iZombie ‘Insult’ Stencils Surface Around the Lower East Side

Posted on: July 23rd, 2013 at 6:10 am by

[Elizabeth Street]

[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.”

[Clinton Street]

[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.

Recent Stories

‘NYPL Sings’ Another Kids Record

Here’s a rare instance of bookworms making earworms. NYPL SINGS is the latest album to come out of the New York Public Library (yes, you read that correctly). It’s an upbeat record geared towards kids, but enjoyable for everyone (we’re partial to track 10,”The Library Song”). Each song represents a different way for caregivers to introduce their […]

‘Matter of Instinct’ Barbershop Begins Trimming on Orchard Street

For the ground floor of 122 Orchard Street, the brief foray into a storefront office has concluded. Instead, the space has returned to its previous function as an upscale salon (remember Misin Shin?). Matter of Instinct debuted on the block, just north of Delancey Street, last week. The masculine man haunt boasts plenty of wood, […]

‘Yaf Sparkle’ Closes its Original Orchard Street Store

Yaf Sparkle just vacated its five-year-old store on Orchard Street. This had been the flagship for the jewelry store until last Feburary when it expanded below the Delancey Divide. You’ll recall that Yaf Sparkle opened at 249 Broome Street in what was formerly a Chinese laundromat (Sun Kwong). Retail is now consolidated; this is now […]

Drill Rig Spotted Outside Future 700-Foot Towers Behind Lands End II

Let the drilling begin. The enormous development behind Lands End II might be in a holding pattern, but things are hearing up. It is here that L+M Partners and the CIM Group hope to construct a 68-story residential building comprised of two towers. A token Davey Drill vehicle was spotted curbside on South Street last weekend. […]

Extra Butter Teams up with Adidas for Sneaker Pop-Up on Stanton Street

Thanks to Extra Butter and Round Two, Hell Square is now attracting sneakerheads and street-style seekers. Tapping that enthusiasm, the newish owners of 101 Stanton Street plugged the recent vacancy of Ma Non Troppo with an Adidas pop-up shop. The store is essentially a stunt to sell the new collaborative “Extra Butter x Adidas” sneaker. […]