Thursday, 11 November 2010

Milton Keynes as Ballardian consumerist dystopia

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been treated to a surreal sight. The roads in this area (Newport Pagnell and the North East end of Milton Keynes) have been lined by people wearing giant pizza boxes. It’s a promotional stunt by a well-known pizza outlet.

 Posted strategically on both sides of the road, by every roundabout, the shivering human billboards wave at passing motorists, some with apparent good cheer, some robotically.  Muffled up against the November chill, most of the faces are reduced to a pair of eyes looking out from between hat and scarf, although a few have taken to wearing Spiderman masks. Whether the masks are just for a laugh, or a disguise, I don’t know.

It doesn’t make me want to rush out and order a pizza, but as a faintly chilling piece of dystopian  performance art, about the commodification of human beings, it works pretty well.