Tongue-in-cheek billboards poke fun at election

Posted at 1:19 AM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 01:19:42-04

CINCINNATI — What’s the meaning behind "Blah blah blah"?

In Cincinnati, artist Anne Thompson said, it’s about politics.

No, really.

You might have seen one of Thompson's eye-catching installations around Cincinnati this month: billboards and LED light displays that look like advertisements or traffic signs at first glance, but reveal unusual slogans on further examination. A billboard on I-71 East reads "BLURRED" in letters that fade from blue to red; a display in Washington Park simply says "Blah blah blah" in flashing orange lights.

One of these installations alone is a curiosity, but the nine separate pieces together form The I-71 Project, a collaborative artistic project that "both mimics and critiques the theater of red-vs-blue politics during the U.S. presidential campaign," according to the Contemporary Arts Center

Thompson, the creator of "BlahBlahBlah," is one of six artists who contributed their clever, irreverent, nonpartisan entries to the collection.

"(This election) is just a ‘blah blah blah’ kind of situation," Thompson said of her own piece. "There’s a lot of conversation. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense; sometimes there is too much of it. People feel overwhelmed."

In a state where red and blue are always engaged in a close electoral tug-of-war, Contemporary Arts Center curator Steven Matijcio said he believes The I-71 Project is especially engaging.

"Ohio is a major battleground state in terms of the election we wanted to do a project that was timely, that was relevant, that spoke to the political environment but did so in a very unique, non-traditional way," he said.

The nine installations will stay in place until Election Day, when the blah blah blah of 2016 electoral politics will hopefully come to an end.