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Starting in 2013, the people of Sydney, Australia, began to notice something a bit odd around their city. There were some strange (and often very funny) signs popping up in public spaces. They probably made a lot of people smile, but most people didn’t have a clue who was behind them.

That person is Michael Pederson, and he uses his background in art, film, and music to inspire his funny, conversational signs. Take a look at some of his work and try not to smile.

Okay, this one is a little unsettling.

Okay, this one is a little unsettling.

Because they’re exposed to the elements and to other people, many of Pederson’s pieces don’t last more than a month. But that’s okay, he says. In that time, plenty of people see them, and there’s something nice about the fleeting nature of this public art. It teaches people to look more carefully, but also not to take anything for granted.

With signs like this, half the fun is how official they look. Some people might not have even noticed this!

With signs like this, half the fun is how official they look. Some people might not have even noticed this!

If you’re feeling stressed, seriously try this. It works! It’s public art and a public service.

If you're feeling stressed, seriously try this. It works! It's public art <em>and</em> a public service.

So why do all this if the pieces aren’t even going to stay put? For Pederson, it’s more about helping people notice their surroundings. “I think we travel through urban space without really seeing it most of the time,” he explained. “I like the idea of interfering with the overly familiar background blur.”

Admit it. You’ve needed this.

Admit it. You've needed this.

And we’ve all been in situations where we’ve wished for an emergency exit.

And we've all been in situations where we've wished for an emergency exit.

(via BoredPanda)

You can see more of Pederson’s work on his website. We recommend looking through the whole thing.

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