Unlogo

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A prototype of the Unlogo filter, replacing store signs with the disembodied heads of the CEOs of the respective companies.

Unlogo is a web service that eliminates logos and other corporate signage from videos. On a practical level, it takes back your personal media from the corporations and advertisers. On a technical level, it is a really cool combination of some brand new OpenCV and FFMPEG functionality. On a poetic level, it is a tool for focusing on what is important in the record of your life rather than the ubiquitous messages that advertisers want you to focus on.

In short, Unlogo gives people the opportunity to opt out of having corporate messages permanently imprinted into the photographic record of their lives.

From the Berkeley Net Art exhibition:

Corporate branding coupled with new media transforms our already cluttered visual environment into a pulsing tesseract of capital. Commercial television and video digitally blur some logos while promoting others. Music videos were introduced as short films and commercials for albums, but today’s music videos are commercials within commercials (Lady Gaga’s music video Telephone features nine product placements.) However, new media also offer new forms of resistance and play.

Enter Unlogo, a new artwork by Jeff Crouse that uses corporate technologies to new ends. Unlogo is an iPhone app and website. The app can be used by individuals to identify logos that may occur in photographs they take with their phone and to replace them with images drawn from an online databank. The website allows anyone to view and contribute to the databank, suggesting and uploading images that may be substituted for a particular logo.

Unlogo follows the history of tactical media art projects and adds its own contemporary twists. It allows individuals to moderate not only the temporary act of viewing a magazine, billboard, or screen without corporate messages, but gives people the opportunity to opt out of having these messages permanently imprinted into the photographic record of their lives. In allowing viewers to identify what constitutes a logo and its alternate, Unlogo asks us to consider our own role in media culture. What image will you suggest as a logo-alternate? Your Facebook pic? Your garage-band skateboard sticker?

Project Created: 
June 2010