Brandalists Take Over Paris For COP 21


A massive diversion of advertising in Paris denounces the takeover of the climate talks by multi-national corporations.

The United Nations 21st ‘Conference of Parties’ meeting taking place this December is supposed to agree a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Yet in 20 years of UN climate change talks, global emissions have risen by 63%.   Increasingly, these talks are dominated by corporate interests.  This year’s talks in Paris are being held at an airport and sponsored by an airline.  Other major polluters include energy companies, car manufacturers and banks.  Brandalism aims to creatively expose this corporate greenwashing.

From the press release:

A massive diversion of advertising in Paris denounces the takeover of the climate talks by multi-national corporations.

More than 600 works of art denouncing the takeover of the climate negotiations by multi-national corporations during the COP 21 were installed yesterday leading up to the United Nations Summit which begins Monday.

Despite the state of emergency prohibiting any gathering following the November 13 attacks in Paris, the Brandalism Project (a neologism from the combination of the words ‘brand’ and ‘vandalism’), with the help of Parisian activists, placed hundreds of unauthorized pieces of art throughout the city. These posters emphasized the links between advertising, consumerism, the dependence on fossil fuels and climate change.

These works of art were placed in advertising spaces belonging to JCDecaux – one of the largest outdoor advertising businesses and an official sponsor of the COP 21 negotiations.

Other prominent sponsors of the climate negotiations such as Air France, Engie (formerly GDF-Suez) and Dow Chemical were parodied in the posters, as well as heads of state such as Francois Hollande, David Cameron, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe.

The works of art were created by 80 renowned artists originating from nineteen countries across the world. Included in particular were the Parisians Alex One, Arnaud Liard, Millo and ZAD, Eube, Automedia, and, as well as other famous international artists such as Neta Harari, Jimmy Cauty, Paul Insect (collaborator of Banksy), Escif ou Kennard Phillips - many of them were shown at Dismaland, the exposition by Banksy in England this summer.

Joe Elan of Brandalism explains, “In sponsoring the climate talks, some important polluters such as Air France and Engie can promote themselves as if they were part of the solution, while they are actually part of the problem.”

One of the artists that participated in the project said, “We retook possession of advertising space because we wanted to denounce the role that publicity plays in promoting unsustainable consumerism. The advertising industry feeds our desires for products based on the use of fossil fuels and that have a direct impact on climate change. As with the climate talks and the parallel events sponsored by big business, outdoor advertising makes sure that the wealthiest have their voices heard above all of the others.” The works of art were installed during ‘Black Friday,’ the annual day of consumerist frenzy.

Other posters called people to take the streets as part of ‘Climate Games,’ the biggest worldwide game of civil disobedience, and to denounce the conference, “Solutions 21,” a big business exposition that is held at the Grand Palace during the climate talks.

Bill Posters of Brandalism indicated, “Following the tragic events of November 13 in Paris, the government chose to ban civil society marches, but the big business events were maintained.” The multinationals responsible for climate change can continue with ‘Greenwashing’ around their model of economic destruction, but the communities directly impacted by their activities are reduced to silence. It is now more important than ever to denounce their messages and to put a light on the issues of power behind the negotiations. We call to take the streets during the COP 21 and to oppose the fossil fuel industry. We can’t leave the climate talks solely in the hands of politicians and big business lobbyists, who are primarily responsible for the current mess.

Translated by Margaret Flowers.

Originally posted on Popular Resistance.

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