Ever since I read the New York Times article on Anarchists in the Toy Aisles? Stores Offer Unwitting Stage, my mind has been percolating with subversive ideas. Nothing concrete yet. Give me a little more time.
‘SHOPDROP: To covertly place merchandise on display in a store. A form of “culture jamming” s. reverse shoplift, droplift.
SHOPDROPPING is an ongoing project in which I alter the packaging of canned goods and then shopdrop the items back onto grocery store shelves. I replace the packaging with labels created using my photographs. The shopdropped works act as a series of art objects that people can purchase from the grocery store. Because the barcodes and price tags are left intact purchasing the cans before they are discovered and removed is possible. In one instance the shopdropped cans were even restocked to a new aisle based on the barcode information.
SHOPDROPPING strives to take back a share of the visual space we encounter on daily basis. Similar to the way street art stakes a claim to public space for self expression, my shopdropping project subverts commercial space for artistic use in an attempt to disrupt the mundane commercial process with a purely artistic moment. The photographs act as a visual journal of my travels over the past few years. Displayed in nonlinear combinations the images remix the traditional narrative of the passing of time. The vibrant individuality of each image is a stark contrast to the repetitive, functional, package design that is replaced. Shopdropping gives voice to the pervasive disillusionment from our increasingly commercial society. A voice that is, paradoxically, made possible only by commercial technological advancements.’
I got a real kick out of this video by Californian artist Packard Gennings, another shopdropper enthusiast:
Ryan, Packard, and all the folks at the Anti-Advertising Agency, I think you are doing some awesome work. Is it legal? Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in the New York Times article, ‘he was not sure if shopdropping was illegal but that some forms of it could raise safety concerns because the items left on store shelves might not abide by labeling requirements and federal safety standards.’
Legal or not, count me as your definite fan, and soon to be active member of your collective. I am thinking T-Shirts, stickers on shopping carts and women’s clothes labels, pamphlets, with funny messages about consumption, carbon emissions, global warming, daily green actions, etc.
Any of you interested in joining, please drop me a note.