iZombie ‘Insult’ Stencils Surface Around the Lower East Side

Posted on: July 23rd, 2013 at 6:10 am by
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[Elizabeth Street]The street movement of insulting iZombies is starting to gain some momentum. Last month, we reported on the arrival of a sidewalk stencil by artist Adam Dare which “yells” at pedestrians to pay attention. Another dude, currently operating under the alias Peter Playdope, is taking a similar tack. He’s been printing pointed messages on downtown sidewalks for the past week. The stencil in the photo above, located on Elizabeth Street, reads “Look at you: too busy to check Instagram at home.”

We spoke to Mr. Playdope, and learned that 14 downtown spots were hit “as a means of bringing awareness around the issue of post-modern techno anxiety that can be seen around the streets of NYC.”

BOWERY BOOGIE: What prompted you to start stenciling these insults? Was there a specific incident?

PETER PLAYDOPE: I don’t think there was one specific event. It’s not so much about the physical aspect of “people are bumping into me” as much as people just don’t give a shit about anyone but their text/phone conversation or “feed du jour.” We’re too busy trying to keep up with all of these sources that we fail to actually gain anything out of the present.

BB: How do you handle pedestrians who bump into you because they’re preoccupied on their phones?

PP: I stand in front of people eagerly awaiting their impact. As soon as they’re about 5 inches from me, I just gently say “boo.”

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[Clinton Street]BB: What are the other messages in your arsenal?

PP: “Look at you!”…

“Too busy to check instagram at home”
“Too cool to take out your white earbuds”
“Too cool to take off your ‘Dre Beats’ ”
“Can’t ask for help, stares at Google Map”
“Can’t greet people wearing your alma mater”

BB: What’s the overall goal of this project?

PP: The overall goal of this project is to raise awareness of post-modern techno anxiety. It seems that in a short period of time we have become much less open to meeting new people and conversing with strangers than before. It’s one thing to walk fast with a sense of purpose, it’s another to walk fast, head down, earbuds in, constantly trying to keep up with the latest tweet, status update or picture. We don’t know our neighbors. Someone that could change your life may walk right by you and you’ll never have had a chance to say hi.

BB: Do you have other street work under this or another alias?

PP: No, I am not a street artist. Ironically, I am working on a mobile app called playdo.pe that lets nearby people play games with each other to break the ice. Our goal is to connect people on the same block using social data (common address book contacts, facebook, twitter) and let them interact over casual games before chatting. The face that’s in the stencil is the face of Peter Playdope, which also forms the “op” of the “playdope” logo.

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