have you ever tried to take a photo of a taxi? i don’t mean just any old taxi on the street. i mean a very specific taxi–or at least a taxi with a very specific characteristic. it’s not an easy task! you see yoko has recently taken her “WAR IS OVER!” campaign to nyc’s taxis. it’s a very cool choice for this piece. but when you’re trying to document the piece it makes for a great challenge!
according to the article in the nytimes, there are about 500 taxis displaying the work of three artists (including yoko). assuming the taxi’s are divided equally among the artists, that means less than 175 taxis’s are traveling around all of nyc with the ad. i have no idea how many taxis there actually are in nyc, but 175 seems like a pretty small percentage.
walking home from the grocery store the other night–a walk that is literrally just half a block–i remembered the ads and thought, “oh, i need to be on the lookout.” within the next minute that it takes me to get home i saw not one but TWO taxis displaying “WAR IS OVER!” i attempted to snap a photo with my iPhone and only then did i realize just how difficult capturing these ads with a good photo was going to be even under the best of circumstances.
the next day i went walking, watching the passing taxi’s like a hawk. nothing. no yoko. i must have looked at hundreds of taxis. not a single one of them displayed the ad. i went home feeling very discouraged, wondering how i could have possibly seen TWO of them the night before within the space of one minute. and when making a concerted effort to find them, they were nowhere to be found.
the next evening as i was on my way home from yoga, i noticed a WAR IS OVER! taxi parked just across the street from my building. there were no lights on, and no driver present. even though it was dark out, i ran upstairs to retrieve my camera and came back in hopes of at least getting something in my camera. the taxi was still there and by now it had turned it’s lights on, illuminating the ad. i rushed across the street and snapped a handful of photos. the conditions were not ideal but as hard as it was to find a moving WAR IS OVER! taxi, i knew i would probably never see a standing one again.
maybe chasing around the city for a WAR IS OVER! taxi is sort of the point here. it’s an ideal, a (n)utopian thought easily envisioned but much harder to grasp. it’s something to stand for. it’s something to imagine. it’s a collective dream slowly building towards reality. and maybe, just maybe, it’s sitting right outside our front door and all we have to do is walk across the street.