Javier Galán und Anna Biedermann: What Spectacolor brought to us-US


Spectacolor Inc. was an advertising company that pioneered the first color urban screens of changeable messages and programmed by a computer in the late seventies of the last century. This innovation introduced the concept of »selling time« on billboards instead than the common practice of »selling space«, a change that would pave the way for outdoor advertising, becoming into an industry of billions of dollars. Spectacolor installed its first screens in Times Square in the early 80s, and was eventually sold in 2006 to Clear Channel, world leader in outdoor advertising.

Spectacolor first settled in the »One Times Square« building, kept empty for the past two decades after becoming property of numerous banks and urban estate companies such as Lehman Brothers, leaving the building without use beyond overloading its façade with advertising displays. The exception then is the film “Ghostbusters”, where an animation was done as a publicity, a contract between a producer and a "selling time" advertising company for its inclusion in the clip filming as mere detail of »modernity«, present fact across film history.

It is certainly true? The authors do not believe it. The Spectacolor was used for more purposes than the ones related to publicity. »Ghostbusters« videoclip hides one of the most radical and potentially influential artistic actions turning peasants into spectators, spectators into massive art consumers, streets into giant flickering zones. Such action was called “Messages to the public”, which will be widely presented in the present international conference.

Who ya gonna call?