Naeem Mohaiemen on Sat, 5 Dec 2009 05:45:43 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> On the Design Of Swiss Minarett-Verbot Posters

If you cannot see the images accompanying this post, they are at this URL:

*This is a guest post by Naeem, an artist friend. The post is a cull from a
conversation regarding the recent ban in Switzerland imposed on building

*In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam and undermined
the country?s reputation for religious tolerance, the Swiss on Sunday
overwhelmingly imposed a national ban on the construction of minarets, the
prayer towers of mosques, in a referendum drawn up by the far right and
opposed by the government. The referendum passed with 57.5 percent of the
vote and in 22 of Switzerland?s 26

Naeem: And now I?m thinking of the photographer I met, a few hours before
the opening of the show ?Im/Possible Communities? at Zurich
We sat in the caretaria with hot tea and free chocolates, and he told me
?This ban vote will never pass. Not in Switzerland.? So much for that

But what about this poster. It is as if, as I said elsewhere, the right wing
now has the best graphic designers?!

Sandy: Concerning the poster ? as far as is can see all the critique is
already in the mainstream media. It is a typical 20/30?es design ?
colourwise and by form. And it works very well, to downscale the opponent to
a (dark) symbol? shadows, rocket-like minarets, flooding Switzerland. And
most likely the posters will be more distributed by the media than actually
hung in the streets?

N: Actually it was in many subway stations in Zurich when I was there. Right
opposite was an ad for ALI KEBAP airlines. With a Turkish man in a fez
holding kebab-spike in one hand, and flying the plane in the other. Travel
there, but don?t let them come here.

S: Hmm, there are 4 minarets in Switzerland at this time ? 2 more are about
to be built. The ones wearing a tschador like this are saudis or emirates
people who spend lots of money in Switzerland. Have you seen the anti
minaret game ? >

This battle is somehow already lost. The campaign from the SVP was
successful, they managed to polarise quite well. And of course this is not
about the actual minarets, not even the law which might be kicked by EU law
in the end anyway. So this is already in a quite defensive setting at the
first place, preaching to the converted?

I like the idea to enter it via the design question. Why dont we invite for
a poster workshop. I think one has to step out of this setting of critique
structure which already is existing and all over the place. One has to find
the gaps in the discourse to intervene with impact. Else it will stay a
symbolic autopilot in some way. Maybe fair enough for the art world, but not

?things which are urgent ? need time? g.p.c

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact: