As part of the 20th anniversary events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall, graphic designers Lesley Moore were invited by the History Forum 1989-2009 to create a poster for the Geschichtsforum09 poster installation 89 Plakate.
The Geschichtsforum09 festival held at the end of May in Berlin centred on the political, cultural and social preconditions and consequences of the events of 1989 comprising a diverse programme of lectures, discussions, workshops, performances and exhibitions.
The outdoor poster installation reflected on changes in the semantics of words and images, exactly 20 years after the falling of the Berlin wall. More than 30 designers and artists from East/West Germany and beyond were invited to comment via slogans and imagery, on the events of 1989, their prehistory and consequences.
For their poster, Lesley Moore (Karin van den Brandt and Alex Clay) worked with the theme of Surveillance. In their words:
"As the position of the nation-state has weakened, the power of private companies has increased. Citizens of former communist regimes in Eastern Europe can testify to that. In surveillance terms this has meant a shift from intimidation and control of citizens to seduction and manipulation of consumers. Where people were formerly segregated as to their beliefs and politics, they are now defined as different commercial target groups.
But there is another development that has caught our attention: surveillance on the World Wide Web. It is interesting that the internet originated only a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall, and at the same time erasing a lot of other borders. Arguably, the internet has brought people closer to each other, with positive and negative aspects. This intimacy triggers the voyeur in us; we are constantly seeking new connections, trends and oddities. We are more and more surveying each other in fact.
In our search eagerness we are unconsciously leaving traces of our personal preferences behind, like buying patterns, political and religious beliefs and sexual bias. For example, Google can now detect flu epidemics faster than any other institution based on internet search terms. This is a fascinating and, at first glance, a positive effect of internet surveillance. But when exploited for less noble means, this kind of information can be dangerous. Who's out there watching to make sure that doesn't happen?"
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