Aware of artists, beware of thieves

In the real life, everything’s not what it seems. Artists love this line of thought, very well illustrated by Magritte in his “This is not a pipe”.

When asked, “What’s wrong with this picture?” most people answer “the inscription”, once again proving that the visual channel is the most powerful one.

This fact has been known for decades, yet what puzzles me is why advertising people are not aware of it. They often show one thing but talk about something totally diffent in the voice-over. And what they say bounces back off the heads of viewers without any processing or absorbtion. Strange. But again, I don’t think truly creative people go to advertising, at least not for long. An adult and sane person can’t love a Snickers bar or Axe deodorant to the extent that they become triggers to his or her creative imagination.

Getting back to “everything doesn’t seem” topic.

last year I saw it on a public sign nearby the Queen’s palace in London.

Instead of just saying “Beware of pickpockets” the sign sends out an array of messages to all the parties to this conflict.

Plain clothes people are not who they seem to be now. They can be thieves, policemen or innocent tourists. The sign makes them stop being unrelated individuals and makes them participants of a hide and seek game. People read it. Then they start looking around. Then they start pointing fingers.

Mary, see? I am sure this is a copper!
Oh, John, you see the man hiding behind that German couple? He must be a thieve!

Watching the effect of this sign on the general public, I must admit this poster is a form of art, and it is a very powerful object. almost like magic. I am not so sure about its effect on the theives though.

If you know of any signs that may fall into the “art” category, please share!

In the meantime, here’s a joke about things that do not seem what they truly are.

In a zoo, people crowd around a cage with a tiger and lamb. The animals peacefully semi-sleep 2 metres from each other.

You see, says someone from the crowd, peaceful co-existence is possible, you just need to work hard enough to achieve it!

Yeah, answers the cage cleaner, we work hard enough. We get a new lamb each morning into that cage.

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