Odd billboard on Post and 52 is a 54 framed prints, 5x7 inches each, presents a repeated image of a billboard that I advertised in New Palestine, Indiana in March 2019. Each frame contains a different feedback comment by a community member from the town accompanied with the same image. The repeated image of the billboard was taken by an anonymous local person and found in the same thread.

In an alternative way to engage a community and open a space for questions, my billboard contained three sentences written in white over black. The main sentence is a quoted caption taken from an archival image found in the museum of New Palestine, Indiana, says: “Notice on the top picture the name of the town was once Palestine.” A translation in Arabic below, and third line says: “I - heart symbol - New Palestine, OH.” this third sentence functioned as a signature to show love to Ohio from Indiana, while offering up this aesthetic advertisement, speculation and communication within the view of another "New Palestine". 

In an article written by a local journalist in Indiana after an interview I had over the phone with a reporter from the town, I was able to allay the local concern and confusion regarding the public intervention. The community's very real feedback and debates on the social networking service Nextdoor was shared with me by one of its members and sparked the curiosity of the local journalist. The community members were so roused by the billboard, they found me online and shared all of their comments on the private thread, as only people with local zip codes are allowed access to view and post within the Nextdoor website. This work perhaps shows how the simple presence of a foreign language and a little bit of geopolitical confusion can spark a wide array of so many meanings that reflect a rural community’s knowledge, politics and stereotypes.

 

Using Format