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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The branded skyline? A socio-semiotic critique of Johannesburg's architectural adverts
Authors:Iqani, Mehita
Baro, Gilles
Periodical:African Studies (ISSN 1469-2872)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:urban areas
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2017.1285670
Abstract:This article critically analyses the semiotics of architectural adverts (massive scale outdoor billboards that cover the entire facades of city buildings) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Drawing on critical advertising studies and scholarship critiquing neoliberal visual culture in cities of the Global South, the article critiques the visual landscape created by brands writ large across the cityscape. The critique is from two vantage points: the highway and the pavement. These are theorised as intersecting levels of geosemiotic meaning-making, shaped by structures of neoliberal power. The authors argue that architectural adverts colonise public sensibility by cloaking the realities of urban neglect and inequality with dazzling brand messages, and by making these visible at the expense of citizens' visibility (and their view). They argue that the city government is neglecting its public mandate by allowing such advertising to be placed in public spaces, and that this failure exposes the neoliberal value set that dominates in post-apartheid culture. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]