Ten Kilometer Billboards
Proposal for two parallel rows of 148 billboards lined end to end, along North Dakota Highway 46, one of the longest stretches of unbent road in the country. The total length of the billboards is ten kilometers. The proposed duration of the intervention is a calendar year. For the first three months the boards shall remain blank for as long as possible before passersby inevitably vandalize stretches of the billboards. The following three months shall be given to “hot button” political issues (e.g. pro-choice/pro-life, gun control, healthcare, etc.), with the north side devoted to the traditionally liberal (Democratic) stances of the issue; and the south side devoted to the conservative (Republican) counter-arguments. The following three months shall be given to political campaign signs, with no limit provided to frequency or number of billboards alotted per candidate; again, following the aforementioned distribution of liberal & conservative issues. The concluding three months shall be devoted to continuous advertisements for roadside restaurants.
Conceived as the North Dakota response to the relentless billboards for “Wall-Drug” seen throughout the state of South Dakota along I-90, this stretch of billboard acts as a year-long tourist attraction for a landscape and stretch of road that might otherwise be considered uninteresting. In its blank state, the billboards provide a canvas against which to view the changing sky and frame the horizon. Drawing upon references from art history, architecture, and the American landscape, the billboards act as a minimal sensory experience during the first three months. As political commentary, campaign proclamations, and restaurant advertisements, the ten-kilometer stretch acts as an arena for sensory overload. Situated somewhere between Land Art and commercial advertising, this intervention is primarily experienced as moving images through a car window: a monument to the “American Dream.”