I have posted about guerilla art and actions with a tutorial on subvertising and directions or a recipe for guerilla seed bombs. I now turn to Shopdropping as a form of political protest.
SHOPDROP: To covertly place merchandise on display in a store. A form of "culture jamming" s. reverse shoplift, droplift. *
As coined and defined by Ryan Watkins-Hughes in 2004 (documentation)
SHOPDROPPING is an ongoing project in which I alter the packaging of canned goods and then shopdrop the items back onto grocery store shelves. I replace the packaging with labels created using my photographs. The shopdropped works act as a series of art objects that people can purchase from the grocery store. Because the barcodes and price tags are left intact purchasing the cans before they are discovered and removed is possible. In one instance the shopdropped cans were even restocked to a new aisle based on the barcode information.
SHOPDROPPING strives to take back a share of the visual space we encounter on daily basis. Similar to the way street art stakes a claim to public space for self expression, my shopdropping project subverts commercial space for artistic use in an attempt to disrupt the mundane commercial process with a purely artistic moment. The photographs act as a visual journal of my travels over the past few years. Displayed in nonlinear combinations the images remix the traditional narrative of the passing of time. The vibrant individuality of each image is a stark contrast to the repetitive, functional, package design that is replaced. Shopdropping gives voice to the pervasive disillusionment from our increasingly commercial society. A voice that is, paradoxically, made possible only by commercial technological advancements.
* Due to the broadening usage of shopdropping I have removed the sentence "Primarily used in tactical media projects and art installations." from this definition. The increased usage of the term "culture jamming" also makes the removed sentence redundant. The synonym "droplift" comes from The Droplift Project as linked to in the Related Projects page on this site. (RWH Dec. 26 2007)