Our fascination with road signs will never end. Last month, we showed you French artist Clet Abraham’s street sign hacking in Europe, and this time around we will be looking at some thought-provoking signs from our Canadian neighbors.
Open City Projects recently brought our attention to The Centre for Print and Media Arts and Atelier Imago‘s Road Sign Project. The art centers have collectively produced a number of eye-catching road signs which now pepper the streets of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. By presenting these signs in the public space, the project aims bring awareness to the art of printmaking while addressing issues in our “post-industrial urban existence.” According Open City Projects, the artists were asked to specifically use “the vernacular and syntax of email and text messaging” for their work.
On the other side of the world, quirky public signs are a norm in Japan. In 2006, construction equipment company Sendaimeiban collaborated with Hokkaido’s Asahiyama Zoo to create character barricades” that could be placed at roadside construction sites and be seen by buses of tourists. Although they do not provide any social commentary like the ones from the Road Sign Project, their construction barricades come in the adorable forms of deers, dolphins, monkeys, frogs and more, making it easier for drivers and pedestrians to look out for construction sites.
According to Kotaku, one of the reasons behind the popularity and proliferation of these cute barricades is that they help improve Japanese people’s impressions of constructions sites. Construction sites don’t seem as rough, and are viewed less of a nuisance. Another theory is that the character barricades have prevented more accidents, because drivers don’t want to hit the cute animals. Whatever the reason may be, they definitely make public space more interesting.
For those in Ontario, the road signs are available for viewing in various outdoor locations in Hamilton until October 19th. Others can find more pictures of The Road Sign Project via Open City Projects. An entire series of Japan’s character barricades can be seen at Kotaku.