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I ran across this gem of a project in a blurb in this month’s Print magazine. After going to the website to check it out, I have decided that I think it is brilliant. The Bubble Project, as it is called, involves placing blank talk bubble stickers on ads in New York. The bubbles are left alone for passers by to fill in, and the results are photographed. In one, dancer with an iPod says “I steal music,” and in another, a man holding an IBM laptop confesses, “I use it to download porn.”

Ji Lee, who started the project 4 years ago, has placed 30,000 stickers on various ads, and has amassed thousands of photographs of the city’s responses. From the crude to the hilarious, the social commentary that the meaning-altering bubbles have provided is definitely worth checking out. The campaign, in its own words says:

“Once placed on ads, these stickers transform the corporate monologue into a public dialogue, encouraging everyone to fill them in with any expression free from censorship.

More bubbles mean more freed spaces, more sharing of personal thoughts, more reaction to current events, and most importantly more imagination and fun.”

The project targets ads because the founders believe that public spaces have been the victim of a corporate media attack. Whether you agree with that or not (and I know some of us are in advertising…), the idea of a public “dialogue” is, I think, pretty clever. The photos are also now the subject of a book, Talk Back: The Bubble Project. And, if you don’t live in New York, you can go to www.thebubbleproject.com and type in your own responses.

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