John Craig Freeman, ORATORS, ROSTRUMS, AND PROPADANGA STANDS

John Craig Freeman, ORATORS, ROSTRUMS, AND PROPADANGA STANDS

Visible at Nikolaj Plads outside Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center

1. Download QR-scanner, scan the QR-code with your smartphone and follow the instructions

2. Download Layar app and search for Orators

Website

John Craig Freeman (Manifest.AR), Oratorer, podier og propagandastande, 2012

Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands

Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands by John Craig Freeman is an augmented reality project based on the work of the Russian constructivist Gustav Gustavovich Klucis, specifically his special propaganda stands from 1922. Freeman’s virtual stands contain movie and sound clips from contemporary mass uprisings and can be experienced through a smartphone at the square in front of Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.

Klucis was a pioneering member of the Russian Constructivist avant-garde in the early 20th century. Despite his loyal service to the Communist Party, Klucis was arrested and executed in Moscow in 1938 after being under increasing pressure to devote his artwork to state propaganda.

Each of the virtual Propaganda Stands constructed by Freeman displays a black and white animation: the Tank Man near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989; the assassination of Neda Agha-Soltan in Tehran during the 2009 Iranian election protests; scenes from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2011 Arab Spring; the 2011 Occupy Wall Street uprising; and street fights between police and protesters in Nørrebro in Copenhagen May 18th 1993.

These images are juxtaposed, in classical montage style, with frames from the famous massacre scene of Sergei Eisenstein’s movie classic Battleship Potemkin, one of Klucis’ own contemporaries. When touched, the virtual objects play sound from the uprising. These contemporary propaganda stands thus connect political idealisms of the past with current technologies and problems, re-imagining the square in front of the art center as a public space.