a search for unclaimed territory in the urban skyBy the City/For the City Competition EntryWouldn’t it be great if 50% of the surface area on existing NYC billboards were given over to artists, turning the city into a massive urban gallery with ever-changing installations? Rather than withdrawing half of the city’s existing advertising space and replacing it with art, THE BACKBOARD PROJECT would take advantage of the signs’ leftover and neglected areas. Consider the implications of legitimized tactical urbanism on a scale much larger than the ubiquitous cow parades—and also more localized. The hundreds of billboards throughout the city represent a vast untapped potential for artists in search of a forum. Whether in terms of situation or structural design, each would present a unique opportunity for the vision of an artist to emerge from an underutilized-but-omnipresent figure in the urban landscape. In turn, the backboards might become focal points in their host neighborhoods, serving to disperse the city’s inhabitants—and visitors—throughout the five boroughs along a disparate but interconnected web of exhibitions.