Democracy: It's written on the wall

With over a dozen elections already held this year worldwide, and almost forty to come, The Poster journal invites you to send in your photographs of visual political interventions in the election process – not only the official visual communications, but also the unofficial, subversive responses to them – for inclusion in the next journal issue.

2010 will be a bumper year for observing the process of political persuasion played out for us on the walls of the world. With over a dozen elections already held this year,  and almost forty to come,  it would seem like a perfect time to record and review the global thirst for the political publicly manifested through visual rhetoric.

As a journal, The Poster is deeply interested in the tension between official and unofficial acts of visual persuasion: the formation of the arena of debate, the boundary of that which is considered acceptable to publicly express and that which must remain unspoken and obscure (literally hidden from view). This dichotomy is never more visible than it is in an election year when the currents of covert political feeling course to the surface for all to see; a carnival of petty nationalism, race and simmering ideological hate.

To this end we invite you to send us your images of visual political interventions in your own election process: not only the official visual communications, but also the unofficial and subversive responses to them. For, while the professional politicos have an intentional view of the public political appetites, the public responses will surprise us all, vividly illuminating the narrowness of the official view. The Poster would ask you to record these telling combinations of official and unofficial visual rhetorics as you stumble upon them, to pull out your camera or camera-phone and capture the scene and send it to us. Be the eyes of the world in recording your own backyard.

To start the project off are a pair of photos I took near my home university in Loughborough (in the UK). The poster is an official Conservative Party  critique of the incumbent Labour Party  Prime Minister. However, in contrast to the official voice of the poster, we can trace two alternative counter interventions applied to the site. The first, and most obvious, is the graffiti in support of the Liberal Democrats  (which, in its amateur and unexpected enthusiasm, foretells the surprising recent swing of public sentiment towards the Lib Dems). The second intervention is a more subtle and possibly semi-official response where a supporter of the sitting government has printed a colour-matched tag line of ‘No Policies. Just name calling’ and positioned this modification in just the right way to subvert the original message. Clearly a designed response. As a result, this poster acts as a microcosm of the debate, a series of strata recording the public sphere in the UK in 2010.

We would like to gather recordings from your own countries and communities for inclusion in a future issue of The Poster, as both a photo-essay and open record of the interplay of political communication and public consumption in forming the public sphere. You can send us images in any digital picture format you can access. For ease of reproduction we would ask you to send the biggest images you can (2 megapixel or bigger is acceptable, 4 megapixel and above is preferable), captioning your contribution in such a way as to give context to the subtleties of national politics that are often lost on the global readership.

Issue 1 of The Poster will be published in May 2010, carrying articles from five countries on three continents, full of provocative ideas about visual rhetorics applied in the world.

Best wishes to you all,

Simon Downs
Lead Editor of The Poster


(For footnotes contact

Posted by James Campbell at 12:11 (0) comments
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