Inkahoots and A–——Z want you to invent a new anthem for Germany in times of bigotry
ith the growing global resurgence of ultra-nationalism, social, cultural and religious stereotypes and symbols are being used to exclude and divide” notes A–——Z, an initiative of book designer Anja Lutz and The Green Box – Kunst Editionen of the interactive installation by Brisbane design collective Inkahoots which speaks volumes against bigotry and hate.
“Today in Germany the successful postwar rejection of the radical right appears to be undermined by the electoral gains of the anti-European Union, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Alternative für Deutschland and with the serious violence of riots, like the one in Chemnitz” adds A–——Z of New Anthems VI (Berlin) – A New Anthem for Germany. The interactive, totally typographic, project is literally an invitation to form an open public dialogue on contemporary nationalism and national identity through creative participation.
Created by Australian design studio Inkahoots the installation displays the most commonly cited line in Das Liedes der Deutschen (3. verse) by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the current German national anthem: ‘Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit für das deutsche Vaterland!’ [‘Unity and justice and freedom for the German fatherland’], where the words ‘Freiheit’ and ‘das deutsche Vaterland’ are omitted and replaced with LED screens enabling participants to input their own words via SMS, and rewrite the text.
The public contributions are cataloged online here and become a dynamic archive of debate around issues of national identity, inclusion, and exclusion. The New Anthems installations affirm national identity as dynamic and constructed, rather than fixed and natural: to misquote Richard White (1981) Inventing Australia: “There is no ‘real’ Germany waiting to be uncovered. National identity is an invention.”
The interactive, totally typographic, project is literally an invitation to form an open public dialogue on contemporary nationalism and national identity through creative participation
For past versions, Inkahoots have created custom-designed sculptural typography using neon, fiber optics, recycled cardboard and timber, and giant helium-filled balloons. For this brand new anthem for Germany the studio developed a site-specific interactive typographic sculpture using a mix of civic and commercial historical signage from the collection of the Buchstabenmuseum -the first museum in the world to collect letterforms from public spaces and display them as part of urban history- which are kindly provided for the duration of the installation.
These historic letters from East- and West-Berlin are assembled with internet-connected LED screens enabling the display of user-generated content while the dedicated website lists all contributions in real-time with all versions of this New Anthem archived so they can be viewed offsite by anyone.
“The work attempts to integrate graphic design’s potential regarding expressive modes of visual language with user-generated digital interactivity, as a relational artwork that functions as a forum for creative public dialogue and cultural critique” adds A–——Z of Inkahoot's project.
For this Germany's customised brand new anthem Inkahoots developed a site-specific interactive typographic sculpture using a mix of civic and commercial historical signage from the collection of the Buchstabenmuseum
Inkahoots is an Australian design studio focusing on creating democratic spaces for productive social resistance and public dialogue. They collaborate locally and internationally on projects of all sizes across a range of media, specializing in the creative integration of physical and digital experiences. Born as a community access screenprinting studio/arts collective, Inkahoots' mission for social change with adventurous visual communication is widely published and exhibited around the world.
To participate in the project SMS: 015735994499 to insert your contribution. Enter a word or short phrase for each LED screen separated by a comma: eg. ‘firstword, secondword’ or ‘short phrase, another short phrase’. The installation is open to the public in the storefront space of A–——Z at Torstraße, Berlin-Mitte until September 6th, 2019 and the interaction is possible 24 hours every day of the week.
All images via A–——Z