The Rise of ‘Visual Pollution’ and the Fight to Stop It
The feature documentary This Space Available began as a discussion between a corporate branding guru, Marc Gobé, and his daughter, Gwenaëlle Gobé, a filmmaker who is passionately against advertising in public space. The debate blossomed into three-year investigation of outdoor advertising and its effect on communities, from São Paulo to Toronto, and what activists, street artists, and cities are doing to stop it.
Gwenaëlle Gobé, who directed the film, discusses the evolution of the project in an interview below. She also shares the trailer and an excerpt from the film, about activists whitewashing illegally placed billboards in New York City (and ironically, getting arrested for their efforts).
This Space Available (Trailer), courtesy of Emotional Branding
The Atlantic: What inspired you to document this topic?
Gwenaëlle Gobé: Well, I come from a very opinionated family. Marketing and the international promotion of brands were definitively a hot topic at the dinner table, since my dad, Marc, has developed the branding for huge companies around the world. I feel he has a post-WWII, rosy view of brands saving the world from destruction and decay. He still sees corporations with a “Helvetica” innocence of neutrality and righteousness. He would say, “Look at the all the colors, the emotions, and social change they are involved in.”