The Wars of the Past and the Wars of the Future

This article is a part of the room: APT/ART #2: MAKE CARNIVAL NOT WAR

When a wallpaper is removed, often under it a layer of old newspapers will be found. What kinds of newspapers were around at the time of World War I? What appeals were made to the public by political activists, members of the government, and writers?

big things are seen from a distance.

a common proverb

Wars of the Past and Wars of the Future evolved as an exploration of the origins of war, with a focus on the First World War. Over a century has passed since then, and it seems that a public consensus about those events has been reached. The historical distance from which we look back at WWI can be instructive.

The project started with conversations with Alexey Sakhnin about the nature of war. He mentioned the Zimmerwald Conference, an International Socialist Conference that took place in Switzerland in 1915. It was attended by thirty-eight delegates from eleven European countries, who were marginalized antiwar activists and members of the Second International. On learning more about it, I was surprised by how most of the members of the original International, who were devoted pacifists, turned into pro-war ultra-nationalists overnight.

The project consists of posters featuring quotes and speeches from both pro- and anti-war activists and public figures sourced from media publications and archives of that era. We designed them to look like excerpts from newspaper articles that could have existed back then. My work on these posters is my contribution to the debate on the nature of war and peace. They include an equal number of militarist and pacifist quotes and are meant to be seen as theatrical props that organize a space in which actors (public figures during the historical period of World War I) and audience participate and discuss the differing views.

We invite you to download the posters you find interesting, print them out, hang them on the walls of your apartment and send us pictures. To see all posters, please visit Download War posters page.

PS We also started assembling a zine for the exhibition and now ask you for suggestions. Take a look at what we have gathered so far on the War Fanzine page and propose texts you think should be included.