I’ve been living in a billboard for about three weeks now. I think this kind of billboard s a typical Belgian thing, it’s mounted on a trailer, in the form of a triangle. You see these kind of boards all over Belgium, usually parked somewhere next to a busy secondary road or near a roundabout. Most of these are illegal or only semi-legal. It’s with this illegality that the artist who made these boards is playing.
The three billboards are called the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and form an art installation/performance by the same name. Karl Philips, the artist behind this project, plays with the boundaries of legality, with the borders of society and how you can live in these margins. His other works include Surplus Cityguide, a map of places where you can dumpster dive, get a shower or internet for free, an art installation with deconstructed Renault Trafic vans in Bois de Boulogne, Paris and Concierge, where a homeless woman lived behind a ClearChannel billboard.
The Good/Bad/Ugly fits in this line, with three people living in three caravans/billboards that are put in unused public spaces. The money form the advertising on the billboards is the budget the inhabitants live from. Because it is art and it is advertising, it is usually possible convince police to allow the caravans to stand somewhere. Something gypsies or other travelers wouldn’t be allowed to do.
“Where is the art in this?” it’s a question some people have asked me. I’m not going to get into a discussion of what is and what is not art, but the installation of the caravans and the people living in them clearly provokes peoples, let’s them think, makes the feel something. To me that is art or is at least what art should be and do. “But isn’t it just advertising?” is another question. Yes it is, and that’s the beauty of it. It is art and advertising and a social statement at the same time. And because of this it provokes people in different ways.
“But what is it like living in a caravan?” is another question I have gotten. To me a less interesting one then the two previous ones. How is it like living in an apartment? Or in a country house? It’s what you make of it. I’ve been looking for ways to live as free as possible, with as little distractions as possible. Most people call comfort what I call distractions. Living a simple life is what I call luxury and living a nomadic life is the way I do that.
To see some pictures and videos about the project and to know where we are right now, check out the Good/Bad/Ugly Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/gbdgoodbadugly