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Billboard ballet: Clear Channel donates ad time for public art project

April 22, 2009 |  5:59 pm


Starting Friday, drivers may start noticing something strange happening on the Clear Channel billboards around Los Angeles. Rotating with the digital ads for fast food and auto insurance will be an eight-second spot promoting an experimental dance project.

The advertisement will feature images from "Underwater Ballet," a digital film directed by Liz Goldwyn and starring dancer Deanna Beasom. Since L.A. prohibits moving images from being shown on billboards, the ad will display eight seconds' worth of still shots as well as a URL where people can go to watch the entire movie.

The "Underwater Ballet" promos will be shown on 86 billboards around the city, including parts of the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Boulevard, 3rd Street, Miracle Mile as well as parts of Santa Monica and Venice. They are scheduled to run for approximately one month.

"I was thinking about the city's advertising landscape, and I wanted this to be my small part to change that," Goldwyn told Culture Monster.

Clear Channel is providing the ad space free of charge, according to Aaron Rose, who produced the project with Goldwyn. The movie was completed two months ago, but the company only agreed to the promos earlier this month. 

"Underwater Ballet" features the dancer performing various ballet numbers in a simulated underwater environment. The movie was filmed using the Phantom HD Camera, shooting at 1,000 frames per second to create the slowed-down feeling of someone moving underwater. (The director digitally combined scenes of the dancer with separate shots of Alka-Seltzer bubbles.)

Fashionistas should take note: The dancer will be wearing couture by Juan Carlos Obando.

In New York, pedestrians will be able to see the entire "Underwater Ballet" on a billboard in Times Square. Clear Channel will run the movie two times per hour for one week starting May 1.

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from "Underwater Ballet." Credit: Liz Goldwyn.