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152- Guerrilla Public Service

2015-02-11 | 🔗

At some point in your life you’ve probably encountered a problem in the built world where the fix was obvious to you. Maybe a door that opened the wrong way, or poorly painted marker on the road. Mostly, when we … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible I'm roman Mars at some point in your life. You probably encountered a problem in the built world, something that was poorly designed and the fix was obvious to you, maybe a door that open the wrong way were a poorly painted marker on the road. I know this kind of stuff, all the time, even more so now, after creating the show I'm sorry if you do too, because he listened to Bisher it Finally, when we see these things, we grumble on the inside man. Do nothing There are all sorts of reasons for our inertia. We don't know how to fix it. It's not ours to fix. We could get into. That's producer David Weinberg: you might these little design flaws three years, silently fuming until one day He called me. Instead, we're doing, and it was
early Sunday morning, August fifth, two thousand and one in LOS Angeles, California, Richard Ankrom and a group of friends, were on the fourth street bridge of the one hundred and ten freeway. They were about to commit a crime, a high profile, dangerous situation. Not only can I get arrested, I could kill somebody really. I was terrified of that, but, let's backup about twenty years pray, Richard Ankrom, an artist living in Orange County, was driving north on the one ten freeway ass he passed through downtown. LOS Angeles, he was going to merge onto another freeway die five north, but he missed the exit got lost. And for some reason it just stuck with it. Years later, when Richard move to downtown LOS Angeles, he was driving on the same stretch, a freeway where he got lost decade. Before we looked up the big green rectangular sign suspended above are real.
That's why I missed the exit is because it wasn't adequately signed bad wayfinding, the exit for the I five wasn't indicated on the green overhead sign. There was even a big open space where there should have been a blue and red Interstate shield and, above that it should have said north. It was clear to Richard that Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation, had made a mistake, Sir Richard and artist in sign painter decided to make the Interstate five North shield himself and install it in the place. He thought it should have been all along high above the one ten freeway. He would call but an act of guerrilla public service or ideas. To be sort of a public servant or were actually to show. You can do with our work. You can play plain sight- have a functioning working thing for everyone to use Richard started by
studying Ella Freeway Science holding a pan tones watches to perfectly match the pink color. He dangled over bridges to measure the exact dimension the other signs and, most importantly, he downloaded macroeconomic com of California, road signage, the much kid the end, you t the manual on uniform traffic control devices quote to bring I'd for uniform standards and specifications for all official traffic control devices. In California. It's not a beach reed. I have. It is more of a lazy Sunday afternoon agreed on Baxter online, so people can bid on projects Richard wanted his signed to be built to the exact specifications of Caltrans which designed to be read by motorists travelling at high speeds. The shield
the five on it is 3ft roughly high and wide it's less than one slash eight of an inch barrel, one slash eight of an inch thick aluminum. It's still pray wrong and, above that it, but the word north and that was all about fourteen inches by five feet. Again, I used the same type face. It was there and the same signs are tried to match as close as I could, so it wouldn't be obvious. Caltrans didn't do it. Richards brand new additions had to blend in perfectly with the existing signage, which had been collecting dirt and smog for decades, The whole thing what they really thin glaze of gray and knocked down the shine after he finished it. Richard signed his name on the back of it with black marker. Like a painter. Signing a canvas, then came the next phase of the project, the installation which he planned with the precision of a bank heist
he bought a disguise a white hard had in an orange vast, so he'd look like a Caltrans worker. Basically looked at parties as best I could and he made a detail for his pickup truck mental look, vaguely official. That said, aesthetic reconstruction the night before the installation, Richard drove out to the site and hid some of his supplies, so they be easy to get to the next morning. When I interviewed him, he took me to the spot showed me he'd, stashed, stuff, basically here, now the ivy isn't that fit, but it was a lot better than I had but basically banana trade stash the ladder and the signs and stop after he hid his things. He climbed a tree and just set their going through everything, had, I just call myself down by being there and hanging around with it. The night before Richard was worried that he might drop the sign or one of his tools onto the road below
Ivory going sixty plus miles an hour would have no time to react if something landed on the road in front of them or worse onto their car. That was a serious thing about war project is if somebody got hurt. You know that deliberate bat and then the project on average began it because it would a defeated the whole idea of it. But despite some reservations, Richard was pretty confident he could pull a thing off and he'd gone too far to turn back in. That brings us back to the morning of August fifth, two thousand one Richard did not act alone. He asked several friends to film the installation from different vantage points. You know I was once a friend's heedless of the film we did. It six, a m or seven a m on Sunday morning. It was tense because we all felt we were gonna get into trouble.
Richard had chosen a Sunday morning to put up the sign, knowing that there would be little traffic and the morning light rising above the skyscrapers would be just right for filming. What he had an anticipated was that Caltrans had also pick that that morning to do work on this seems stretch of highway. Yes, they happened to be doing some other work on the freeway just south, that sign when they saw the Caltrans workers they thought about. Turning back but I had surmised. After all, this is a pretty large city, there'd be more than one sign group. My assumption was that think the other guy was doing Richard his truck and when everyone was imposition with their cameras, he went to work. The hardest part really was getting over the razor wire with the latter once he was up on the catwalk. Nearly thirty feet the highway. He started screwing in the new side, careful not to drop any screws on the cars below half way into it, which is felt like
he's gonna get away with it. The whole thing took less than thirty minutes as soon as it was up Richard packed up. His latter rushed back to his trunk and blended back I think we all went to breakfast to give up their workers, and recent were relieved in happy, only a small group of people knew that the Interstate five shield, with the word north hanging above the one ten freeway, was a forgery. He didn't say to us, don't tell anyone, so our friends knew about it and we will drive by it and we wish to solve feel really happy if it, but it never sort of managed to to leak out past small group for awhile for awhile for nine months the secret stayed within a small community and then
Richard friend, Gary led the story. The hell Gary. Why can't you be cool, just be cool. Gary Richard Secret was out Caltrans and the press from the fake Netteke sign on his beat up blue truck to a work order proclaiming rush, but he did as against the lava counteract says. It has no plans at all about charges against them after they found out what happened. Apparently, they sent a corrupt very when Spected Richard was hoping to get his sign back from Caltrans after they took it down. He was thinking, he would hang it in an art gallery, but Culture didn't take the sign down. It passed the cow trance. Inspection cassettes really that there the final test about my How good the artwork is its data eight years nine months in fourteen day, I believe, as does not exactly accurate, but it's pretty close to that. An inch
he's about the incident with other news organisations. Caltrans didn't exactly condone Richards Handiwork, but they are pretty kind about it. Here's the Caltrans spokesperson at the time he did a good job, but we don't want him to do it again and in fact it is such a good job that I'd like to We have a job application more than Eight years after Richard Sign went up. He got a call. My friend, who noticed some workers taking down Richard com Did Caltrans to ask of. You can have his sign back by Tom. I tracked him down. It already been crushed into a bail going for China. And who knows what it turned into, could be a lawful iron. By now, after Caltrans took down Richard son, they replaced it with a brand new one, but this time they incorporated his ideas into the new design, the out of the five north and the shield. Not only that sign, but two additional ones up. The road
a little epilogue, Richards Highway sign is happily ever after story. The sign worked, people oppressed edit it. No one got hurt, thankfully even Caltrans was we. Pretty nice about the whole thing, There's another guerrilla sign story out of New York City, a group that calls itself the efficient passenger. Project has been hanging signs in New York Subway stations to tell people where They can board the train to make the most efficient transfers. The project is not at all affiliated with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but this and looked just like emptier signs. Black with white hair the collateral. They say things like board here for best transfer to the four five and six trains or board here for best transfer. F in M trains. It's the kind of knowing that you build up over time as a regular subway rider, and this guerrilla sign maker is offering it to everyone and though some have applauded the signs, not all new Yorkers.
Are pleased. These are secrets. Some say that people should have to earn their unbalance the cars. They say: leave signage to the experts, the empty for their part, is taking down the sides as fast as they go up empty space when Kevin Ortiz told us, an email that quote posting The signs is considered an act of vandalism point mean if you decide to undertake an act of guerrilla public service, just no mean perceived as such
Ninety nine percent. Invisible was produced this week by David Weinberg, with Katy mingles evergreens been Avery, trouble, men and women Mars. We many one point: seventy eight w San Francisco and produced at the offices of oxen in. The danger and into his room, damn good when he asked me. If you ask anyone really beautiful, downtown Oakland, California, we often dont think of winter as a time of growth or creation. But if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website. Cooped up your thinking about being productive and now square space can help you do it with squares. Bates can take your cool ideas. You ve creative content, your services, goods, and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. Does it because there is to use templates, are created by world.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.