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GALLERY 2013

visual communication practice

Guerilla Torches
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1/9

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

Supermarkets vs. Farmers and more particularly dairy farmers, a critical issue that many people wouldn’t even have heard of. Many dairy farmers are facing the prospect of leaving their farms due to the inability to create a profit resulting with bankruptcy. It approximately costs 43 cent for a farmer to produce a litre of milk (it differs from farm to farm) yet supermarkets only pay 25-35 cents at most. Ever since Coles supermarket began the price war (2 years ago) when they dropped the market brand milk to just $1 dollar. From this the window of opportunity to make a profit dropped and to a point made farmers selling their own brand of milk extremely hard due to the appeal of cheap milk opposed to a far dearer brand.

This art installation/projection confronts this issue, and questions the power of supermarkets with their control of their farmers. Drawing inspiration from the graffiti aesthetic, “Guerilla Torches” recreates the concept of graffiti. Though it draws from graffiti, it does not have the same permanency with it being a light stencil rather then being applied with paint. Its this sort of temporary nature that allows for a multiplicity of differing locations as well as the simplicity of the ideology allows for easy re-creation by anyone. The simplistic nature of the cow allows for quite an instant recognition, opposed to a more intricate design that could be misinterpreted and with it the message lost in translation. The letterform itself follows this theory with the simple statement of FAIR PRICE FOR FARMERS, getting straight to the point of giving farmers a fair deal, as well as challenging the supermarkets power and control.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The kind of communication approach used is that of a light stencil placed within the community. The idea of using a torch opposed to that of a projector installation is firstly cost reasons, with a cheaper media such as a torch, it allows for a greater number of projections at a far larger number of locations at the same time. Also if they are removed, there is no problem in replacing them. Secondly with such an easy to acquire item, numerous of other people can recreate the idea (using the same design or not) thus spreading the message with relative ease. With an issue such as this, the broader the reach, the greater chance for change, removing the artist from the piece and allowing it to speak for itself. This light stencils intention is to confront the public before the go shopping, and plant the idea of fair prices for farmers as they wander around the supermarket, challenging their choice of product (Cheap home brand version or farmer friendly)

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

To gauge concrete benefits is quite hard, however the simplistic stencil nature confronts the public with the concept of farmers being under paid for the products before heading into the supermarket. It draws attention to the fact that it is the publics purchasing decisions that emphasizes the supermarkets control and power over the farmers therefore asking the question “Is the cheaper version actually better?”

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I have personally learnt about the plight of the farmers. The fact that many face bankruptcy due to the inability to create profit is just horrible. The idea that they spend countless hours of what can only be described as backbreaking work to face a substantial loss places us in there shoes, questioning how we would feel with such mistreatment.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

This piece is GOOD communication work, firstly the simplistic design allows for a direct message to be conveyed with the composition of the cow and the typography. Secondly the cost effective nature of the light stencil allows for a multiplicity of torches that can be established at numerous locations. Thirdly the simplistic design also allows for re-creation from almost anyone from anywhere to present this message and therefore the possible reach is to an extent limitless.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

One of the key features of this idea is its ability to be placed basically anywhere, as long as there is a surface to project on. Primarily however the key locations would be either around a supermarket or directly on it to create a more instantaneous effect on the public as well as confront them just before they enter the premises. Also due to its quite small nature, the torch itself can be placed in quite obscure locations, such as in a tree, in the gap of a fence and so on.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Unfortunately no there was no immediate effect, however there is nothing saying that it wont it all depends on who sees it and how far it reaches it terms of re-creation.


Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

The focus on farmers here is well considered and potentially powerful given the context. Encountering a message like this on entering a supermarket could help short-circuit the alienation inherent in companies' exploitative processes.

But for me the most interesting dimension of the project is the simplicity of the DIY torch projection device (or 'TPD' - definitely needs an acronym). It's cheap, accessible and even legal! (although I'm no lawyer and in some parts of the world projecting images onto public surfaces is probably against some law intent on rendering urban spaces utterly blemish free and business friendly).

What's missing is a platform for sharing and disseminating the process. Build a website with simple instructions on how to construct the device. Provide templates to download and print out to be made into stencils. Give people the information you've researched on why this is an important discussion.

The actual image you've created could use some development. It of course needs to be simple, but perhaps experiment with the limitations of the stencil - how to use the necessary bridges etc.

View other works commented by Jason Grant  ››

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This work has been commented by 1 curator(s):
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Entry details

Title

Guerilla Torches


Headline

Fair Price For Farmers


Concept author(s)

Dylan Leak


Concept author year(s) of birth

1991


Concept author(s) contribution

*The initially conception of the ideology *The construction of the stencil *The Photography


Country

Australia


Competition category

visual communication practice


Competition subcategory

static


Competition field

academic


Competition subfield

student


Subfield description

University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia Bachelor of Graphic Design/Multimedia