When we came out of lockdown the city had changed. The streets reminded us of those films in black and white in which the people stroll in any which way, and in any direction. There was no smoke or noise. There weren’t any cars.
For a moment we thought that the public would notice that a city could be something rather different. We just needed to stop using cars. But this is a gesture which should be done en masse. It’s useless if only a few people do it. And soon the automobiles returned to invade it all.
And so, we asked ourselves once again: why this obsession with driving cars?
We looked up and we found it: a commercial billboard notifying us that having an Vauxhall Corsa is ‘cool’. Advertising makes the perceived advantages of cars greater than their real disadvantages. Parasitic, it feeds on our emotions and expectations in order to steal our money away, at the same time as it destroys the environment and damages our health.
As such, just as with tobacco, we put forward a proposal to free our citizens from car adverts. And so Z.A.P. was born: Zero Automobile Publicity. A few definitions for ‘zap’:
1. To strike suddenly and forcefully.
2. To skip over or delete (TV commercials), as by switching channels or fast-forwarding a VCR.
3. Any method of political activism, generally of a disruptive nature.
Our objective is to obliterate car advertising in Europe in order to advance unimpeded towards a sustainable model of transport. We take our inspiration from ‘culture jamming’ and ‘subvertising’. Our spiritual guide is B.U.G.A.U.P., a collective which during the ‘80s hijacked the billboards used by the tobacco industry in Australia, resulting in the country being the first to prohibit such publicity.
If you want to be part of Z.A.P., you only have to pick up some painting tools, redecorate your favourite billboard and sign ‘Z.A.P.’. Et voilà!
Against commodity fetishism, the subversive spray paint scalpel!