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Electric Signs

by Alice Arnold, Director
Icarus Films, Brooklyn, NY, 2012
58 mins., col. Sales, $390
Distributor’s website: http://www.icarusfilms.com

Reviewed by Martha Patricia Niño Mojica

The film, Electric Signs, analyzes the screen-based systems and advertising and what is public and private around the world. Ubiquitous illuminated electronic surfaces are becoming the way we frame some experiences. Electric Signs explores the screen culture in relation to the global village in places such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and other cities. It collects the work of designers, advertising, marketing professionals, sociologist, cultural experts and activists and analyzes living mediated spaces around skyscrapers.

Arnold gives an interesting journey about media scope and digital architectures. The main idea of the film is “What would Benjamin think?”  As such, it investigates the new urban space of the media city with LCD and flat panels that can be installed anywhere, new sign systems inside public transportation full of advertising, manufacturing consent or creating public opinion, sign wars, media city and urban lightscape.

Sign companies are making huge amounts of money and at the same time construct community. Cinematic ways to experience the city with digital billboards are commented upon. The film also explores how multinational corporations use public space. The limits between advertising and art are also displayed. It also talks about the struggles and competition in the world of advertising in places like Times Square. Signs are seen as a way to literacy and public art and are considered virtual capital. The use of color energy is also exposed. Mobil devices are also a topic of the media scape and cyberspace. Some digital art is also displayed.

The modern city and their intelligent architectures and facades are subjects beautiful and well explored. This work is recommended for artists, designers and general public.

Last Updated 6 May 2014

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