September 21, 2005

"Two Danish artists who want to get their ironic anti-war message heard by ordinary Iraqi people."

The BBC reports:
The posters [pasted up in Baghdad] show elephants, mice and cats together with messages like "Trust in Propaganda" and "Kill your Enemy".

Underneath it says in small writing "...and keep life complicated".

The three designs were created by artists Claus Rohland and Jan Egesborg, who say they want to show Iraqis that - despite Danish participation in the US-led invasion - most Danes are against what is happening in Iraq....

The third design shows the three mice (a common theme in all three pictures) holding up a massive elephant, and the message "Support the Wrong One... and keep life complicated".

"We wanted to create a kind of small story around these three white mice, with a hidden meaning that makes people think," said Mr Rohland.

"It ought to be the elephant who is afraid of the mice - but who do the elephant and the mice represent? The Iraqi government? America? Denmark? It depends how you look at it."
Thanks a whole hell of a lot, Danish artists! What the common people of Iraq have been missing is Euro-irony. Nice touch writing in English too. It really helped the BBC pick up the story for you.

23 comments:

Delarue said...

Egads. That's infuriatingly pointless. It reminds me of a piece of pseudy toilet graffiti I once saw - some idiot had written 'Think For Yourselves' in thick black marker across a cubicle door.

Thankfully, someone had thought to scribble underneath 'Tell us how'...

Sloanasaurus said...

It makes you wonder what point of view the ordinary Iraqi citizen is supposed to think about the anti-war movement? Do Iraqis believe that these Danish artists are opposed to Saddam Hussein and the suicide bombers who murder and dismember innocent civilians every day across Iraq. Or do Iraqi's believe that the artists oppose the coalition forces who rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein and are now trying to rid Iraq of the suicide bombers.

What point of view are the artists trying to make? That they oppose both the suicide bombers and the coalition forces? The problem with this opposition is that it is not a realistic choice.

The nonsensical messages coming from elites in the west truly are confusing.

Perhaps I am having a Hitchens moment.

Simon said...

The three designs were created by Danish artists Claus Rohland and Jan Egesborg, who say they want to show Iraqis that - despite Danish participation in the US-led invasion - many Danes are actually pretty bad artists....

Simon said...

The nonsensical messages coming from elites in the west truly are confusing.

A fellow I used to associate with, who is - bless him - a Trotskyite (actually, a terribly nice and intelligent fellow, which just goes to show that politics and personality don't go hand in hand) recently proclaimed online that his organization's platform was "no to occupation, no to the insurgency". Well, that's all very well as a pie-in-the-sky objective, but right now, if America withdraws, the insurgents win. You can't have it both ways just for the sake of pretty rhetoric; if you don't want to pick sides, you actually have to propose an alternative.

This is the same point, actually, that I tried to make before the war started. If one person who opposed the war could provide a cohesive argument for a credible alternative to war for how to get rid of Saddam without destroying Iraq as a country, and without simply installing a new dictator, let them bring that argument forward. No one ever did.

Toad734 said...

So are you saying they have no right to do this because you don't agree?

vnjagvet said...

Toad:

Whether they have the right to do it is beside the point. What they are doing is in the current argot "stuck on stupid".

If you agree with them, so are you. But that's just my opinion. You have the "right" to disagree.

Ann Althouse said...

Toad: Yes, what is Althouse trying to say? Are you trying to simplify things? Don't you know life is complicated?

But, seriously, when did I say anything about rights? The artists are self-promoting idiots whether they have a right to plaster up signs in a war-torn foreign city or not.

Ross said...

Alas, the BBC also reports:

Mr Rohland admits that without the help of an Iraqi associate - whom they made contact with through a Danish journalist - the project would not have got off the ground.

"We planned to go to Iraq ourselves, but unfortunately the price on Danish heads there is quite high," he explained.


I'd have been much more imporessed if they pasted up their art themselves. It would be no less stupid, but it would at least be ... gonzo.

Meade said...

"The only solution for people suffering with the consequences of this war in Iraq is for them not to feel this anger and need for revenge," Mr Rohland says.

It's unclear to me just how Mr. Rohland's artwork helps the suffering Iraqi people find his only solution but then I don't always get art.

Al Maviva said...

Did anybody else just visualize Mike Meyers’ “Dieter” character rolling out this artwork in a “Sprockets” sketch?

“My Danish friends… your setup has become tiresome… Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!”

Ann Althouse said...

lmeade: Hey, it's funny that these guys who are all about subtle complexity express a believe in one true solution.

My verification word is "hoejery." Nylons for prostitutes?

Ann Althouse said...

Al Maviva: Funny! I was just watching an old episode of SNL with MM doing "Wayne's World" just three days after the Gulf War started. He was very enthusiastic about the war. As was Garth. They said they had been in the basement watching three TVs for three days. They made fun of Wolf Blitzer's name (he totally made that up for the war) and expressed envy for Brit Hume's name (like Bond, James Bond, he's Hume, Brit Hume). It was great seeing that!

aidan maconachy said...
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aidan maconachy said...
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michael a litscher said...

Nice touch writing in English too. It really helped the BBC pick up the story for you.

Which tells you all you need to know about who the intended audience really was.

aidan maconachy said...
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aidan maconachy said...
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Sigivald said...

Posters with mice for some, tiny American flags for others!

aidan maconachy said...
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aidan maconachy said...

To any readers/posters who wanted to reply to my earlier post, I decided to remove it because it was a rather radical departure from the topic under discussion, and I felt it was taking advantage somewhat of Ann's hospitality.

It infuriates me when people go off on tangents and don't speak to the topics I post, so I thought I would follow my own advice :)

Ann Althouse said...

Aidan: Those comments weren't a problem from my perspective. I was even going to respond and link to the old post I did about that artist and the Israeli wall (here.)

aidan maconachy said...

Thanks Ann. Prior to answering your post, I had been on a site where the discussion was about the murder of Theo van Gogh, art, free expression and crime in Europe. So I ended up importing some of the chat.

Apologies if I was a bit hasty on this. If you have a way of retrieving the deleted material and reposting it you're welcome to do so.

Michael said...

What makes Danes think Iraqis give a crap about Denmark?

I want to create some art to ensure that Iraqis know that Ponca City, Oklahoma's view on the war hasn't changed. From whatever it was. I know they're dying to hear that. Well, not dying, bad choice of words...