On the street, we come across posters without warning. The unexpectedness of their message is a powerful tool in the art of political persuasion. ‘Call to action’ posters are most effective when they appear in rapid response to current events. Conceived and designed within hours — or, at most, a few days — the rough look of these posters adds a sense of urgency to their message. As soon as they enter public space, the posters are at risk of being ripped down or papered over. They have value to most viewers only for as long as their information remains relevant.
Bill-posting is an illegal activity. Distributing and pasting up posters in public places is a covert operation, mostly undertaken late at night or in the early hours of the morning, usually requiring a team effort. In the 1980s, Sydney councils blitzed illegal street posters with fines, and activists had to find alternative sites for their posters on university campuses and in medical and community centres.