Bubble Project

3 Dec
I have to preface this by admitting it’s hardly news. Ji Lee’s fantastic Bubble Project was in full force a couple of years back, and if you missed it at the time, everything that happened is documented here on his website.

If this is the first you’ve seen of it, the idea was to place blank speech bubbles on outdoor advertising around New York in the hopes that people would be compelled to fill in the empty space. Like anything ‘crowdsourced’, there was a lot of shit. But a few very good ones survive in my memory.

When I first stumbled upon this work, I was gutted. I had spent the last few months on a similar project here in Auckland. I had treated my speech bubbles as more of a writing exercise than a public forum; they were pre-filled with all manner of overdisclosures.

Just as I began to get feedback from the public, I switched out the messaging to promote an upcoming show my band was about to play. Hijacking other people’s advertising space proved a very effective (not to mention cost-effective) solution – even if it was totally illegal. My bubbling continued right up until Ji Lee’s project was made public on the Droga 5 website. That’s where I discovered it.

The great thing about street art is that the community is very forgiving. Even if the writing isn’t great, you’ll gain a certain amount of respect just for getting it in the public arena. Because it’s essentially free, there’s plenty of opportunity to play. Or to execute over and over again until you do get a few right. It’s definitely a medium I’d like to work in more often. But I think my brief foray into bubbling proves that unless you have an idea that nobody else anywhere in the world is doing (whether you know about it or not), you’re wasting your time.

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