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Detournement of Street Signs – Law Series

Detournement of Street Signs by Chris Girard

Law Series is a type of photo detournement. It constitutes repurposed photographs of street signs that are either cropped from their original state or framed. The change in composition alters the rules and regulations to produce other rules and regulations.

Detournement, Laws of Movement & Expression

When I was 21 years old taking art photography classes, I was interested in exhibitionism and the performance that one acts when on camera. I looked at constructs of intimacy and the clashes that it creates. I believe regulation creates the boundaries of intimacy and a change in the rules changes how one behaves. In a way, isolation forms the placement of these regulatory mechanisms. Expression isolates or ‘interiorizes’ and even alienates from these mechanisms. Outdoor NO signs clearly show these mechanisms. I lived near hundreds of these signs growing up in Orange County, California.

Photo Detournement by Chris Girard

The four scenes in each of the photo collages evolve a story by a reader who searches for correlations and patterns in scattered and ephemeral environments. California housing associations estrange these landscapes and gated communities by heavily regulating them.

External Regulation & Internal Expression?

Laguna Niguel is an inland town that borders the beach town of Laguna Beach in Orange County. I noticed when visiting my parents how many NO signs there are. Niguel Summit, which is the housing association my parents lived in the 1990s and 2000s, offers at least one NO sign for every 15 feet.

I decided to photograph all of these NO signs within a one mile perimeter from my parents’ home. It’s funny and absurd in a way to have a No Parking sign followed by a No Trespassing sign followed by a No Parking sign. This is something you wouldn’t see in most other places. Other places where I subsequently lived, like San Francisco, London or Los Angeles, do not do this.

I believe this has to do with is Laguna Niguel being a collection of privately-owned housing associations rather than a town. This phenomenon of private housing associations seems to define upper middle class living at the cusp of the 20th and 21st Centuries. These McMansions that look alike are also located next to shopping centers with the same stores. I wanted to explore how identities form and become alienated in these regulated private communities. So I made a detournement.

Photo Detournement by Chris Girard

Glass, mirrors, fog, blur and shadows symbolize intimacy. These selfies are taken indoors and reflected on glass and mirrors taken on different beds.

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