Ad generator

by Rob Horning

30 January 2007

 

Via Lawyers, Guns and Money comes a link to website that pulls random Flickr photos and joins them with shuffled-up corporate slogans to generate instant ads. Here’s the creator’s explanation of this particular artwork’s mission:

By remixing corporate slogans, I intend to show how the language of advertising is both deeply meaningful, in that it represents real cultural values and desires, and yet utterly meaningless in that these ideas have no relationship to the products being sold. In using the Flickr images, the piece explores the relationship between language and image, and how meaning is constructed by the juxtaposition of the two.

That sort of sounds like standard-issue gallery-placard mumbo jumbo, but I agree that way ads communicate is both deep and profoundly empty. What we want requires our action, and usually that action is more sophsticated than a shopping decision. Ads try to obfuscate that, seize our desire and fuse it to some inert product while leaving us passive and ultimately unsatisfied. Ads reify the language of values and the images of happiness, satifaction, fear, carnality, etc. we use to consciously comprehend our desires, but they also supply such images and words, thereby encouraging us to use an impoverished Newspeakish emotional vocuabulary with which to understand our place in the world.

If I were the creator of this, however, I wouldn’t have called it an artwork—rather a fully scalable marketing technology leveraging the power of informational social networks to provide real-time consumer-based solutions.

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