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|April 1, day of truth
May 21, 2008 - Kerry Karalis
April Fool’s Day signaled the beginning of the Anti-Advertisement festival in Athens, the third activity of the non-profit group activA. The festival is an ongoing project that attempts to critique some aspects of advertising through exhibits of video art, photography, net art, graphic design, performance act, sculpture, painting and lectures.
Booze Cooperativa, a café-exhibition center, hosted the festival’s opening, which featured the projection of a video showing how advertising subtly influences people’s opinions. “A bank, for example, wants to promote loans to its clients but it does that indirectly,” said Rania Gorou, a professional photographer. “There are many bank ads that suggest that money doesn’t bring happiness, but what they sell is money. Don’t you think that’s a contradiction?”
The festival explores the use of media that can change behaviors. “It’s funny to talk about advertising on April Fool’s day because this is what advertising can also do,” said graphic designer George Meteoros, a member of activA. “It can be a lie, can be good and bad, can inform or misinform.”
The group active, which reports having grown to 40 members since its formation two years ago has staged two activities so far, and is now focusing on the Anti-Advertisement festival. Most of its members work in the visual communication industry as graphic designers, film makers, painters, architects. “We know how the medium of visual communication, which advertising uses, works,” said Meteoros. “So, the purpose is to use this medium not for selling products, but communicating simple things, like the importance of a square where people can sit and relax.”
Meteoros, people’s response on the first day of the festival convinced him that the group’s effort is of interest to a larger group of people.