Sturken, M. & Cartwright, L. (2009). Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York: Oxford University Press
There is definitely a hierarchy to postering. Not all posters are made equal: some are large, some small; some in color, some in simple black ink; some include artwork, some have pictures of the band.
Around Jasper Avenue, the rule of thumb seems to be that bands with big label backing have bigger posters in full (and mesmerizing!) colour whereas smaller bands are more likely to have smaller posters. Simple economics! Some notable sights include techno/dj based bands/artists/collectives with small posters in full colour and bands that effortlessly fit in the Alternative Rock, Pop Punk or Metal genres tended to have greyscale band promotional shots incorporated into their average/small posters, whereas bigger acts had a mixture of album art and promotional shots in full colour. Examples:
Bands with the money can get enough copies of posters out to repeat their message with the hopes of making a mark on passersby. The most prevalent poster was most definitely DJ Colleen Shannon, often appearing in sequences of two or three all over Jasper Avenue and the University. In the photograph, she is staring towards the viewer, using what Sturken and Cartwright call conventions of “the personal” (p.51). Multiply this by three and add the fact that the ads are in colour and she happens to be a Playboy representative in a bodysuit and we find that the image has interpellated us somehow.
Posters didn’t seem to fight for any type of line of sight, and appeared in any crack or crevice afforded to them by the City.
The City of Edmonton’s website offers up a nice search tool that gave me the bylaw results from Pigeon Maintenance and Care to Postering.
According to Bylaw C2202, Section 16:
"Your poster may be placed in an area designated by the City for that purpose, for example, kiosks. ... Unless you have permission from the City ... a $100 fine may be issued.”
o According to Bylaw C5590, Section 64:
(1)A person shall not place, cause or permit to be placed any poster, handbill or other similar item on any:
Band advertisements are directed at people out and about looking for a place to go or event to attend. The majority of posters are displayed in high traffic areas where people are going in and out of trendy clothing shops, music stores, bar and restaurants will notice them and be interested in the band. Street posts on the avenue corners also display layers of posters and function as sites where people find out about the hottest shows or newest talent coming to Edmonton. Most posters are advertising local bands in smaller venues where people can hear and learn to recognize bands.
Bright colors, scantily clothed females, outrageous images and bold print characterise the posters advertising bands. Semiotics as a principal practice of looking describes how images call out and capture the gaze of a viewer. Advertisements for bands are a prime example of such practices of looking. These posters demonstrate how loud, detailed, interesting designs and colourful images attract the gaze, and furthermore the attention, of passerbyers. The symbols and signs on these posters convey meaning about what type of music the band plays and the genre they represent. Outrageous images may portray rock concerts where people expect a certain loud music, heavy drinking, and wild behaviour environment. The denotative images and colors used on band posters contribute to the connotative meaning of the message the band is delivering to the fans and viewers.