Arts in Society conference 2011

The sixth international Arts in Society conference will be held next May in… guess where?  Berlin!  I have submitted a proposal for a paper that will present a comparative study of political stickers from Berlin and New York City.

Here is my proposal:

For the last several years, sticker art in Berlin has dealt with issues that are highly political, such as national and trans-national identity, war and conflict, right-wing extremism, religious freedom, capitalism, gentrification, and surveillance.  In particular, “antifa” stickers from various anti-fascist organizations throughout Germany dot the city, covering most every imaginable surface of the built environment and addressing an elasticized range of topics.  Overarching themes include anti-authority, individual vs. State, solidarity, anarchy, and social and political autonomism.

Political stickers in NYC after the 9/11 terrorist attacks expressed scathing critiques of George W. Bush and his administration, U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the country’s never-ending need for oil.  With Barack Obama in office, political stickers like these have waned to a certain degree – something that is also due to municipal efforts to rid the city of graffiti.  Nowadays, stickers are often seen selling goods and services – from hip-hop music to skate decks, energy drinks, and clothing – undoubtedly reflecting America’s obsession with consumption and perhaps a flipped case of “the Man” stickin’ it back.  Most recently, political stickers in NYC comment upon national and global financial bailouts, Tea Party politics, and environmental issues.