Signs can be deceiving, and when they appear repeatedly over time in a new way, their meaning is transformed, qualified or revised. Violation illustrates this, capitalizing on short-lived misperception.

For a year I tested strategies to evade parking tickets in Providence, RI. One of the most ingenious and effective strategies I devised was to reuse the tickets I did collect. I discovered that once a ticket is placed on a car, the car won't be re-ticketed that day for remaining in that spot. Essentially that citation, and the fine, purchases that parking place for the day. So if I saved the ticket, that bright orange flag that screams, “Violation!,” I could use it in another time and place, placing it on my windshield myself. The appearance of this sign served to convince the meter maid s/he’d already ticketed me for parking in that place on that day, and s/he would leave my car alone.

This strategy disrupts expectations, subverting meaning attached to appearances, much like the camouflage of insects. Adaptation and reuse are at work again, too.

What follows is how it worked (sequences excerpted from the book Violation, which documents the project).