Another page for the Re-Writing the Streets zine beautifully designed by Amy Hauber.
My friend Amy Hauber at SLU is helping with the graphic design for the Re-Writing the Streets exhibition zine. Here is what she did with the photograph from my previous post for the page spread on U.S. historical political stickers. We hope to send this puppy to the printer in the upcoming week!
I’m making a sticker zine for the Re-Writing the Streets traveling exhibition. I used to make a lot of zines with students when I taught bookbinding and a course on artists’ books. Back then we used old-fashioned copier machines, scissors, and glue sticks. Now I’m using Photoshop software and trying to learn a little InDesign, and it’s a lot more complicated. It will look good when it’s done, though. A friend of mine at school is helping with graphic design, too, thankfully. Of the over 800 stickers in the show, I’ve selected about 250 for a 28-page zine. I’ll probably have to narrow it down further, however, in order to make sure there’s enough room for text and photographs. Here is one of the pages I finished today listing some of the artists in the show. Back to scissors and glue sticks!
I haven’t had much time to post on Stickerkitty lately, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping busy with other things. I heard recently from SLU professor of modern languages, Marina Llorenta, that she’d like to repeat the assignment we created in 2012 to have her students conduct research on political stickers from Spain for her course on “Literature, Film, and Popular Culture in Contemporary Spain,” a project that later turned into an SLU art gallery exhibition called Pegatinas Políticas, which you can read about here. To prepare for the upcoming assignment this fall 2014 semester, I have been keeping an eye out for any sources from which I could acquire new Spanish stickers for her students to analyze. Last November, I contacted close to 30 Spanish political and grassroots organizations via their Facebook Web sites without much response. One group, the Popular Unity Movement Against Crisis, sent me 19 fantastic digital image files but didn’t send any physical items. Marina and I agreed we wanted the students to study the actual paper or vinyl stickers in real life, however, so my searching continued.
I’ve had much better luck finding Spanish stickers this spring. I contacted another SLU professor of modern languages, Steven White, who is currently in Madrid directing the SLU off-campus study program. He made contact with someone via eBay.es to help acquire a set of Spanish stickers dating from the late 1970s to present day (click here to view 31 stickers). A few of the 1970s stickers depict Adolfo Suárez, the first democratically elected prime minister of Spain after General Francisco Franco’s 41-year dictatorship. Suárez just passed away in March of 2014, and Steven thought perhaps that’s why these stickers appeared so recently on the market.
There are several Catalan independence movement stickers in the group, and from the same dealer we also acquired a set of eight historical stickers by the Direccion General de Juventud y Promocion Sociocultural that promoted the new Spanish Constitution of 1978. The sticker, Viva La Constitucion, La Soberania De España Reside En El Pueblo, means “Long Live The Constitution, The Sovereignty Of The People Living In Spain.”
Steven, a poet himself, is friends with the Spanish poet and sociologist Jorge Riechmann who helped contribute several stickers relating to current environmental issues. The sticker from Ecologistas En Acción (“Ecologists in Action”) states, Si No Reducen Las Emisiones, No Nos Representan,or “If You Do Not Reduce Emissions, Do Not Represent Us.” A total of 47 new stickers from Steven White and Jorge Riechmann can be viewed here.
Other stickers that have come in during the past couple of weeks represent various political parties and organizations, such as the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labor), the Izquierda Anticapitalista (Anti-Capitalist Left), the Liga Estudantil Galega (Galician Students’ League), the Galiza Nova (the New Galicia), the Partido Comunista del Pueblo Castellano (Communist Party of the Castillian People? or Peoples of Spain?), and the Esquerda Unida (United Left). One can get a pretty good lesson in the range of Spanish political parties and Spanish autonomous communities by studying these stickers. Os Nosos Dereitos Non Se Recortan from the Esquerda Unida sticker below is Galician for “Our Rights Are Not Cut.”
And my sticker pal, Oli Baudach at Hatch Kingdom, is originally from Barcelona. He was there recently and sent me a bunch of new Catalan stickers. The one below depicts the Catalan donkey, a symbol often used in reaction to the Spanish symbol of the Osborne bull, superimposed on top of the red and yellow striped Senyera flag with a blue star, or Estelada blava of the Catalan independence movement.
All told and with the help of friends and others, there are now 139 new stickers from all over Spain dating from the 1970s to present day for Marina’s students to analyze and write about. I will fine-tune the assignment for the fall of 2014. Last time, we had the students write short essays of about 500 words each per sticker, as well as even shorter versions of about 150 words each that would be used as description fields or metadata for the Street Art Graphics digital archive. For some reason, the students often wrote two separate, unrelated pieces. Typically, they did a fine job contextualizing the historical and cultural content of the stickers, but not such a good job describing what was being depicted in each sticker and what those depictions signified. In that regard, some of the basic information for each sticker was missing. Cataloguing can be a challenge; one needs to identify the visual and textual elements, describe their significance, and outline the larger issues that are pointed to in each sticker.
As a side note, I recently discovered the Centro de Recuperación de Pegatinas, an Aragon-based center that has catalogued and archived over 40,000 Spanish stickers. They did posts on Adolfo Suárez, the miners’ march of 2012, and an exhibition of stickers related to Picasso’s Guernica painting, all of which feature stickers in my collection.
Yesterday while biking around Prenzlauer Berg and heading toward Wedding, I came across another rash of mysterious directional stickers on sign poles along Eberswalderstraße.
This was after finding directional stickers last spring further south along Stresemannstraße and turning onto Zimmerstraße. The stickers are typically orange (or faded orange) with an arrow or arrows pointing straight ahead or turning left or right.
A couple of times, there would be a blue triangle nearby pointing in the same direction, as if the streets are telling us something.
I also found two orange arrows last year by Marianneplatz on Bethaniendamm. On all three occasions, I photographed the directional stickers using my Canon SX 280 HS camera with built-in GPS unit, so you can see pictures and their locations on this Flickr map.
This morning, I looked at the photos I took yesterday. I didn’t see it at the time, but that blue triangle appears again on a few sign poles, too.
Weird! Three separate locations in the city, but what’s in common?
This semester, I asked one of my students, Rebecca Clayman ’17, to do research and write descriptions for a series of four Egyptian stickers from the Arab Spring protests for the Street Art Graphics digital archive (scroll down and click on “Egypt”). Since neither of us reads or speaks Arabic, Rebecca interviewed Gisele El Khoury, the director of St. Lawrence University’s Language Resource Center and Arabic professor. Dating from the beginning of the uprisings in 2011, the stickers are in bright bold colors: blue (“electoral process”), purple (“freedom”), green (“democracy”), and red (“social justice”). Gisele provided the Arabic script and English translations for each sticker, and Arline Wolfe, the library’s arts metadata technician, provided subject headings using her standard set of controlled vocabularies (U.S. Library of Congress, etc.). Here is one example of the team effort:
“The Arab Spring revolution in Egypt fought against the thirty-year regime of President Hosni Mubarak through anti-government and pro-democracy protests. Inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia weeks beforehand, the Egyptian protests began in January 2011. This sticker, written in Egyptian colloquial Arabic, is one in a series of four with colorful political messages. The empowering slogan at the top of each sticker من دلوقتي حاعرف حقي means ‘Starting this moment, I know my right.’ In the center, the phrase العملية الانتخابية translates to the ‘electoral process.’ At the bottom, the text يعني صوتي أنا يعيّن رئيس الجمهورية means ‘my voice (vote) will decide the president of the republic’.”
During subsequent discussions with Gisele, she showed me an amazing interactive timeline related to the Arab Spring dating between December 19, 2011, and December 17, 2012. Produced by the Guardian, The path of protest outlines “protest/government response to protest,” “political move,” “regime change,” and “international/external response” for hundreds of different events spanning 17 countries with links to full articles in the Guardian for each event.
In the fall of 2014, Gisele will be teaching a three-week course unit on the “Arab Spring through Graffiti,” and she and I are talking about various mapping techniques for our respective street art projects.
Special thanks to Rebecca, Gisele, and Arline for their work on this series of stickers.