Many cultural organizations in Stockholm uses public spaces for advertising purposes. Most of them do it legally on bulletin boards. Bigger corporations pay for their ads, and use big billboards to get noticed. Others, who can't afford to pay for it, advertise illegally, and anywhere they please. The question in Stockholm at the moment is, should theaters, nightclubs and other cultural organizers be able to pay for, and advertise on, the thousands of big and small electrical boxes around the Capital? I think not. If it was up to me all electrical boxes should be handed over to local schools, graffiti artists and painters. A school class could adopt a number of utility boxes in their area, and create their own artwork as a school project. My guess is that this would lead to less unwanted graffiti, especially if it became legal for street artists to create freely on the boxes. Like this cool stencil by KLAB that I noticed in Handen this afternoon. Young upcoming artists trying to make a name for them selves could also get involved. And who knows what this type of exposure could lead to for them. Sadly that is not how the city sees it. They have decided to let Fortum (the energy company), make money on selling the space on as many as 4000 boxes to advertisers.
This is how most electrical boxes look in Haninge. I don't mind if a street artist does a number on them, or if a local rock club feels the need to advertise their next metal festival, as you can see on this box. That sort of advertising can be very quick, effective, and the only cost is the time spent. What I don't like is the untalented wannabe graffiti artist tagging everything he sees. Like you can also see on this utility box. The Haninge municipality agrees with me on this. Sort of. One year ago they decided, together with 14 local organizations, that all graffiti should be removed from public spaces as soon as it was detected. Has it happened? Nope. Will it work? Nope. So, what should be done? It is very simple. Set up a meeting with the local graffiti talent. Invite them to take part in an annual graffiti contest. As for the illegal advertising, make it legal on say, half the boxes, I'm sure the energy companies can live with that. Surely that will be an improvement to the current situation where illegal advertising is removed, either by the council, after a few weeks, or by people who see that sort of thing as a sport and try their best to remove everything as soon as they see it.