We spoke to the mysterious Doctor, who's been subverting advertising for over ten years, about the state of politics today
Subverting advertising (or 'subvertising', as dr.d calls it) is an effective way of re-communicating a message. And its impact is likely to be even stronger if there's a political edge to the information. This fact of life is one that dr.d has taken on board, having spent over a decade running around in the cover of darkness, de-facing and altering the stream of messages that hit us on a daily basis. Sometimes, as this 'Best Of' gallery shows, the canvas was blank to start with, and the doctor has had to operate without a pre-written message, other times 'd' just play around with existing words or images. The result is a long line of highly political and socially charged issues being dealt with through irony, sarcasm and wit. And as we all know, quite often that's the best way of getting political issues noticed...
Dazed Digital: What would you call/label what it is you're doing?
DD: How and when did you start?
dr.d: I think it was about 12 years back now, after reading 'No Logo' by Naomi Klein and particularly the bit about Ron English who was painting over aspirational Nike billboards that were targeting poor areas in America. As I can't paint for toffee I thought I can cut something from one board and stick over another to make a new phrase and subvert the whole thing.
DD: Is it illegal - and if so, have you ever been arrested?
dr.d: Technically, it could be criminal damage but I've never got nicked for it, certain other things I have...
DD: Like what?
dr.d: Putting on a party underneath the A40 in West London, didn't get many people but the smoke machine drifting up on to the road above must have attracted the police. (that was a while back now, I've almost hung up my dancing shoes).
DD: A lot of the material is political, do you see yourself as social issue crusader?
dr.d: Not at all, I just usually vent my spleen about things that drive me mad. When I listen to the people from UK Uncut, they're so switched on, I could never put my case like them, that's why I just stick to posters generally.
DD: You are working in a lot of public places, how do you disguise yourself (if needed)
dr.d: Hi-visibility jacket and a cap does the trick.
DD: Would you label yourself 'left', 'right' or are you 'agnostic'?
dr.d: Blimey, all over the place, I feel like giving up on politics though.
DD: Why is that?
dr.d: I think I thought the Lib Dems were a third way, but the more I see of them the more its just like more politicians...
DD: Who of the national political leaders do you prefer to play with?
dr.d: Berlusconi - a party back at his place, he's having it away isn't he! Actually, not really he's got a serious comb-over going on!
DD: What's next for dr.d?
dr.d: Got a dr.d show called DISTOPIA on Friday 22nd July at Red Gallery London (back of the Foundry) should be a good party at least, DJ's etc all welcome, hopefully the Film I've been helping out on called Just Do It will be out this summer too... go and hunt it out!