Imminent Blog

A well-known brand gets a serve

Natasha Galea - Thursday, February 17, 2011

Graffiti - off the wall politics

I was walking through Kings Cross the other day and came across what seemed, on an initial viewing, a scrappy poster. But on closer inspection, it's is a combination of image and text that has a very dense and critical commentary on fine art, design and big business (now that the Lonely Planet founders are about to sell their last shares to the BBC) working together to support the status quo.



Shall we look a little closer?

The background is a reproduction of an oil painting of Captain Cook "discovering" Australia. Placed over the top is the very familiar Lonely Planet logo (Lonely Planet being a series of travel guides helping the most clueless traveller access the every inch of the world http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/). But the words Lonely Planet have been substituted for "country shoppers". So here we have some travellers discovering far-flung places, but collecting them to own, like they may shop for souvenirs. The joke of course is the country they are claiming for their own is not for sale in the first place; and when you think about it, the whole premise of a 'Lonely Planet' is silly.... no indigenous population would ever consider themselves to be alone....

So what we have here is a brand being criticised for promoting a colonial attitude of patronisation, and an uncompromising reminder to us all that the issue of native title here in Australia and around the world is still largely unresolved. 

Quite a lot said with just a logo and a picture, on an A3 sheet of paper, don't you think?

See the Sydney Morning Herald for a related article relating to this post: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/the-backpacker/lonely-planet-the-best-thing-to-happen-to-travel-or-the-worst/20110222-1b3zx.html

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