Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Heavy Baggage

Artist and gallery owner Paul Pauper is creating a series of provocative luggage sure to attract attention at airports. His suitcases and handbags feature brightly colored paintings and stencils of explosive devices, with the express aim of making fellow travelers paranoid and getting a reaction from security screeners. The subversive suitcases are available through his gallery, the Form/Space Atelier, and he is asking any buyers to document the process of taking them on board on airplane for use in a future installation.

Evan Roth of Graffiti Research Lab is exploring a similar idea, and taking it one step further. He has been cutting messages and symbols into metal plates and placing them in his carry-on luggage when he goes through airport security. Roth's project, which he calls "TSA Communication" has already made it through three airport runs. So far, he's used plates with portraits of Osama Bin Laden, the message "NOTHING TO SEE HERE," and a design he calls "The Exact Opposite Of A Box Cutter," which is a plate with a box cutter shape cut out of it.

It takes a certain kind of imagination, and a significant level of courage, to respond to the theater of airport security as an active participant rather than a passive one. I'm convinced that the country would be in better shape if more people found a way to creatively talk back to our self-appointed guardians, rather than blindly following instructions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the cross-promotion. Unfortunately, this concept will never be adequately understood by the burgeoning throng; nor undertaken, though those endeavoring enlightenment of specifics will be enthusiastically engaged. You have been a consistent and warm supporter of the little art gallery. I am grateful.