By Noel Douglas
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Here and Now

This article is over 15 years, 3 months old
Sometimes when advertisers stop attempting to sell us that brand of toilet paper or this brand of baked beans and apply their creative energies to a more needy and worthwhile cause they can produce stunning pieces of visual communication.
Issue 310

This campaign for Amnesty International called “It’s not happening here, but it’s happening now” is by the Walker advertising agency in Switzerland. It uses a trompe l’œil technique to produce the effect of transparent billboards, so that various human rights abuses around the world can be brought right to your local high street.

The power of these adverts comes from the shock of the compression of space and time caused by montaging brutal forms of abuse onto the banality of our everyday urban environment and shopping streets. This allows them to overcome aesthetically what capitalism separates in reality.

But in a Britain where electricians on the underground get murdered in cold blood, Muslim Londoners are dragged away in the middle of the night by hordes of riot police and anti-war protesters get locked up for saying the wrong things, maybe the adverts could also be read as a premonition of what will happen here if the endless war of neo-liberal imperialism isn’t halted in its tracks.

For more information go to Amnesty Switzerland and Walker.

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