Chapter 10: Certain Snakes
Los Angeles, CA
Matthew Brannon’s series of billboards, entitled Certain Snakes, subverted the traditional strategies of advertisement commonly employed on billboards (scale of text, consistency of font, color, and motif). In each billboard, he suggested the announcement for a new film, television show, or mini-series, while using absurd circuitous language for these non-existent works. At first glance, the content was camouflaged by the visual legitimacy of the scale and layout, though in attempting to decipher these ads, the viewer was thwarted: endless possibilities of interpretation could be generated. This approach is characteristic of Brannon’s work, which is often based upon literary theory and the confusion of advertising/design tropes.
As the final chapter of the two-year cross-country journey westward, Brannon’s billboards played on the disillusionment of hopes and dreams associated with heading west, particularly to Los Angeles. In reality, the fantasy of this city becomes ever more opaque and intangible.