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Pac-Man-like graphics pop up on CTA emergency signs

Here's good one from my friend Eric:

"The CTA "In Case of Emergency" MacPaint-like graphics have always seemed a bit too large or busy to take in easily at a glance.  Maybe like some others, I tend to tune them out. 

So coming home last week, it took me awhile before clueing in to the guerrilla pop art going on here:


Pretty well done!


I'm especially fond of the Pac Man chase:


Not long after Eric sent me the above cell phone photos by email, Mike sent me this missive:

"Today on the train somebody wanted to take a picture of the cartoonish emergency exit instructions. There are four pictures, but someone has cleverly (in the same style as the originals ) replaced three of the pictures.

"One picture shows the train flooded with water, the other (2nd from top) shows the figure crawling on the floor and one figure emerging from the box next to the door and the lower picture shows a giant hand shaking the train as it approaches the platform. This was done on one car only, however, cleverly done."

OK, you bad bad train defacers out there. Let's fess up and tell me what you're up to. Got a Flickr site with more photos?

If you're interested in a reminder of what the emergency graphics really look like click on the continuation.


And this:



So yet more idiots think they have the right to deface public property, costing taxpayers at least a bit of money to repair?

Thanks for giving them the attention they likely want.

... and the attention they deserve. That's pretty funny. I'll have to start looking at these things.

I have to agree with Bob. That's pretty awesome and original.

Yes. They'll have to be fixed.

Otherwise, when the lights go out, and the poorly designed sound systems provide no aid, the riders will be hunched around the signs with lighters trying to find the nearest Pac Man dots to follow.

I don't know about more versions of these, but I do like the Flickr group Stick People in Peril. http://flickr.com/groups/stickfiguresinperil/

I think its hilarious...I've often thought about coming up with my own version of the "See something, Say something" posters...not quite on par with the emergency signs, but jsut as funny.

Speaking of how often CTA changes the signs, about 6 months ago, I saw on one of the buses a sign advertising jobs for people to help with the 2000 census, considering thats more than 8 years ago, it show you just how much attention to detail that the CTA has....


Kevin, et al.

They are indeed funny, and the CTA is indeed slow when it comes to signs, but I still don't get how some people just shrug off vandalism of public property. Sorry, but that's not acceptable. Yeah, I am being an old lady here, but mass transit is public property, not someone's art canvas. You want art on the El? Do it though official channels, then. Otherwise, obey the freaking law like everyone else should.

you are a stupid old lady. you don't get freedom through official channels. you take it. long live vandalism!

I guess I look at it differently. I had trouble understanding some of the graphics on the original, but I got the pacman analogy right away....

They aren't destroying the exchange of information like it being covered with graffiti, but just presenting it in a more humorous way and in my opinion, clearer....


The mature, solid citizen wants to agree completely with vise77, but in the end i think what they have done here is adding humor to a message that we otherwise ignore. Like Kevin inferred, the original message is not being destroyed, so much as played with.

Sadly, the CTA seems so screwed-up priority-wise, that they'll probably form a task force to investigate the matter; then have the signs replaced with $12 million high-tech vandal-proof signs while the entire system continues spiraling into the abyss.

As to you, blade, your comment to vise77 was a snotty-ass, rude and unprovoked insult. But i guess that should be expected from anyone juvenile enough to promote something as retarded as "long live vandalism!"

Ooooh...such the revolutionary you are. I hope your home gets vandalized some day...and your fat-assed momma's too.

Here's the thing. Any rule can be followed blindly. Any one. So, let's say someone defaces a sign, obscuring a word. You feel the information is important, and since the system is run down, you attempt to scratch the word back in next to where the word was obscured (or on top of it, or whatever).

Now, a police officer comes along and busts you for vandalism. Fair?

Art should be in much the same category. Instead of passing it off as simple vandalism, we should look at the statement being made or the method being used.

My favorite case of that was the guy cleaning off walls, writing things with the clean spots.

Now, my point is: a) these signs are mostly useless, because if you haven't read them before an emergency, you probably won't be able to, and b) in this case, the words weren't even being altered. Plus, they're redundant. Most people will see them every day and they'll fade into the background. I think that's what these artists are playing with.

So, the point is: don't merely point and say "vandalism." No matter how much we'd like life to be that simple, it isn't.

Besides, the CTA *still* has signs up referring to A and B trains. They're obviously in no hurry to fix signs.

I remain amazed that so many people accept vandalism, even on a relatively minor (and, I admit, enjoyable) scale.

To me, this is no different than leaving chicken bones on the floor. You simply do not deface or otherwise harm property that is not yours, no matter how small the markings might be, or how enjoyable the art (as in this case). At least, that's what my parents taught me, and that is what the law says. There can be no wiggle room. You would expect the same type of respect for, say, your garage or car, or you child's school, or the police station down the street.

Now, if you want to argue that the art is fun, or that it is not big of a deal, then you must extend the same courtesies to those vandals/artists who make creations that you might not like. Are you prepared to do so? If so, why not?

I don't mean to make too much of this, but the CTA is already messed up enough without vandals/artists deciding to put their creations onto property owned collectively by the taxpayers, not by any one individual.

Now, if only the CTA had the same sense of humor when designing these signs ....

If you'll note, the Chicago Card Plus domain name registration has lapsed and the site has been replaced by ads. I guess the budget issues really *are* bad!

Chicken bones = pointing out the stupidity of the help signs?

No. Not by a long shot. That's not an analogy. That's absurd.

Do I accept art I don't agree with? Absolutely. I also differentiate between tagging and art. These signs clearly were playing with the medium and had some point in doing so. They were also entertaining along the way.

But to equate these altered signs with chicken bones thrown on the floor is lunacy.

Chicken bones = dirty, attracts insects, could cause people to slip, will stink up the car
Altered signs = breaks the monotony of the ride, shows the absurdity of the signs while not significantly altering their meaning, took effort and time

We could waste our money fixing it, but if it's a method of pointing out the uselessness of these signs, then the point should be to make them useful instead of complaining that they were altered. The people who altered them probably paid taxes (and fares) that were used for the CTA, same as you. They deserve the same rights to protest that use of the money that you're protesting now.

Flynn: Do you even know what vandalism is, then?

Why should some self-styled artist decide that he or she is best qualified to add art to a public space owned by taxpayers? What right does that person have to make that decision?

If the signs are so bad, lobby the authorities to change them. That is how our system of government works. What you support is a very low level form of anarchy.

I don't care about the impacts of the actions. Vandalism is vandalism--it is a pretty simple concept, and the actions of this artist are against the law, just as littering the Red Line with chicken bones is.

If you do not believe me, I encourage you to actually look up the appropriate laws.

Tell you what: Next time a person defaces your garage door, you come back and tell me about unauthorized art and all that. (No, I've not had a garage door defaced, but you get my point, I hope.)

dethbunny, http://www.chicago-card.com still works.
were you going to a different domain?

deepkid, the Red Eye had an article this morning that mentioned the online glitch--that there were only ads at their site:
(please, someone add in the link or everyone cut & paste; sorry, can't do links)


I'm sure that you are a decent law abiding citizen that has never, even broken a law in your life. I'm sure that you've never driven over the speed limit at any time in your life either.

I'm also sure that no one has ever used the terms anal-retentive, stuck up or goody two-shoes whenever describing you.

We break laws every day. I don't know how many outdated laws there are on the books, but you see a story about them every once in a while.

For example, most every person in Illinois is a felon. According to a state law in Illinois, it is illegal to speak English; the officially recognized language is American.

So, Vise, off to jail for you! and me! and most everyone in the state.

Its all about perspective. Did it harm anyone? No. Did it in some way change or impair the information that was trying to be imparted? Not really

In the grand scheme of things, this is not really important.

I see a few things that I think are much more criminal. For example, I recently went with my elderly mother during lunch to the CTA headquarters to fix a problem with her chicago card. Never mind that you have to go to the second floor to get anything done.

On the first floor, CTA employee sitting behind a folding table with brochures. We head up on elevator that only goes to second floor. See two people sitting at desk that says "customer service". Ask question. they tell us to go to real customer service people. On our way there, one table with chicago card information with person behind it. Across from that table, two more tables with 2 more people with clipboards and forms behind table.

Then finally get to place where we can get problem taken care of (cashiers/people with computers).

I gotta wonder...out of those six people not at the cashier/computer counters...how many of those should really have jobs under the slimmer more cost effective CTA????? You know, the one where Ron Huberman look at all the jobs that directly impacted the running of the trains and buses. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, benefits, pensions, health care costs could be saved by not having those people there or by having them behind a counter where they could actually take care of people....now if you wanna talk criminal I'm there..

So, please get off the soapbox about vandalism, which according to the dictionary, it isn't,

vandalism is defined as the: willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property

defacement is defined as:
to mar the appearance of : injure by effacing significant details

and it would not be a good thing if I was on the jury since I don't see any injury or destruction and it didn't change the message.


Do we have any proof that the CTA isn't behind this? I mean besides the fact they seem to be humor-challenged.

These are fantastic, and I do think that anyone who decries this type of "vandalism" is being a fuddy-duddy - this kind of guerilla art is important, it has impact, it is fun, it has value. A gang tag on the side of a church? THAT is vandalism.

There's at least one more set running on the Red Line (noticed at Howard one night when the laughter was sorely needed). They are as follows:

#1: Tiny ninja cutting off figure's ear
#2: Car filled with figures, one figure crowd-surfing
#3: Extremely large hand picking up right hand car
#4: Conductor with devil horns and pitchfork looming over the damned (on the track)
#5: Figure jump-kicking the train off of the track.

I laughed out loud at this. It made my day. And thank you Anna for the additional sample.

My dreaded Red Line ride now has a mission to keep my my mind off the general discomfort.

Oh there are more out there, a LOT more.

I saw one where the lightning bolt electrocution orb was turned into aliens and they were hunting the stick guys with little lightning bolts!

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