When Signs Become Useless
The function of any sign is to point toward something—a concept, an idea, or as we commonly see it, direction. But what happens when you strip that ‘something’ away?
A German artist asks that question in his series of photographs, ‘Sign Out’. Josef Schulz snaps prominent billboards, road signs and sign posts marking, say, how far away a McDonald’s outlet is and removes the text, symbols or logos entirely.
What remains are blank boards, somewhat surreal-looking given how comfortable we’ve become to the ‘content’ of a sign. The photographs are stark, empty vessels that have been completely drained out—a mere ‘outline’ of those things they once held.
It might be a little too conceptual and academic for everyone’s taste, but if anything, Schulz’s work does present an alternate reality of sorts, where the sign doesn’t have to indicate anything at all.
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