Archive for the 'Berlin' Category

“Paper Bullets – the expanded version” at Neurotitan Gallery in Berlin, Germany

In the summer of 2019, I was given the opportunity to present an expanded version of my Paper Bullets exhibition at the acclaimed Neurotitan Gallery in Berlin, Germany. Oliver Baudach, the director of Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum, was the driving force that made the project possible. It was an enormous undertaking, in that for the first time I drew from my entire collection of thousands of new, unused, historical and contemporary political stickers from around the world.

Neurotitan is a non-commercial, alternative art gallery that features urban art. Housed in the Haus Schwarzenberg in Mitte, the gallery dates back to 1995. The entrance to the gallery is located away from the street, and the walls leading up to it are covered with painted murals, wheatpastes, stencils, yarn bombs, and stickers. Every public street art tour in Berlin stops here to see the ever-changing outdoor displays and the rotating exhibitions inside. I knew when I first saw the space in the mid-2000s that I wanted to show my stickers there, and my dream came true this year.

Exhibition planning

Even though for the past 15+ years, I’ve scanned over 11,000 stickers (which you can view in Flickr albums), I started scanning any other un-scanned stickers in January 2019 to make sure I had image files for everything that would go into the show. The photo below shows one of three pages of notes related to scanning several hundreds of additional stickers this year.

I’m now in the process of typing this info into my “simple spreadsheet” (now 15 pages long). The lines in red indicate the scanning done this year and the image files that will need cropping and color adjusting. Yipes. It will be useful for when I go to publish a book, though!

In early May 2019, I started making selections for the show. Since classes at St. Lawrence University were over, I was able to use the printmaking studio there to set everything out and see all of the groupings side by side. I asked SLU faculty and students in Modern Languages and Global Studies for their input on my selections to make sure I had organized everything correctly, especially for stickers from countries other than the US and Canada. A contact in Spain (GG) provided valuable input and caught a few mistakes (i.e., right-wing groups often appropriate left-wing images and text, which tripped me up a few times with the Spanish stickers).

Oli also came to St. Lawrence later that month to put together the SHE SLAPS traveling show, and we had enough time during his visit for him to go through my selections. He speaks Spanish and German and helped with stickers from those countries, caught a few dupes, and made some other recommendations.

We ended up with over 2,200 stickers from over a dozen countries grouped on 54 sticker boards by geographic location, date, and subject.

I went to Berlin at the end of July to frame the sticker boards with Oli, and Neurotitan staff installed the show. The gallery itself is huge with about 285 running feet of wall space and lots of big windows for natural light.

Opening night


Exhibition announcement

English text panel

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

-the expanded edition-

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, for example, as early as the mid-1910s, labor unions created the first “stickerettes” or “silent agitators” to oppose poor working conditions, intimidate bosses, and condemn capitalism.

Later, during World War II, western 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. During the 1960s and ’70s American civil rights era, paper “night raiders” protested the war in Vietnam and U.S. imperialism, and called for racial and gender equity among blacks, whites, men, and women. Colorful, lightweight German spuckies have also been used for several decades to combat fascism and sexism and to comment on environmental issues.

Drawing from the private collection of Catherine Tedford (US), the exhibition features over 2,270 original, unused political stickers from Canada, Egypt, England, Germany, Indonesia, Spain, Ukraine, United States, and other countries, dating from the early 20th century to present day. The exhibition is organized by subject, including labor and workers’ rights, gender and sexuality, racism, surveillance, war and conflict, the environment, and police brutality. Stickers are also grouped by geographic location and date.

Catherine Tedford, gallery director at St. Lawrence University, first discovered street art stickers while visiting Berlin in 2003 and has since collected over 12,000 examples from countries around the world. She writes about political stickers on her research blog Stickerkitty and has presented papers at academic conferences in Canada, England, Germany, Scotland, and the United States. In 2014 and 2015, two smaller Paper Bullets exhibitions were presented at Hatch Kingdom Sticker Museum, Berlin, Germany. Variations of Paper Bullets have also been featured in the U.S. at Susquehanna University (PA) in 2015 and at Central Washington University (WA) and St. Lawrence University (NY) in 2017.

In 2015, St. Lawrence University received a multi-year grant from the U.S. Council of Independent Colleges through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize the stickers for a Street Art Graphics digital archive, which is made available for education and research. To view the digital archive, visit

German 103 writing assignment at SLU – fall 2018 – three examples

In the fall of 2018, St. Lawrence University students in Dr. Brook Henkel’s German 103 class again incorporated contemporary street art stickers from Germany for a writing assignment called “Politische Plakate und Aufkleber in Deutschland” (similar to what his students did in the fall of 2017). As before, I introduced the assignment by giving a brief talk with slides describing the ubiquitous sticker culture in Berlin, focusing on topics such as urban development, gentrification, police authority, surveillance, and identity politics. Students then came to the gallery where I work to look at three sets of original, unused stickers from my collection:

  • 34 political stickers that I picked up in May-June of 2017 at a squat/community resource center in Berlin called Infoladen Daneben;
  • 58 political stickers that Oliver Baudach sent to me in May of 2018 from Berlin’s annual May Day festival and from other sources (Oli is the founder and director of Hatch Kingdom in Berlin, the world’s first and only sticker museum); and
  • 47 political stickers that Oli sent to me in August of 2018.

Before coming to class, the students also read two short articles that I wrote about SLU’s Street Art Graphics digital archive and about Hatch Kingdom:

Brook gave me three of the best examples of writing that his students did, which I’ll share below. In response to the assignment, he wrote:

“In all of my German language and culture classes, I try to give my students a sense of the robust culture of democratic politics and activism in Germany today. In a country still shaped by memories of fascist dictatorship under the Nazis and one-party socialist rule in the former GDR, Germans are far less likely than Americans to take for granted the benefits of a free, open, and democratic society. I’m enormously thankful to Cathy Tedford, Director of the Brush Art Gallery, for the opportunity to bring this culture home, by allowing my students to engage with authentic cultural materials related to contemporary German politics and activism. In both the Fall 2017 and 2018 semesters, Cathy gave a presentation and organized a gallery visit for my Intermediate German students to learn about and study her extensive collection of German political stickers and street art. By looking through her collection, students encounter a range of themes, from environmentalism to feminism, anti-fascism, and the politics of immigration. This work challenges both their skills in German language as they work to read and understand the political messages, as well as their knowledge of contemporary German politics. They select several stickers on a single political theme and work to compose an essay in German that provides a cultural, political, and historical context for understanding the political stickers and then develops a close reading of their verbal and visual strategies. The assignment works wonderfully as an impetus for developing, at once, new cultural knowledge, skills in formal analysis, and more sophisticated writing in German. The students tend to recognize the considerable challenge of the assignment, but are always motivated to push their abilities, since the materials seem so politically relevant.”

He also wrote:

“The one change I think I will make for next year is to have them do some short readings in German in advance related to the main political topics represented by the stickers. It would be good to have them get a sense for the relevant vocabulary and political issues in advance. I still like the kind of exploration and ‘figuring things out’ that happens as the students go around and try to decipher the stickers––in a way, like they would if they were encountering them as street art in a German city. But I still see the need to dedicate a bit of class-time and assigned reading in advance to get them to engage on a deeper level.”

Brook Henkel’s writing assignment:

On Friday, December 1 in class, we will be meeting with the Director of the Brush Art Gallery Cathy Tedford to study her collection of German political stickers. Our goal for this class will be for each student to identify three stickers of interest that have a similar political theme (anti-fascism, feminism, gay rights, anti-racism, environmentalism, economics, migration, refugees, specific political figures, etc.). Based on your common interests with others in the class, you will begin working in pairs to discuss, translate, interpret, and analyze your chosen images.

Due next Friday, December 8, will be your fourth and final essay, which will describe the cultural and historical context for your selected images along with a close analysis of one of the political stickers. Your essay should have a three-paragraph format:

  1. introduction of the political, historical, and/or cultural context in Germany referred to by the stickers (Here, you might need to do a little research online. When describing past events and conditions in Germany, pay attention to the proper verb tenses of “Imperfekt/Präteritum” and “Plusquamperfekt” and use each of the following conjunctions at least once: “als”, “nachdem”, “bevor”);
  2. introduction and close formal analysis of one of the images; and
  3. a discussion of all 3 images in general and commentary on their collective message and strategy as visually striking combinations of text and image.

Note: When you’ve completed either a full first draft or are working to polish a final draft, you are free to visit the German Writing Center in the Language Resource Center on the second floor of Carnegie Hall, Sundays through Thursdays from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. An advanced student in German will be there to read your complete draft and help you identify and correct any grammatical or stylistic mistakes.

das Plakat(e) = a poster adhering to outdoor surfaces for advertising, art, protest, etc.

der Aufkleber = an adhesive sticker or label, also used in political street art.

Here are the three examples of student writing from the assignment.

Feminismus by Rebecca Shyne, SLU Class of 2021

Deutschland hat eine lange Geschichte mit Frauen in der Politik. Die Frauenbewegung begann 1888 bis 1918 während Wilhelminismus. Nachdem die erste Welle von Feminismus in den USA und in Australien begonnen hatte, mochte deutsche Frauen sich in die Politik engagieren. Frauen wollten mehr Gelegenheiten für Studien und Lernen. Leider, in der Zeit von 1933 bis 1945, gaben die Nationalsozialisten den Frauen nicht viele Karrieremöglichkeiten. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wollte die deutsche Gesellschaft Frauen zu ihrer traditionellen Rolle zurückkehren. Bevor Frauen ihre Rechte zurück bekamen, wurde die National Organisation für Frauen gegründet. Durchweg die Mitte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, hatten Frauen ihre Rechten langsam bekommen. Als die Frauenbewegungen in Deutschland entstehen war, hat die Amerikanische Frauenbewegung am ersten entsteht. Die Gedanken von Frauen über der ganzen Welt und auch in Deutschland hatten ausgebreitet.

Das erste Foto spricht über Frauen und ihre Rechte. Es sagt in dickem Text „Gegen Rechte Hetze“. In der Mitte kann man eine Frau sehen. Sie heißt Ruby Rose und spielt die Rolle von „Rosie the Riveter“. Ruby Rose ist eine australische Schauspielerin, die in vielen Sendungen gespielt hatte. Auf ihren Armen hat sie ein paar Tätowierungen von einer Rose und Dinge über Liebe. Sie ist eine moderne Version von einer starken Frau, die beliebt und geliebt ist. Der Text auf der rechte Seite spricht über Frauen gegen Neonazis, rechte Hooligans, Parteien und Rassisten. Es ist eine Ankündigung für eine Kundgebung am Washingtonplatz in Berlin. Die Bilder benutzen rosa, weiß und schwarz in dem Foto. Der Stil der Fotos ist Punk und hat ein Rock-und-Roll Thema. Der Aufkleber ist auffällig und je mehr man sich es ansieht, desto mehre Auskunft man bekommen kann.

Die drei Aufkleber haben alle ein gleiches Thema: Frauen gegen schlechte Ideenlehre und Organisationen. Die Phrase, „sexistische kackscheisse“ spricht nur über Sexismus aber sieht wie der erste Aufkleber aus. Wir sehen rosa, schwarz und weiß für Farben auf beiden Bildern.

Die anderen Aufkleber benutzten die Farben ebenso, wie weiß und rot. Alle Bilder vertreten Frauenbewegung in moderne Gesellschaft. Frauen sind wichtig, bedeuten viel, und sollen eine Stimme in unserem täglichen Leben haben. Die Geschichte von Frauen ist nicht besonders gut oder einschließlich. Ohne Frauenschilderung, wurde die Welt von Männern geherrscht. Es ist wichtig, dass Frauen eine Stimme in dieser Gesellschaft haben.

Flüchtlingspolitik by Jayden Ladison, SLU Class of 2021

Als die Flüchtlinge im Sommer 2015 anfingen nach Deutschland zu reisen, hat Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel für sie eine Politik der offenen Tür geschaffen. Bevor diese Politik geschaffen wurde, hatten Deutschland und die Europäische Union die „Dublin-Politik” angewandt. Leider nachdem die Politik der offenen Tür eingesetzt wurde, hatte sich in Deutschland ein konservativer Standpunkt gegenüber Flüchtlingen entwickelt. Es gibt jedoch einige Hoffnung. Einige liberalen Demonstraten begannen mit Aufklebern, um die Akzeptanz von Flüchtlingen zu fördern.

Das erste Bild ist ziemlich klar. Es ist ein quadratischer Aufkleber. Der Hintergrund ist weiß mit einem dunkelen Flüchtlingsbett mit einem roten Kreuz darüber in der Mitte. Oben sind die Worte: „Wohnungen für alle!“ und darunten sind „Keine Flüchtlinge in Lager!“ Unter den Wörtern ist eine Informationswebsite im Rot. Es gibt ein paar Wortspiele darin. Das Wort „Lager“ bedeutet Camp und Magasin auf Deutsch, und so kritisiert mit einem Satz der Aufkleber viel über die deutsche Flüchtlingspolitik. Erstens, kritisiert es der Zustand der Gemeinschaftsunterkünfte in Deutschland. Die Gemeinschaftsunterkünfte sind nicht so gemütlich. Sie sind meistens renovierte Kaserne, die oft überfüllt sind. Die Betten sind auch nicht so komfortabel wie auf dem Aufkleber gezeigt wird. Dieser Aufkleber setzt sich eindeutig für bessere Bedingungen in den Gemeinschaftsunterkünften ein. Der Künstler des Stickers meint, dass Flüchtlinge wie Stock oder Dingen behandelt werden. Auch, die zweite Definition von „Lager“ ist für diesen Aufkleber wichtig. Der Künstler sieht auch Ähnlichkeiten zwischen den Flüchtlingen heute und jüdischen Menschen im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Der Künstler könnte vielleicht über die neue konservative Ideologie Deutschlands besorgt sein. Dies zeigt, dass Deutschland Flüchtlinge als „andere” behandeln wird, wie sie die Opfer des Holocaust behandeln. Der Aufkleber argumentiert, dass Deutschland nicht vergessen soll, dass die Flüchtlinge auch Menschen sind.

Der erste Aufkleber ist seinen Ansichten nicht allein. Viele Aufkleber wie diese sind in letzter Zeit beliebter geworden. Der zweite Aufkleber hat eine ähnliche Nachricht wie der Erste. Beide argumentieren, dass Deutschland für Flüchtlinge offen sein sollte und verweisen auch auf die Nazi Partei. Zuletzt der dritte Aufkleber wendet diese Idee auf der ganze von Europa an. Der zweite Aufkleber ist ein bisschen bunter als die anderen zwei, aber alle Aufkleber benutzen neutrale Farben. Grau, Weiß und Schwarz hebt sich von den bunten Aufklebern ab, die sie häufig umgeben. Es macht auch ihre Botschaften ernster. Alle diese Aufkleber zeigen, dass Flüchtlinge in Deutschland und Europa Willkommen sind. Wenn mehr dieser Aufkleber auftauchen, kann sich die Einstellung der Bürger Deutschlands zum Besseren ändern.

Bündnis 90/Die Grünen by Kamryn Ransom, SLU Class of 2021

Meine drei Aufkleber haben alle ein ähnliches Thema rund um Umweltbewusstsein. Mein Hauptaufkleber sagt: „Dem Klimawandel ist es egal, ob man ihn leugnet.“ Das Sprichwort auf dem Aufkleber ist ein Versprechen der Alliance 90 / The Greens. Die Alliance 90 / Die Grünen oder „Grünen“ sind eine grüne politische Partei in Deutschland. Die Partei­vorsitzenden sind Annalena Baerbock und Robert Habeck. Der Hauptsitz befindet sich in Berlin. Es wurde 1993 gegründet und konzentriert sich auf ökologische, ökonomische und soziale Nachhaltigkeit. Bevor das Bündnis 90/Die Grünen gegründet wurden, waren Die Grünen und das Bündnis 90 die grünen Parteien in West- und Ostdeutschland gewesen. Mein erster Nebenaufkleber sagt: „Ackergifte? Nein Danke!“ von der Landwende. Die Bürgerinitiative „Landwende“ wurde im 2001 als Reaktion auf eine massive Herbizidvergiftung gegründet. Das Ziel der Kampagne “Ackergifte? Nein, danke!” ist die Verwendung aller synthetischen Ackergifte zu verbieten. Ackergifte sind chemische Tötungsmittel, die gegen Pflanzen, Pilze, Insekten und Mikroorganismen auf den Äckern ausgebracht werden. Darunter sind hochgiftige Wirkstoffe, die Bienen töten und Menschen gesundheitlich schädigen. Mein zweiter Nebenaufkleber ist ein Bild von Groot von Marvel und sagt „Plant More Trees.“ Die Künstlerin ist eine Straßenkünstlerin aus Düsseldorf namens Matraeda. Matraeda verwendet geometrische Formen in ihrer Kunst.

Ich werde meinen Hauptaufkleber analysieren. Der Aufkleber ist ein grüner Kreis mit einem kleineren rosa Kreis. Im Vordergrund steht eine Sonnenblume. Unter der Sonnenblume sagt: „Darum Grün.“ „Warum grün“ steht für die Alliance 90 / The Greens. Die Mitte des rosa Kreises sagt: „ Dem Klimawandel ist es egal, ob man ihn leugnet.“ Auf Englisch heißt es: „ Climate change does not care if you deny it.“ Das Sprichwort war der Titel des Artikels auf ihrer Website am 27. August.  In dem Artikel heißt es, dass die Menschen sozial und politisch umdenken müssen, wenn wir nicht alle zum Scheitern verurteilt sind. Alliance 90 / The Greens versprach eine echte Alternative im Kampf gegen die Klimawandel-Leugner. Auf dem Aufkleber heißt es, dass der Klimawandel stattfindet, ob wir nun daran glauben oder nicht.

Alle drei Aufkleber sind durch Umweltprobleme miteinander verbunden. Die Aufkleber enthalten alle die Farbe Grün und ein Naturbild; eine Sonnenblume, eine Biene und ein Baumcharakter. Der Hauptaufkleber ist das Gesamtbild des Klimawandels. Bei den beiden anderen Aufklebern stellen sie dar, wie sich der Klimawandel auf die Umwelt auswirkt. Die drei Aufkleber zeigen die Wichtigkeit der Natur. Bienen liefern uns viele Nahrung und Bäume lassen uns atmen. Als ich ein Kind war, wurde mir die Wichtigkeit der Umwelt gelehrt. Uns wurde eine Geschichte erzählt, die Wichtigkeit der Natur zeigte. Die Botschaft der Geschichte war einfach. Nachdem wir weg gewesen waren, wurde die Natur immer noch hier. Ohne die Umwelt werden wir nicht leben. Deshalb ist mein Hauptfach Politik- und Umweltwissenschaft.

876 framed stickers in “Paper Bullets” exhibition


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


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


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 or Oliver Baudach, the Director of Hatch Kingdom, at

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

Mysterious directional stickers in Berlin

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.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.12.37 PM

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?


Antifa Jugendfront stickers from Infoladen Daneben

One of my students at SLU, Carolyn Dellinger ’16, is starting to catalogue the Antifa Jugendfront stickers from Infoladen Daneben that I scanned over the summer (see Berlin-based sticker collections in previous post).  From 79 original raw scans, I came up with a total of 48 edited image files consisting of 16 complete stickers, 4 full sheets of “pre-Photoshop” color-separated stickers, and various individual color-separated stickers and overlays.  Carolyn also created seven image files that are diptychs or triptychs to show the color separations side by side.  The 54 image files in this set can be viewed on my Flickr page for Stickerkitty’s collection (uncatalogued).


This is the first time I’ll be working with a student on more advanced cataloguing, and so it’s sort of a trial run for future Weaving the Streets & People’s Archive (WSPA) projects.  One of the long-term goals for WSPA is to develop a process to train students and others on how to gather and catalogue examples of street art for a digital archive.  The first step in cataloguing is to create standard metadata fields and terminologies.  (Metadata is data about data.)  In many cases, fields will be populated with the same metadata (i.e., creator = unknown, time span = 1991, geographic location = Berlin, Germany, etc.).  Students will then complete the more difficult fields, such as description, subject, key words, and themes.

Below is the outline for cataloguing the Antifa Jugendfront stickers.  Information in [brackets] will be used as is for every record.  Carolyn will create new metadata for the fields marked in bold.

  • Title [Antifa Jugendfront – and all or most of the main text on the sticker using a logical, “natural language” approach in approximately 10 to 20 words].  We’re using “Antifa Jugendfront” at the beginning of each record in order for the stickers to appear together in the digital archive.
  • Title-Alternative (any additional text that doesn’t fit in Title)
  • Title-Translation (try Google Translate and see what you get)
  • Creator [unknown]
  • Contributor [Antifa Jugendfront (Antifa Youth Front)]
  • Source [Infoladen Daneben, Berlin, Germany]
  • Time Span [1991]
  • Geographic Location [Berlin, Germany]
  • Language [German]
  • Class [graphic arts]
  • Type [sticker, spucki]
  • Format/Medium [offset lithograph – black and red ink on yellow paper]
  • Description (will need to create guidelines)
  • Curator’s Statement – (CT will write – mention both sets of individual stickers and paired stickers)
  • Key Words (will need to create guidelines)
  • Subject (Arline will do)
  • Themes (see attached handout)
  • Notes [Scanned by Catherine Tedford, August 2013.]
  • Cataloguer, Date [Carolyn Dellinger, SLU ‘16]
  • Digital Image File Name (original) (use the edited image files you created)
  • Digital Image File Name (new ContentDM name) (to be determined later)

I did some research last week on Antifa Jugendfront and was surprised and delighted to find that several examples of the stickers we’re cataloguing are also available online at the International Institute of Social History, based in Amsterdam.  I’ve never come across street art graphics catalogued to this extent, and for the geeks out there, the records have call numbers, as well as super geek MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) standards metadata (which stopped Arline in her tracks).

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 11.03.34 AM

The sticker Gegen Sexismus und Frauen-Unterdrückung ( is included in the IISH catalogue, but in this case it’s represented as a poster at 29.5 x 42 cm.  It’s also dated ca. 1989, so that confirms the time span we have listed in our database.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 11.09.09 AM

A full sheet of stickers is also included in the IISH catalogue, measuring 30.5 x 43.5 cm before they were trimmed to sticker size.  See

Infoladen full sheet

Berlin-based sticker collections

I went to Berlin this past August to scan street art stickers from Infoladen Daneben and the Archiv der Jugendkulturen, contacts I made from my earlier trip to the city in May-June through a faculty research grant from the German Academic Exchange Service.  I must have spent ten hours during the course of three days scanning stickers….


The first set of ~30 rare, original stickers from Infoladen Daneben dated back to the early 1990s and were all printed in black and red on yellow paper, though they didn’t have any sort of glue or adhesive on the back.


They’re actually called spuckis, and from what I’ve been told, you just lick the back and slap ‘em up!  The spuckis I’ve seen before tended to be fairly small with simple text and graphics, though a few similar contemporary spuckis are for sale on the Impact Punk Rock Mail Order Web site.  This fall semester, I’m going to have a student help me catalogue the ones from Infoladen Daneben for the Street Art Graphics archive.  The older spuckis were much larger, and while some were pasted intact on sheets of paper, others had been cut up so that what would have been printed in black were pasted on one page, and what would have been printed in red were on another page.  I.e., “pre-Photoshop” color separations for future print runs.


It looks like the same text, “Kampf dem Faschismus! (Fight against Fascism!), was used on these two different spuckis.

Infoladen_daneben_08-13_057 Infoladen_daneben_08-13_001

I also scanned close to 500 stickers that are housed at the Archiv der Jugendkulturen.  People from the Reclaim Your City collective donated a few thousand original stickers to the Archiv dating from the early 2000s to present day.  On this trip, I primarily focused on socio-political stickers, as well as a small sampling of stickers on street art and street culture (graffiti, music, clothing, etc.).  It will be a much more extensive job to catalogue these stickers, but at least for now I have good scans.  More on this group of stickers to follow.


The great-great+ grandfather of stickers

Alois Senefelder, the 18th-century German inventor of lithography, is commemorated by this statue located in a little park square at Senefelderplatz in Berlin.  His name is written in reverse, and one of the angels at the base of the statue holds a mirror.  Very well done.


Kreuzberg stickers – tagging geo-tagged images with words

For my new geo-tagging project, I’m trying to come up with a manageable number of consistent subject terms to describe what a sticker is about, i.e., what people in library and information science call creating an authority control or set of keywords (index terms).  One can go a little crazy in this endeavor, because there are so many comprehensive guides to refer to, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings, the Getty Research Institute Art & Architecture Thesaurus, various ARTstor Subject Guides, and plain old common sense.  My goal is to narrow it down to about 20 keywords, and here is what I have so far (22): Animal Rights; Authority; Capitalism; Conflict/War; Demonstration/Protest; Economy; Education; Environment; Gender; Globalization; Government/Politics; Identity; Immigration; Labor; Music; Nationalism; Race/Ethnicity; Religion; Sports; Surveillance; Technology; and Urban Development (includes Anti-Tourism, Gentrification, Reclaim the Streets).  Or to keep it simple, in most cases I could just put Power/Control.

There are also other terms that I want to include that describe how a sticker functions and/or what rhetorical strategy was used to create it.  This list is much shorter and still needs work: Advertising/Publicity; Adbusting/Appropriation/Culture Jamming; Creative Expression; D-I-Y; Humor/Irony/Satire; Postal/Hello-My-Name-Is; and Tagging.

Here below, for example, is one sticker that I’ve tagged.  The title of the sticker, “Weissagung der Mieter” means “The Tenants’ Prophecy,” and the text reads “Erst wenn der letzte Mieter verdrängt, der letzte Stadtteil gentrifiziert, das letzte Stück Berlins verkauft ist, werdet ihr merken, dass man Stadt nicht ohne uns machen kann,” or roughly, “Only when the last tenants are displaced, the last quarter is gentrified, the last piece of Berlin is sold, you will realize that you can not do without our city.”  My initial tags included: Capitalism; Economy; and Urban Development (includes Anti-Tourism, Gentrification, Reclaim the Streets).  Since the sticker has a Web site listed on it,, I also included Advertising/Publicity.


When I went to the Web site, I learned that there is a group called “Kotti & Co” that was formed in May 2012 in the working class Kottbusser Tor district in Berlin-Kreuzberg, an area populated largely by residents from Turkey.  In fact, Berlin is the largest city of Turks outside of Turkey, according to Eva Spirova in an article entitled The Multicultural Kreuzberg on the blog Berlin: A Divided City.  Germany developed an official Turkish recruitment agreement in 1961, which has since brought in millions of guest workers.  The project has been “an unnecessary social, economic and political catastrophe” however, for the workers’ children and grandchildren who can’t find jobs and are often socially marginalized, according to Klaus Bade of the German Foundations on Integration and Migration.  For more information, see At Home In a Foreign Country: German Turks Struggle to Find Their Identity in Der Spiegel (November 2, 2011).

As a result of this research, I’ll now add these tags: Demonstration/Protest; Government/Politics; Identity; Immigration; Labor; Nationalism; Race/Ethnicity; and Religion.  This happens all the time – finding what at first glance appear to be modest little stickers with such powerful and far-reaching commentary!  It can be somewhat daunting….  I hope, though, that I’ll be able to assign stickers into various groups and the work will go a little faster.  Like these:



As a side note, another article, Graffiti and Street Art, on the blog above states that “…stickers and adhesives are not considered graffiti.”!

Blockupy Frankfurt stickers

Stickers and street posters for Blockupy Frankfurt and Blockupy Deportation Airport (also in Frankfurt) now blanket Berlin.





What I find interesting, though, is the contrast between these in 2013 (above) compared to these in 2012 (below).





Flickr Photos

December 2022