#THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS: a point of contact for art, advertising and urbanism.
BigMedia Company (BigBoard Ukraine / JCDecaux) and IZOLYATSIA Cultural Initiatives Foundation presented a new art-project in a public space, which became the reason for the conceptual discussion of advertisers, artists, urbanists and representatives of city authorities. Site-specific installation #THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS placed in Kiev at bus shelters and mupies in February-March 2019 is an object of modern art, taken out of the art gallery into the public space of the city. This format of the artwork has become unique and attracted the attention of the public and professional communities - from artists and urbanists to city authorities. For BigMedia, this project become a logical and consistent continuation of the initiative, launched in July 2017 and implemented in the “Platform of Integrated Solutions” format - a lively discussion platform for OOH operators, representatives of the city administration, customers and the public. The Platform was a generator of ideas for the improvement of the city and for the creation of smart and comfortable public space full of high-quality visual content. After all, outdoor advertising is an integral part of the modern city and its reasonable and responsible use really works to the benefit of society. At the discussion sessions of the Platform, the problems and current state of affairs in outdoor advertising were investigated; in particular, the factors that shape its image and, as a result, the attitude of society to it. Nowadays, both the public and the professional community are already extremely sensitive to the quality of visual solutions and to the content of advertisements; the public has clearly formed a request for aesthetics of information placed in a public space. And, the outdoor advertising, due to its integration into the urban landscape and possibilities of direct communication with the viewer, must comply with this request and promote cultural development. Then, the idea to create an art project in OOH was born – the “Points of Unity” appeared, also implemented in cooperation with the IZOLYATSIA Foundation and Danish artistic duo Hesselholdt&Mejlvang in early 2018. Next, in spring 2019 - the art installation #THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS. In autumn 2018, a competition [Your Ad Here?] was announced for Ukrainian artists. The idea of the contest was to create an art project specifically for the public space, which is significantly different from the museum or gallery context. The winner of the competition according to the results of the popular vote became the project #THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS by Maxim Finogeev, the artist from Odessa, who performed his artworks in the technique of Ukrainian folk art of vytynanka. The artist combined traditions and modernity – the cut out patterns of vytynanka that Ukrainians have used to decorate their homes and typical pictures from a photo bank, showing smiling, happy people in different situations that are relevant to today. In turn, the transfer of a traditional vytynanka, as an artwork, from a private house or museum to a public space, in particular to mupies and bus shelters, expanded the concept of home to the scale of an entire city, as the common living space of all citizens. And this idea is one of the most significant, unifying and informative messages of the project. Moreover, the project #THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS has once again highlighted existing issues regarding OOH that need to be discussed at a professional level. The main topics are: how the city should look and where are those points of contact for representatives of various spheres, somehow involved in creating the image of the public space of the city. That is why, on March 5, in IZONE creative space, a conference “Production of visual codes of the city” was held, as the result of the project #THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS. The concept of the project and the final conference suggested the artists to consider outdoor advertising as potential media for their artwork in a public space. The conference included several thematic sessions (advertising, art, urban planning), where representatives of various professional communities openly discussed and, in fact, searched for common ground and common solutions. The session devoted to the dialogue between representatives of the city authorities and urbanists became very interesting and promising; the participants of the discussion found out how much interesting it was for the city to implement social initiatives and how to include OOH into the urban landscape rationally, even when planning. Advertisers and artists discussed how to create good visual content that will adorn the city and will benefit society. Consequently, the points of contact exists, as well as understanding and readiness for dialogue, and gradually, step by step, we all are moving in the right direction. Elena Beskhlebnaya, director of BigMedia Company (BigBoard Ukraine /JCDecaux): “The project #THROUGH THE CODES OF HAPPINESS was not easy, but it is always challenging to do something for the first time. Indeed, for the first time in Ukraine, we have created such an unusual art object, an outdoor art installation, which attracted public attention, made interested and perhaps encouraged to learn more. After all, the art in general, especially modern conceptual and innovative projects, reveal their essence gradually, it makes people think firstly and only having fully grasped the idea, it may impress and inspire deeply. This unique social communication is created by the combination of art and wide possibilities of outdoor advertising, when the artist directly speak to viewers on the streets of cities. This is interesting for the society and we will continue to develop this idea, for sure. ”
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