Fifty years ago, Armando Testa produced this iconic poster for the International Exhibition for the Plastic and Rubber Industry, held in Milan. Brandpowder pays a tribute to the Great Master of Communication, with a new interpretation of the topic. Half a century ago Plastic was the new frontier and brainchild of a promising and optimistic industrial output, opening to a wide array of applications. It was cheap, eclectic, and 20 years strong of full scale use, covering every possible product in the market. And it still is, today, unbeatable for its malleability, resistance, lightness and low cost. The reason we can’t get rid of it so easily is due to the fact that even new materials’ advanced technologies haven’t found, yet, a valuable candidate to replace it. Wood, glass, paper and many other “natural” materials are not even close to meet plastic’s standards in structural resistance, hygiene and durability, not to mention its lightness.
Brandpowder’s poster, designed by Bubi Kowalski, features a Panic Eye in place of Testa’s blue rubber ball. This is the way we look – today – at the world, through the frantic peephole of our Plastic Eyes. The Big Eye, featured in the poster above, is always hungry for images. Ready to swallow visual information through pre-digested infographics and childish tutorials, it turns into a plastic ball. Not anymore a window of the soul – like in the past – the Big Eye is regressing to an underdeveloped (yet hypertrophic) world of senses. It’s soaking up like an artificial sponge whatever junk is thrown to its catatonic camera. Unlike a natural sponge, which filters water, our eyes do not filter anything, so that our perception is reduced to a passive, unquestioning intake of stimuli. Kowalski’s artwork stressed even the word Plastic, turning it into an image itself, a way to underline how we are not used to read the text anymore. We just look at the pictures.
Peter Butu, one of Brandpowder’s contributors, added this double poster (top and bottom). Plastic Life defines our existence. The most urgent problem we need to solve is not the plastic waste bobbing on the oceans like a gigantic industrial island (not an easy place for nesting birds). The most urgent problem is not about replacing fast food’s styrofoam burger packaging and plastic straws with friendly paper, either. The real priority, here, is to exit the Plastic Fantastic Hypnotic Happiness the majority of us is living today. Now it’s up to you, the reader (if there’s still someone reading a text): either you take a deep breath and open up to the real world, or you keep inflating the plastic doll of artificial life and maybe place it on the velvet sofa of your no-living room to keep you company and watch tv, eating popcorns.
This campaig, (pictured below) was an old assignment we received from Keenarth/Bergsdorfer. We had to stress how plastic is so important and pervasive in our daily life. We came up with this slogan – Plastic is Going to Last – not just as a reminder of its long decomposition cycle (from ten to five hundreds years) but also for its unavoidable presence in the modern world. We need plastic more than ever. We may just dispose of it, properly.
The Gold of the Poor (above) was shot in New York City a few years ago. The poster was printed in 10 copies and presented at Helmann’s Auctions as a fund raising operation to support local recycling of luxury plastic items.
This poster was a free ad we sponsored and published on local magazines, last year. The insight behind this idea, simply said, is that for some reason we don’t want to investigate, people love to be insulted by parrots. We all accept whatever dirty words come from these scurrilous birds because…they are just birds! The message is kind of straight on your face and, in a funny way, makes you think about how many artificial ingredients are found in our activities, relationships and self-served values. We guess that in the near future a State Regulation will prescribe a label to be attached to our existence, at all times: Warning! Your Life is Plastic and You are Going to Burst like a Balloon When You Die.