You'll find these billboards along the Gene Autry Trail in California as their installation is as part of Desert X, an outdoor exhibition of site-specific art installed across the Coachella Valley.
Jennifer Bolande created the series, and describes them as camouflaged billboards. For a brief moment as you pass, the 2D photograph of the nature behind the billboard will align up perfectly with the real mountains in the background, forcing you the viewer to refocus on reality. Inspired by Burma Shave advertising Bolande's series called "visible distance/Second sight" advertises the nature which surrounds the billboards.
Burma Shave's billboards was a source of inspiration, but we'll also note that advertising has long considered the billboards as a creative space that works with the environment that surrounds it. For example, this spec work idea for Mustang wanted the billboard to blur the background, as if seen while driving very fast.
In Amsterdam, a long time ago, I built billboards that used the background to make a rebus. Amnesty International created an entire series of billboards showing acts of torture happening where the ads were positioned, and this "transparent billboard" basic concept has been used for everything from Lego to children's charities to real time weather reports by now.
So in conclusion, the idea isn't all that unique. Back in 2015 Brian Kane had a series of “unvertisements”, billboards along Massachusetts highways showing scenes of nature surrounding them, and images of the moon or milky way at night. The installation was named “Healing Tool” after the photoshop tool that patches over errors, as Brian patched over the unnatural billboards in the landscape.
Creator: Jennifer Bolande
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