The World’s UnFair
Poster campaign for a public art installation
in the form of a satire on a World’s fair 


“Across an immersive spectacle of animatronics, large-scale sculptures, video installations, and powwow grounds, The World’s UnFair invites you to play a part in a decolonized future. Brought to you by New Red Order (NRO), a public secret society of informants and collaborators dedicated to rechannelling desires for indigeneity towards the expansion of Indigenous futures, The World’s UnFair offers a practical solution to growing calls for the return of Indigenous land: Give It Back.” —Creative Time

The critique emerges through the congnitive dissonance. On one hand they stage a Worlds Fair where, historically, “Indigenous people were often dehumanized or romanticized in exhibits used to dispossess them of their lands and legitimize colonial plunder.” On the other hand they invert that model through the use of satire—creating an environment that pairs a spectacle of contemporary art with cold hard facts that lay out historical examples of colonial violence.

The campaign features brilliantly demented illustrations by Dylan Clancy, that Disney-fy themes of settler colonialism. In addition to illustration NRO took some Materpiece Theater style photos of legendary underground actor Jim Fletcher, a regular collaborator, posing as a whealthy art patron surrounded by his collection of native art.

The posters pull from a range of influence I’ll get into below. Many of them are shown with a layer of plastic covering the layout, dually acting as a refernce to moving and packing while it creates a veil of critical distance between the viewer and the message.

Below are just a few of the many aesthetics I explored early on. They range from ultra corporate bank inspired ads (a nod to the Bank of America building that towers over the project site), to a range of alternative realitites that may or may not be desireable. In the end I realized that a.) I was making ads so they should feel like a campaign b.) the more blunt and deadpan the delivery the more they read as satire.

As I honed in on a direction I looked to the weirdness of MTA advertisting for inspiration. A hallmark of this regional vernacular is a distinct crassness in tone. The messaging is shameless, judge-y, and decidedly liberal—evoking the pain of being human, hot button issues in bi-partison pollitics, and unabashed references to identity tropes. The sensibility feels at home on the subway, the neural net of a wildly diverse megalopolis the both encourages and rewards obsessive, neurotic personalities. An on aesthetic level, this type of ad tends to be rendered in amateurish strokes, which make the overly confident tone even more unhinged.

At a stark contast to the “crazy uncle mortimer” type of voice I just described, in more recent years there’s been an onslaught of ads in a style that I’ll refer to here as Pharma Co Glam. You can quickly identify this approach by the solid color backgrounds, which come in a disturning array of hues, reminescent of pharmaseutical pills.They seem to have evolved from the “cupcake fascism” aesthetic that became synonomous with the rapid gentrification of the 2010’s. These ads up the anti by moving away from pure nostalgia (though not entirely) and injecting toxic optimism into self-infantilizing scenes of human suffering. The imagery is either cutesy illustration, or highly stylized photogaphy with lighting fit for an interrogation room. The overall vibe evokes the nice liberal neighbor that lowkey hates you.

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