An Ordinary Building

Here’s an awesome project from 2006 we just stumbled upon, An Ordinary Building.


On the night of September the 20th 2006 a sign appeared on a building in the center of Viterbo, an ancient city in central Italy, not far from Rome. Apparently put by the City Council it has already caused quite a stir. The sign is in fact an art piece by controversial artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes (aka 0100101110101101.ORG). Looking as official as any other street sign, it reads:


Hundreds of unaware passersby have been staring at the sign: “It’s brilliant!” comments an elderly woman “But I have no idea how to interpret it.” While an outraged citizen living nearby comments, “This is just unacceptable, look around, there are buildings much worse than this one, especially in the suburbs.”

When asked to give an explanation of the sign, Franco Mattes, currently in New York, declared «It means what it says».

The artists behind this project Eva and Franco Mattes are hosting a conference in Barcelona next month that will feature talks from Improv Everywhere, Blu, Swoon, and Survival Research Laboratories, among others.

11 thoughts on “An Ordinary Building”

  1. I love this. There used to be a similar sign at Disneyland in Toontown (no longer there) that was a long extended version of “There is nothing on this sign. Except this message.” I wish I could find that photo.

  2. I love this! Its such an interesting piece I’d love to watch peoples reaction to the sign

  3. I love the “outraged citizen’s” quote:

    “This is just unacceptable, look around, there are buildings much worse than this one, especially in the suburbs.”

    How does that make it unacceptable?

  4. You might have fixed the title but the url still has the “an” “and” error in it

  5. this is so brilliant! it’s a commentary on what makes an historical landmark, piece of art, or notable location noteworthy. no one would know that this building existed if the plaque had not been there, and it makes you wonder if you would notice a famous landmark or artwork if you had never learned about it or if it didn’t have it’s own plaque to say why it is important. it brings to mind the dadaists who called attention to the mundane and simply put it in a museum setting and voila! it’s art!

  6. I think what the sign says is that sometimes being efficient with your buildings rather than making it oh so pretty is better.

    This goes out to the nameless and faceless heroes who got those roofs over our heads.

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