Billboards are omnipresent in the contemporary city. Some of them are almost as big as small apartments. This must have inspired the Belgian artist Karl Philips to start his project ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, in which he transforms urban billboards into small parasite apartments for urbanites.
His series of three mobile billboard houses are based on the characteristic trailer billboards. Philips built three micro-apartments for urban nomads. Thanks to the ads on the walls of their temporary house the inhabitants make some money, which helps them to make a living out of living.
When the houses drive around the city no-one will notice that someone lives behind the huge commercial expressions. Also when parked, a collection of three of these houses look more like ‘ordinary’ advertising trailers than a village of caravan residents, which stresses the irony of the contemporary city. Apparently it’s normal to have billboards on trucks driving around, but there’s hardly any place for people with a nomadic lifestyle.
Karl Philips has a fascination for urban billboards. In the past he built an amazing apartment on the back-side of a huge billboard somewhere in Belgium. The guerrilla parasite shelter was invisible from the street but provided a small, cosy and temporary place for one person. The project also reminds us of Scribe’s more commercial billboard house in Mexico City served as a residency for graphic artists.