Yesterday was the opening night where we got to try out our activities with family and friends. I was very nervous about whether people would engage with the Subvertising – RE:Advertise project but was absolutely delighted when we got over 20 responses in one night! Feedback from people was also really interesting and included the following:
* I was surprised that I could express what I wanted despite the restriction.
* Having to stick to those words was a challenge but led to an interesting result – great idea!
* They are mostly abstract nouns which makes it difficult to construct a proper sentence – but then, that’s the way adverts are – so maybe it doesn’t matter.
* Generally, I enjoyed the event, particularly your Subvertising. I felt that your idea was interesting and had a point to it (i.e. we are being bombarded with these images and many people don’t have the necessary defences to resist the messages). I liked the format you used, allowing people to participate (i.e. the point of the exercise and event) and re-construct their own messages. It’s an idea that lends itself to many different scenarios. It made me think and on a wider level, made me focus on this insidious images that nobody can escape. Finally, the event helped me to think about things I could do in my own work (e.g. perhaps even adapting your idea and producing lots of money words that students could re-construct to talk about their struggles with student finance).
* I wonder if people will find it hard to put together a negative sentence.
* Perhaps you could look at those fridge magnet things and put the same ratio linking words in (a, on,t0, I etc)?
I was interested in the way people grappled with the grammar issue and the way participants debated themselves whether this was important or not given the language form adverts is often highly ungrammatical! I am also curious about whether it is possible to create a negative statement – after all there are some negative words in there including: evil and psychopaths – time will tell. I’m also thrilled that someone thought they might be able to use this technique in an educational setting and not at all concerned about Intellectual Property – I see that as success rather than theft.
My chief concern at the moment is whether it is participatory enough. Does it engage people for long enough? Is is ok that we are collecting these responses with the intention of doing something with them? Who should have the ownership? Should we recruit a group of people to help us decide where to go next and to co-create an outcome?
Overall – a good start – let’s see where it leads.
And my favourite response of the night? Has to be this one: