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Project Placement

Project Placement
Analix Forever Galerie, Geneva, Switzerland

Artists: Conrad Bakker, Amy Balkin, Jay Heikes, Marc Horowitz, Packard Jennings, Gianni Motti, Mads Lynnerup, Zoe Sheehan Saldana.

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A brief history:

Product placement has been around in movies for over fifty years, but became common practice for advertisers in the eighties as a result of significant gains by various placements. While not actually a paid placement, one of the most commonly cited catalysts for the growth of the product placement is the presence of Reese’s Pieces in the Spielberg film “ET” (1982). The products key role in the movie resulted in a temporary sales increase of 65% for the candy. This spike in the profit charts led to a new era of creative tinkering with product placement and its spread to related media.

Unusual examples of product placement:

IKEA has a arrangement with Hewlett Packard to stock the mock living-room settings in their stores with (real and fake) HP products – essentially situating computer products inside IKEA’s commercial mise en scène.

The Google Earth software, which allows users to virtually roam the planet, has led to roof-top advertising as seen from satellite. Somewhere between product placement and road-side billboards, these birds-eye images of the global landscape are slowly being interrupted by painted adverts and crop-circle like messages.

Virtual advertising, which is the superimposition of images onto real spaces in movies and television, is a particularly clandestine variation that came into public awareness as the result of a recent lawsuit over the virtual make-over of a billboard in the first Spiderman movie. Two companies vied for their rights to advertising space – one real, one virtual.

Examples of project placement:

In 1995, American artist Mel Chin initiated a collaboration between 102 artists to form the GALA Committee (GA for Georgia and LA Los Angeles). They persuaded the producers of Melrose Place (Spelling Entertainment Group) to allow them to provide the program with more than 150 props over the course of two seasons. These placed artworks included everything from domestic articles like bedding and furniture to framed artworks.

In 1993, French artist Matthieu Laurette took part in the TV game-show Tournez Manège (The Dating Game) and, while on the set, identified himself as an artist. This was the first of a series of Apparitions/Appearances which might be considered self-placements by the artist. His presence in at least five television programs can be understood as an infiltration-performance series and self-advertisement campaign.

(essay published in NUKE magazine No.4 “INVISIBLE”)

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Filed under: architecture, art, new media, research, social, space/place, urban

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