“I want to see quietness. I want to see confessions of love, words of longing, golden memories, warmth in thoughts and sighs of beauty. I want to see the world in another way.” Here’s a nice story tracing how JCDecaux (the out-of-home advertising giants) came to commission eleven international designers, amongst others byggstudio, HORT and Kokoro & Moi, to each produce a design for this series of hot-off-the-press posters based on the statements (like the ones above) from ordinary folk in Helsinki about what they wanted to see in their city.
The story starts with Elissa Erikson’s final MA project, I want to see something else. which explored what people living in Helsinki wished to see replace commercial ads in the city. She started a Facebook movement opening up a dialogue criticising the nature of commercial advertising and encouraged people to post ideas for what they would choose if they had the power to decide what they were exposed to.
With money donated to the project, EE then hired outdoor ad space off JCDecaux on 21 bus shelters across the city and appropriated them. She stripped out the commercial advertising detritus and replaced them with the rather beautifully simple posters she’d designed. The text on them read "I want to see something else – 1458 people wanted to free this space from commercial purposes for a week”.
JCDecaux, inspired by the project and the notable response, decided to listen to the wishes of the people, and so that’s how Muutakin was born. Each of the designers have playfully interpreted statements like those above, voiced by people who contributed to Erikkson’s project. Although it’s a few steps away from being considered fully democratic advertising, it’s a nice response to the commercial landscape which could benefit from being injected with more creative energy. There’s also something rather poetic about the fact that JCDecaux started in 1964 with a single bus shelter contract. It seems JCDecaux are right in thinking, when done well “outdoor advertising has the power to surprise and to provoke discussion”.