Better Billboards Don't Block the View, Temporarily at Least

©. Lance Gerber via Designboom

TreeHugger has never been fond of billboards; they are energy sucking distractions that destroy views. But as part of the Desert X festival in Coachella Valley, artist Jennifer Bolande has sort of made those billboards disappear; according to Designboom,

As cars drive along the Gene Autry Trail in California, they encounter ‘visible distance’, a cinematic experience animated by a sequence of larger-than-life sized photographs of mountains placed on billboards. these images have been perfectly aligned to their background, so — when viewed from a unique position along the route — the rectangle of the billboard is reconnected to the environment that exists behind it.
burmashave signs

Burma-shave signs/via

The artist says that the installation "was informed by the graphic language of billboard advertising, particularly ‘burma-shave’ motion-graphic ads." But those worked differently, and delivered a fun message as you drove by. These billboards only actually work from one position, so it's not really an appropriate analogy. But one should never argue with an artist who says "audiences are prompted to contemplate their surroundings and consider the differences between real and artificial horizons."

billboard with rocks

I am surprised that the billboard company went along with this, because you can imagine what it might look like if the billboards had never been installed in the first place. But billboards are part of American life; In Florida, there is even a law giving them more rights than trees that might grow up in front of them; according to a legislator there, "Those billboards are important, they feed lots of families. This is a tourism corridor. Tourism depends on billboards, not on trees."

That's not a problem in the desert around Palm Springs in California, but they still block some terrific views. Lots more images in Designboom.