Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Freewayblogging has grown, surely but slowly, into a nationwide movement, with close to a thousand members now joined in to regional groups:
(look under "We're bad. We're nationwide.")
Galleries from around the country can be found here:
Cardboard, paint, and something to say... that's all it takes.
Send pictures here and I'll post them.
Monday, November 28, 2005
"There is one solution - the resistance!"
Isaak Cathedral, St. Petersburg
These pictures came in from some Russian Freewaybloggers who apparently have some issues with Vladimir Putin. I don't know what the rules are over there, but I imagine they're running risks that would put ours to shame.
Big Signs tend to come down quickly, although they do make for neat photographs. By duct-taping wire coathangars to the top, you can hang huge canvases in seconds flat. Long bungee cords strap them in place. Always post on the INSIDE of the fencing, NOT directly over traffic.
Small Signs stay up much longer and are far easier to post discreetly. The vast majority of the signs I put up are small ones: simple reminders dotting the peripheries of the freeways. Unlike large signs, small signs tend to stay up for days or weeks, depending on how you cleverly place them, rather than hours. In terms of message spreading, small signs are far more effective than large ones.
These signs were placed on divided highways, facing traffic in the opposite direction and invisible to those who could take them down easily. Even though they're physically very close, in order to actually reach them, drivers have to go miles out of their way to get to them. Once you get into the freewayblogging mindset, driving becomes a wholly new and different experience, and even roads you've been down a thousand times come alive with possibilities.
Tricky Signs, like this one over the 405, are probably the most effective.
Using hook-and-pole technology, I was able to hang this sign in a sealed-off overpass, where it swung merrily for six weeks over twelve lanes of traffic. I can't describe exactly what it's like to see a high-profile sign still up after days or weeks, but it's a pretty incredible feeling. Knowing that so many people had to absorb and reflect on what you had to say... it gives you a palpable rush.
"Power", I believe it's called, or maybe just "having a voice." Either way, it's something precious few of us get to experience these days.
For more placement strategies, go here: http://www.freewayblogger.com/strategies.htm
For more information and examples go here: http://www.freewayblogger.com
Although I could rhapsodize forever about why more people need to do this, the chief advantages are these:
1)The numbers are staggering. Depending on where and how you place it, a sign that cost you a nickel to make can be seen by over 250,000 people per day.
2) Free Political Speech is not only your right, it's your patriotic duty. When the founding fathers gave us the right to free speech, they didn't do it just because it seemed like a neat idea at the time, they did it for a reason and at least part of that reason was to allow any of us to sound the f-ing alarm if we thought our country was going to hell. It is.
3) It's a Hell of a Lot of Fun. Believe it. Pursued to its maximum effect, freewayblogging combines the arts and sciences of rhetoric, graphic design, engineering, psychology and guerrilla warfare. And it's perfectly legal. Sort of. We'll talk about that more later.
Six Water Heater Boxes and a Small Can of Paint...
The above took me about three hours of painting with foam brushes and an overhead projector. The signs were placed on freeways in between San Diego and San Francisco over Thanksgiving.