Pegatinas Writing Assignment Part One: Annotating Images for Digital Archive

For the upcoming assignment at St. Lawrence University to have Marina Llorente’s students analyze political stickers from Spain, I decided to split the project into two parts. Part One will ask students to annotate the images, and Part Two will ask students to use the annotations to write about what the stickers mean (i.e., what are the larger issues that the stickers point to?). I’m doing it this way now because the last time we offered the assignment, students did well contextualizing the stickers but sometimes forgot to describe all of the textual and visual elements of the stickers. Those descriptions are important in a digital archive because people access images through word searches. If descriptive words are missing, access is curtailed. Descriptions fields are so thorny! If you think about it, one needs to list everything in the sticker, but one also needs to provide historical and cultural background and draw attention to issues beyond the sticker itself. Below is what I prepared for Part One of the writing assignment using this sticker from the Izquierda Anticapitalista (Anti-capitalist Left).

2014_spain_013-blog

ASSIGNMENT

For this assignment, you will be analyzing political street art stickers from Spain for a Street Art Graphics digital archive that is publicly available on the gallery’s Web site:

1. The first step is to annotate the images. This will help you with your analysis.

2. Open the image file in Preview and click on Tools/Annotate/Text.[1]

3. Choose a contrasting color and type large numbers onto all of the visual and textual elements in the image including each line of text, the images, logos, Web sites, and anything else. Number these elements in a way that makes logical sense. The most important elements should be listed first. Every element in the sticker is there for a reason, so it’s your job to figure them all out. After you number the elements, save and close the file. If you need to re-number anything, you’ll need to re-start with the raw image file again (once the numbered file is saved and closed, it locks the annotations in place). You’ll see below how #1A, #1B, #1C, and #1D all indicate text; #2 indicates a face; #3 indicates a logo; #4 indicates a Web site; and #5 indicates a QR code.

2014_spain_013

INSTRUCTIONS

#1 text: Type all of the text that appears in the sticker in a way that makes logical sense. For cataloguing purposes, the first letter of each word is capitalized, and the remaining letters in each word should be small (not capitalized). Use a dash between different sections of the text so that it reads in a normal, common sense way. If the text appears in Spanish, translate it into English in the same fashion. Any and all Spanish text in the sticker should be in written in italics.

#2 image/color: Identify who or what is being represented in the image (people, objects, buildings, graphic design elements, color, composition, i.e., everything!) and include any other information that seems relevant or important. Be as specific as possible. For example, in my description below, see how I put “photo portrait” of Angela Merkel instead of “picture,” “drawing,” “illustration,” etc. “Portrait” here also implies head vs. her entire body in action. I also noted who Merkel is and how the type font affects our interpretation of the text. In terms of color, most stickers are either black on white or black and other colors on white.

#3 logo: Describe the logo’s shape, color, etc. and what the logo suggests. Does it play off any other existing logo (i.e., is it a form of “culture jamming”)? HINT: Take a close-up screen shot of the logo and drag the image file into Google Images and see what you find. It’s a handy way to see if and how the logo relates to anything else. Sometimes, it’s the only way to find out!

#4 Web site: Describe the purpose or function of the organization that created the sticker.

#5 QR code: Find the Web site where the QR code sends you. Is it something else besides the organization’s main Web site? What is the purpose of the Web site?

ACTUAL EXAMPLE OF ANNOTATED STICKER

#1 text: Des Obedece – ¡Su Deude No La Pagamos! – Vota Anticapitalistas – Anticapitalistas.org; Disobey – ¡We Are Not Paying Their Debt! – Vote Anticapitalists! – Anticapitalistas.org

#2 image/color: Photo portrait of Angela Merkel, German politician and Chancellor of Germany (2005-present). Her face is covered by a large circle that hides most of her eyes, nose, and mouth. The use of a bold graphic type font suggests an urgent appeal for a response. Black and army green on white.

# 3 logo: Army green faceted star-shaped logo for Izquierda Anticapitalista or Anticapitalist Left.

#4 Web site: www.anticapitalistas.org for Izquierda Anticapitalista or Anticapitalist Left, a Spanish revolutionary, ecologist, feminist, and internationalist organization that fights against all kinds of exploitation, oppression, and domination over people and the environment. The full-color logo in red, purple, and green signifies the different ideas that the organization supports: socialists or communists (red), feminists (purple), and green movements (green).

#5 QR code: A QR code on the sticker points to the Web site http://www.anticapitalistas.org/elecciones2011/index.html, which encourages people to vote for an alternative anti-capitalist government during the Spanish general election on November 20, 2011. The Web site states, “El 20N desobedece” or “The 20N disobeys.

Part Two: Writing a 150- to 200-word analysis of the sticker, placing it in a social and historical context. More information to follow!

[1] Photoshop is also fine for annotating images.

Stuck-Up Pin-Up

The vintage press photos that I’ve been collecting lately regarding sticker culture in the United States seem to feature politicians in big dark suits standing next to campaign stickers or women posing with stickers (see also Republican Stickerkitty).

1957__stuck-up pin-up_01-sm

This United Press photo from 1957 has a caption taped on the back that states, “Stuck-Up Pin-Up. Playing tag with very pleasant results, shapely Elsa Howorka of Rego Park, Long Island, N.Y., decorates her swimsuit with a package of airline baggage stickers at Wantagh, L.I. The result is enough to gladden the heart of any freight handler, although there’s certainly no resemblance between Miss Howorka and a bag.”

1957__stuck-up pin-up02-back-cropped

One exception is a press photo of Joe and Marjorie Picket.

876 framed stickers in “Paper Bullets” exhibition

diagram-photo

German Spuckies 1980s: 18

U.S. Industrial Workers of the World Labor Union 1910s-1930s: 12

Misc. U.S. Politicians: 38

U.S. President Richard Nixon: 17

U.S. President George W. Bush: 18

U.S. World War II: 27

Arab Spring / Religion: 18

Ukraine / Maidan Protests: 12

Russia: 7

Falange Spanish Right-Wing Movement Anthem: 13

Mixed Themes: 45

U.S. War in Vietnam: 32

Race: 15

Immigration / Borders: 28

Environment: 42

Spain / Catalonian Separatist Movement: 51

German Political Parties: 67

Surveillance: 24

St. Pauli Football Club: 47

Die Linke German Political Party: 23

U.S. Gender 1980s: 43

Gender / Sexuality: 63

Capitalism / Economy: 47

ACAB: 43

Antifa: 55

Protest / Resistance: 71

IMG_3863

Paper leaflets today

In an article North Korea Warns South Over Leaflets, the NY Times reported last week, “North Korea opened fire on Friday after anti-Pyongyang activists in the South sent large balloons sailing across the border with leaflets criticizing the North’s government…. In a commentary published on Saturday [October 11, 2014], the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said that the leaflets were ‘an intolerable political provocation’ and ‘psychological warfare,’ and that Seoul and Washington were behind them, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.”

NKoreaLeaflets_Oct_2014_001

Check out earlier posts about my Paper Bullets sticker exhibition in Berlin and to see an example of a paper bullet from the Gulf War.

For more info and pictures about recent paper leaflets dropped in North Korea, see also South Korean Activists Drop Anti-Pyongyang Leaflets and USBs into North Korea (International Business Times) and Rival Koreas trade fire over propaganda balloons (UK Mail Online).

NKOREA-paper leaflets-sm

Photo by Ahn Young-Joon from the Associated Press (I will remove photo from post if the AP makes a stink.)

Marina Llorente – Fall 2014 Spanish writing assignment

SLU professor Marina Llorente will be having her students analyze stickers from Spain again this semester for her course Español 439: Literatura, cine y cultura de masas en la España contemporánea. She gave this assignment in the fall of 2012 (see previous posts on Catalonia stickers from 1970s-80s and stickers from Madrid, summer 2012, Solicitud de pegatinas españolas / Request for Spanish stickers, and New stickers from Spain for digital archive and writing assignment), and the students enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ve spent the last couple of months making a concerted effort to expand my Spanish sticker collection for this project and now have over 500 examples from different parts of the country (Madrid, Barcelona, Asturias, Galicia, etc.) dating from the 1980s to present day.

To prepare for the assignment, Marina and I met last week to go through my recent acquisitions from several contributors: the Spanish poet Jorge Reichmann, SLU professor of Spanish Steven White, Oliver Baudach at Hatch Kingdom, and Gabriel Garcia Ruiz and other contacts in Spain. Marina and I put together seven sets of eight stickers each representing a variety of socio-political themes: the environment, political parties, gender, the Spanish Constitution, workers’ unions, student strikes, and the Catalonian separatist movement. Students will work in pairs to write short bilingual description fields for each sticker that will be added to the Street Art Graphics digital archive. It’s a lot tougher than it may sound to write these description fields. One needs to list all of the visual and textual elements (subjects, logos, colors, composition, graphic design, etc.) and outline what these elements represent or mean. Descriptions are limited to 150 to 200 words each in English and Spanish.

Here is one from 2012 written by Michael Hickey ’13:

2012_spain_009

Solidaridad Con La Resistencia Minera — Izquierda Anticapitalista (Solidarity With The Miner’s Resistance — Anti-Capitalist Left)

“In the spring of 2012, in response to the Spanish government’s severe austerity measures, Spanish miners from Asturias united to raise awareness and call for justice. With high unemployment, the miners became guerrilla freedom fighters looking to save their jobs and the mining industry. The protesters went on strike in late May and shut down the country’s coal supply to protest the government’s decision to reduce mine subsidies by 63 percent. Anticapitalistas.org is the Web site for Izquierda Anticapitalista, an organization that fights against ‘oppression, exploitation, and the domination of people and nature.’ The sticker depicts the profile of a man wearing a knitted watch cap and a bandana to conceal his identity. The sticker also contains a QR code, easily scanned with a smart phone application to spread the resistance movement.”

En la primavera del 2012, en respuesta a las severas medidas de austeridad del gobierno español, los mineros españoles de Asturias se unieron para concienciar y pedir justicia. Con un desempleo alto, los mineros se convirtieron en guerrilleros por la libertad intentando salvar sus trabajos y la industria minera. Los manifestantes fueron a la huelga a últimos de mayo y cortaron el suministro de carbón del país para protestar en contra de la decisión del gobierno de reducir el subsidio minero al 63 por ciento. Anticapitalistas.org es el portal de la red Izquierda Anticapitalista, una organización que lucha en contra de ‘la opresión, explotación y la dominación de la gente y la naturaleza.”’La pegatina presenta el perfil de un hombre que lleva un gorro de lana y un pañuelo para ocultar su identidad. La pegatina tiene también un código QR que puede escanearse fácilmente con la aplicación de un smartphone para diseminar este movimiento de resistencia.”

Here’s another one from the same student:

2012_catalonia_013

Lluís Companys I Jover — 1883-1940

“This tribute sticker presents a photograph of Lluís Companys i Jover over stripes of yellow and red, two colors synonymous with Catalonia and the region’s long struggle to become an independent state. Companys was actually born in 1882 and was the leader of the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) or Republican Left of Catalonia. Founded in 1931, the ERC remains a nationalist party that seeks independence from Spain. Companys served as President of the Generalitat of Catalonia between 1933 and 1940. After the Spanish Civil War, he went to France but was later captured by the Gestapo secret police and sent to a Spanish jail where he was tortured and later executed by a firing squad. Companys was one of the most influential martyrs of the Catalonian separatist movement, and his death has inspired thousands of nationalists who seek independence.”

“Esta pegatina homenaje presenta una fotografía de Lluís Companys i Jover sobre rayas amarillas y rojas, los colores de la bandera catalana que remiten a la larga lucha de la región por llegar a ser un estado independiente. Companys nació en 1882 y fue el líder de Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) o la Izquierda Republicana de Cataluña. Fundada en 1931, la ERC sigue siendo un partido nacionalista que busca la independencia de España. Companys fue presidente de la Generalitat de Cataluña entre 1933 y 1940. Después de la Guerra Civil, se marchó a Francia pero capturado más tarde por la policía secreta de la Gestapo y enviado a una cárcel española donde fue torturado y más tarde ejecutado por un pelotón de fusilamiento. Companys fue uno de los mártires más influyentes del movimiento separatista catalán, y su muerte ha inspirado a miles de nacionalistas que buscan la independencia.”

 ———————————————————————-

As a side note, I needed to scan some additional stickers yesterday for the upcoming assignment. My associate at work, Carole Mathey, asked if it was a hassle to do all this scanning, but I described how it allows me to get to know the stickers a little better. Sometimes I see things in the digital image more readily than in print, and the scanning, cropping, and color correcting forces me to look very closely at each image. Carole called it “speed dating.” A muted, light grey version of Picasso’s Guernica is represented in the background of this sticker underneath bold red letters, for example, which I didn’t notice until I scanned the sticker.

spain_misc_historical_187

Paper Bullets – an example

In conjunction with the Paper Bullets exhibition that’s on display right now at Hatch Kingdom, I included an example of an actual paper bullet to show people what they look like (see lower right). This “confetti soldier” was probably dropped from the sky by U.S. military forces during the Gulf War in 1991.

IMG_3837

My colleague at SLU, Gisele El Khoury, helped again with the Arabic translations.  Here is the front.

paper_bullet_001a

تحذير!

هذه البداية فقط!

فعسى أن

تكون هذه قنبلة حقيقية

نرغب في المحافظة

على الأناس الأبرياء

وصدام يقودهم في

طريق الدمار والموت

المحتوم. نريدعإغلامهم

بالحقيقة!

صدام هو

السبب

نعم، إن القوات المتعددة الجنسيات على

قدرة تامة بشن هجوم صاعق في أي آن أو مكان!

تحذير!

Warning!

This is only the beginning!

Hopefully

this will be

a real bomb

We would like to protect

the innocent people

and Saddam is leading them

to the road of destruction and inevitable death.

We want to inform them

With the truth!

Saddam is

the reason

Yes, the multinational forces are fully able to launch a terrible attack at any time and in any place

Warning!

Here is what’s on the back.

paper_bullet_001b

الحقيقة

لقد عزلكم صدام عن العالم

الجامعة العربية

الجامعة العربية الإسلامية

وجمعية الامم المتحدة

جميعها أدانت أعمال صدام

وحشدت ٢٨ بلداً قوات لها

وذلك نتيجة لأعماله. وتشارك

بلدان أخرى في حشد قواتها

لا تجعل صدام سبباً لجلب الدمار

عليك!!

The truth

Saddam isolated you from the world

The Arabic League

The Islamic Arabic League

And the United Nations

All condemned Saddam’s actions

And 28 countries mobilized its forces

As a result of his work (I think they mean “actions”).

Other countries participate by mobilized its forces

Don’t let Saddam be a reason for bringing destruction on you!

I’ve done a fair amount of research on paper bullets, but one great source to begin with is anything by retired SGM Herbert A. Friedman, and in particular this essay called Falling Leaves. He was also interviewed about paper bullets in Cabinet Magazine in 2003. More to follow.

“Paper Bullets: 100 Years of Political Stickers from Around the World” exhibition opens 13 Sept 2014

HATCH KINGDOM STICKER MUSEUM: PRESS RELEASE

Paper Bullets: 100 Years of Political Stickers from around the World

13 September – 24 October 2014

Opening 13 September 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Paper Bullets front to Nadine

Publicly placed stickers with printed images and/or text have been used for decades as a form of political protest or to advocate political agendas. In the United States as early as the mid-1910s, for example, labor unions created the first “stickerettes,” or “silent agitators,” to oppose poor working conditions, intimidate bosses, and condemn capitalism. Later, during World War II, Allied and Axis countries dropped gummed “paper bullets” or “confetti soldiers” from the sky as a form of psychological warfare to demoralize both troops and civilians. And during the 1960s and ’70s American civil rights era, “night raiders” protested the war in Vietnam and U.S. imperialism, and called for racial and gender equity among blacks, whites, men, and women.

Drawing from the private collection of Catherine Tedford, the exhibition highlights political stickers from Canada, Egypt, England, Germany, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States dating from the early 20th century to present day. Topics include labor, animal rights, the environment, gender and sexuality, football, consumer capitalism, surveillance, and police brutality.

Political stickers in the exhibition support Catalan independence, for example, while others document the Arab Spring uprisings, Maidan protests in Ukraine, and the global Occupy revolution. Political stickers also comment upon the U.S. war in Vietnam, recent Russian elections, the current economic crisis in Spain, and the effects of urban development in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition also features stickers that focus on U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Catherine Tedford is gallery director at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. She first discovered street art stickers while visiting Berlin in 2003 and has since collected over 10,000 examples from countries around the world. She writes about political stickers on her research blog Stickerkitty and has presented papers at academic conferences in England, Germany, Scotland and the United States. She has collaborated with Hatch Kingdom on two previous exhibitions of street art stickers in Canada and the United States. This is her first sticker exhibition in Europe.

The exhibition is supported by a faculty research grant from St. Lawrence University.

For more information, contact Catherine Tedford at ctedford@stlawu.edu or Oliver Baudach, the Director of Hatch Kingdom, at oli@hatchkingdom.com.

Paper Bullets back

EPD exhibition review Politische Geschosse aus Papier by Nadine Emmerich

Deutschlandfunk radio interview Sticker-Ausstellung – Die Macht der Aufkleber with Oliver Kranz

Art School Vets “Paper Bullets – 100 Jahre politische Sticker aus der ganzen Welt” im Hatch Sticker Museum

Bright Trade Show Paper Bullets at Hatch Sticker Museum

JUST Urban Art Blog Paper Bullets – 100 Years of Political Stickers from around the World

Lodown Magazine PAPER BULLETS @ hatch sticker museum

RBB Online “100 Jahre politische Sticker” im Hatch Sticker Museum – Politischer Protest auf bunten Blättchen

Installation shots on Flickr


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