Ever try to go somewhere in New York City or on your travels, and it’s full of people taking selfies? In the technology-consumed age we are in, media influencers across all platforms are becoming more prominent – even dominant. Being an “Influencer” on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, or other forms of social media have become career paths. But a backlash is underway, built upon the growing distrust of social media and tech companies, and the inevitable monetization of products built without a business model in mind. The Atlantic recently declared that “The Instagram Aesthetic is Over.”

Going a step further, in New York City, artist Joseph Grazi has created the campaign, “Culture Cures,” a mock subway advertisement campaign intended to shed light on how culture is changing in the face of social media, and the speed at which it’s happening. Grazi has created both stickers and posters that have been posted around local subway stations.

One of the main components of the campaign is the “Influencer Free Zone,” designed to look like a real subway warning sticker. If you directly message the @culturecures Instagram account, you can receive these stickers for free to spread. Larger posters are also part of the campaign, depicting an overcrowded train overflowing with people with the words “Appreciate Your Commute” in bold lettering at the bottom. The message is clear: be grateful in the present moment, and lift your head up from your phone screen.

Photo courtesy @culturecures/Joseph Grazi

Grazi tells Untapped Cities, “With the rise of ‘the influencer’ individual comparison is at an all time high, and thus morale at an all time low. Comparison is the chief destroyer of joy, and todays culture seems to show just that. And while we’ve always sought validation, it was usually for our achievements. Now the achievement IS the validation. Celebrity. Beauty. The coveted blue verified check that has become the cross of social media’s religion. Just as worshiped. And the closer one is, the more special and validated they feel.” Grazi aims to turn around the narrative and take power away from the ‘influencer’ and give it back to the ‘follower.’

In just the first week of the campaign’s existence, Grazi’s stickers and posters were ordered from countries all over the world such as Indonesia, Ireland, and India.

Get your sticker at the @culturecures Instagram account.

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