and the 78% of residents of the Plateau who favoured the ban.
“Everyday we are forced to face advertising eyesores and the reminder that our streets have become more of a corporate canvass than a community space. A billboard-free environment will set a more human rhythm for Montreal’s urban landscape,” said Pascale Brunet, an Artung! campaigner.
Artung! encourages all Montreal boroughs to take the same steps to ban billboards and make Montreal the first Canadian city to be billboard-free. Maine, Vermont and Sao Paolo are just a few other cities and states have already banned billboards globally.