A history of subvertising

by thomasdekeyser

The history of subvertising

The production of advertising space has always been tangled up in negotiation, struggle and contestation. A long history of subvertising, perhaps as old as advertising itself, proves the point.

A caveat: What follows is an admittedly limited account of subvertising history. Much subvertising goes unnoticed and remains undocumented. Not all subvertisers seek, or manage to gain, media exposure. Much activity, from small scribbles to large takeovers, also remains underground out of a legal concern. There is also a bias towards subvertising in Western countries; in part, I believe, due to the lack of recording and publication of these practices in a wide variety of countries. However, I also believe that subvertising is currently, and historically, a predominantly Western practice, at least in terms of its large-scale and collaborative expressions. See however a number of exceptions to this in the timeline.

Click here for the high resolution PDF of the latest version (July 2020): a history of subvertising.

Thank you to Brandalism, Jordan Seiler and Emily Angelopoulos for the input!