Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Right Lane Must Turn Right", City of Victoria


The sentiment expressed by the City of Victoria's Right Lane Must Turn Right is one of order, enforced through authoritarianism. The word "MUST" is given the most emphasis, twice the height of the other, condensed words. The colors are black and white, as is the philosophy underlying them.

Note the position of the four bolts in the sign. The significance of each bolt is beyond the scope of this summary, but let us consider the one at the top left. It punctures the bottom of the "I", though not centrally. It is slightly offset to the right, almost as if to suggest that even seeming absolutes like this sign have imperfections in its smooth appearance, and even its carefully painted letters cannot escape the mark of practicality and necessity. The bolt does not puncture the I symmetrically but is offset – the scuffs of progress make way for no-one; function trumps form. Or perhaps function is aloof to form, is unaware of it, and yet is crucial to it.


Commonography is the application of artistic criticism to common everyday items. You take an ordinary thing, like a road sign, or a dent in the wall, and you treat it as art and provide commentary. Is commonography a form of absurdism? Or is it a worldview that sees all of life as art, even the commonplace? Or is it a statement about preconceived notions about art?