Earlier today while walking to the shops I’d been thinking about the whole area of appropriation. I became aware of signs telling me not do do something, or that something was forbidden, prohibited, or just not allowed. As an exercise in appropriation and as a thought about the idea of a journey I took photographs of all the prohibition signs in my immediate neighbourhood.
I live inside the city, in a fairly urban area. Pressures of space mean that people do get anxious about others encroaching on their particular areas. Sometimes this is a personal instruction, sometimes a local authority prohibition. It’s not a particularly repressive area at all but I have tried to give the impression that it is. I have only used signs that are specifically instructions not to do something, so I have discarded warning and informational signs, and also anything polite – nothing that says ‘please’. I have consciously set out to tell a lie about the area I live in, to create a false impression.
In art terms this seems to me to be legitimate exercise in appropriation; individually these signs have a specific purpose but I have collectively used them completely out of any original context to create an impression. Outside of art though, is it legitimate to use this to tell a lie, to create a false impression? In current parlance this is best described as ‘fake news’.