Saturday, 5 December 2009

Exhibition in Garage Space

Barnes Building, Garage Space
4th December



I had booked out the garage space earlier on in the term however I left the promotion till quite late on as I wasn't too sure what was going to happen.

I quite wanted to have a show which would expose work across the broad spectrum of Environmental Art by inviting people from third and fourth year to show work that they are currently working on to provide an opportunity for people to see what kind of work they were producing.



I was really keen on using the large windows in the space to act as a frame for a band to play, playing with the idea of the audience being able to witness the performance from outside. This would be heightened if I managed to create a large enclosure for the band so that when you are inside the garage space you wouldn't be able to see them, but it would be quite overwhelming acoustically.


I then blocked off the other enclosure at the far end of the garage space, where I had set up my steel cone which was attached to a plastic pipe which passed through the wall of the enclosure. Inside, I had set up a few speakers to play sounds which I was creating on my computer down the pipe and out through the cone.


A video of people dancing was projected onto the surface of the enclosure which we had created for the band.


James was performing a piece using old umbrellas whose spokes he had removed and attached to his fingers.



With both of these pieces, it was interesiting to observe how the dynamic of the piece was interpreted depending upon the style of the music which shifted from funky to rather harsh, loud noise at times.

At points, when the music wasn't quite so overpowering, it was possible to create a dialogue between the sounds that I was creating through the computer and waiting for a response from them.

I was quite please with the way that the show turned out and I think there should definately be more exhibitions which combine work from a range of years and cover a whole variety of media, creating a more fulfilling experience.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Trip to Kelvingrove and Hunterian Museum (30.11.09)

Kelvingrove Museum

I wanted to go to the Kelvingrove museum to see if there might be anything concerning antiquated forms of communication.


I didn't manage to find much on the matter however there was one thing which caught my attention which was the ventilation grills which at one point looked as though they were presented as a frame in themselves.


There was one which was emitting a particularly loud, high-pitched noise which sounded like it was coming from a massive heating room hidden somewhere in the basement of the building. I was quite interested in the idea of sounds being transported around the building in this manner, much like servants would be called for in a large Victorian house via bells.



Hunterian Museum - Lord Kelvin permanent exhibition

Lord Kelvin was born William Thomson in Belfast on 26th June 1824 and was the fourth child of James and Margaret Thomson. After the death of his mother, William along with the rest of the family moved to Glasgow where his father took up the Chair of Mathematics at the University. William entered the University of Glasgow at just 6 years of age, officially matriculating at age 10. In 1841, at the age of 17 he entered Cambridge, graduating there four years later before returning in 1846 to take up the Chair of Natural Philosophy (what we now call physics) at the University of Glasgow.


In the mid 1850s and for the next decade he became increasingly involved in the cable laying projects that were to allow, for the first time, Britain to communicate instantly with the other side of the Atlantic. By 1866 his skills as a mathematician, applied physicist and engineer had led the Atlantic cable project to successful completion earning him a Knighthood.

(Read more...)

This fantastic display was truly engaging and included pieces such as a a wine glass placed inside a perspex box, a certain pitch was then played through a bass amp which would cause the glass to resonate and wobble.

Some of the scientific apparatus were just fantastic items in themselves but I particulary liked a pair of brass parabolic mirrors with a description of an experiement carried out by Jean Antoine Nollet:

" I am persuaded that cokes act mostly by radiation like that of the sun. There is a pretty experiment in Nollets Lecons de Physique: he set two mirrors, (made of pasteboard gilt), parallel to one another, and face to face, in the opposite sides of a room: in the focus of one, a bit of charcoal, and in that of the other, a little gunpowder he blew upon the charcoal to brighten it, and the gunpowder took fire."

Concave brass mirror

These seemed to me very similar to the sound mirrors which I had looked at earlier on. On further investigation I found this website which seemed to bring together these two apparatus. (follow the link here)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Trip to Edinburgh 27th November

KARLA BLACK: SCULPTURES with paintings by Bet Low (1924-2007)
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Inverleith House



This was the first show we went to see by Karla Black. I quite liked the huge mound of earth which was in the first room which had be dusted with patches of coloured powder. The soil's heavinness was quite a contrast to some of the other pieces which seemed very fragile, made from paper or sometimes a thin coating of coloured chalk powder. They somehow seemed to avoid any classification which consequently, but not wholly, didn't really evoke any reaction to these pieces.


I did whowever like the piece Acceptance Changes Nothing (below) which conjured up thoughts of glacial mountains which had been deprived of their peak - the top looked like it had been broken off and dusted with pink powder.

This show at the Fruitmarket Gallery covered a wide range of methods and themes and reminded me how important it is to use drawing as a learning process when you are exploring ideas for your work.


video

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Luke Fowler at Modern Institute

A Grammer for Listening
(Parts 1-3)


Ever noticed the after-effect of sound rustling through a cityscape? What happens when images recede to the backdrop and sound takes on the leading role? Luke Fowler – in collaboration with Eric La Casa, Lee Patterson and Toshiya Tsunoda – creates field recordings to posit questions on how to develop new dialogues between looking and listening. (Read More...)



On the return journey from visiting the site in the Barras we decided to drop by the Modern Institute to see the current show by Glasgow based film/sound artists Luke Fowler.

It was a well and truly revelatory experience where you find yourself becoming completely emersed in the sounds which accomany the documentary-style footage. The use of focus is used to great effect here - particuallry effective in a scene which really brings out the depth through reeds on the edge of a pond.

There seems to be no immediate connection between the image and the sound which creates a sometimes quite haunting atmosphere. The use of contact mics in many of these pieces reveal the always present, otherwise inaudible sounds, travelling through objects which provides a whole new perspecive of our surrounding environments where the sounds transform the otherwise mundane everyday events into something quite extraordinary.




His four new short films Anna, Helen, David and Lester will be aired in Channel 4's Three-Minute Wonder slot from April 20. They're set in the West End close Fowler has just moved on from.

Each film is an elusive visual portrait of an individual tenement dweller, but instead of conventional documentary the films light on the tiny textural details of tenement life: light moving across a room, dust on a sill. Outside are the serried ranks of red sandstone, inside a hidden domestic world glimpsed obliquely. "It's about these very uniform outsides and what's going on inside: the layers of time in the flats, in all the furniture and the fittings. When I made the films I was fascinated by how completely different every flat was, yet it's the same light that goes through all the windows, the same street noise." (Read more...)




I find some of these works to be very reminiscent of John Smith's Leading light (1975) shot in a room over a period of a day and also Worst Case Scenario (2001-3) a series of photographs depicting daily life on a Viennese street corner.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

African Pigmy Thrills (1930)

Just thinking about forms of communication, sending signals down cables and along wires, I was reminded of a video I had seen where african pigmys swing accross a vast distance to create the basis for a bridge between the opposite sides of a river.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Nite of Poetry and Soup

Along with a few friends, we thought it would be nice to have a regualr evening of poetry. Amongst the usual T.S. Elliot, one of the most notable poems was read out by a friend studying English Literature at Glasgow University by Alice Notley.

Alice Notley - '101'

It's possible that I still live there
Apartment that is path-narrow
I don't want to be there in this poem if
Anyone else is, from the past, I want it to be empty
A lot of dust I let fall
It gets smaller See mobiles from when, a flasher
Whose penis had broken off That other mobile I
Made it's talismanic objects
A bottlecap a rose a centaur a cactus a coin

Several handmade afghans always and many filthy blankets
Shawls on whatever chair a Mexican shawl a cotton cloth from Africa
What about all of the plants they would get very scrubby
Cunty conches rock collections art everywhere collages and fans
But the apartment's a hallway and odah orange and purple curtains
at one window
Held up by a rope and hanging clothes tacked up dividing successive
tiny rooms

(Read more...)

Other artists which we touched upon included Frank O Hara & Harry Mathews with his rather sexually explicit collection of 'Singular Pleasures'. Here is a sample:

While the Aeolian String Quartet performs the final variation of Haydn's "Emperor" Quartet in the smaller of Managua's two concert halls, a man of three score and four summers sits masturbating in the last row of the orchestra, a coat on his lap. Thirty-three years before, after relieving himself during the intermission of another concert, he had returned to his seat with his fly unbuttoned. Unconscious of his appearance, he had become erect during a scintillating performance of the Schubert Octet and actually ejaculated during the final chords. The house lights had come up to reveal his disarray; he had fled; ever since, he has been laboring steadfastly to recreate that momentary bliss.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Exploring the Barnes (19.10.09)

We were given a project last year where we were asked to go and explore the Mackintosh Building in order to inform our work and choose a site to create a piece of work. I found this to be quite an exciting venture as on close scrutiny, you notice many things which you pass by on a daily basis: such as the ventilation ducts which means that you can hear lectures going on in the Mackintosh lecture theatre outside studio 31.


This is something which I decided to do now that we had moved in to a new building so as to familarise myself with my surroundings, which I had settles into however not fully exlored yet.


One thing which drew my attention when outide the back of the building by Jim Lamberts' studio, was the sheer abundance of pipes and ventialtion grills throgh which the building effectively breaths, transporting water, heat and exhaling replenishing stagnant air. This started my thinking about alternative entrance points into the Barnes building in order to bring sound for example into the building, exploring the idea of internal/external - what is intended to stay inside the building and what is dispersed into the atmosphere.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hidden treasure in the Barras

99 Moncur Street

I went on a cycle ride down to the Barras area today to go in search of a gem of a hardware store which Sarah Lownes had mentioned in a presentation she had made during the festival of DIY culture.


Sitting down outside Bill's tool store I wondered what the building next to it, with 1887 enscribed at the top, had been used for and if it was still in use today as it looked quite run down.


I entered the shop on the ground floor, selling discount nursery furniture, and asked the woman playing with her son whether anyone lived upstairs. She seemed quite suspicious at first until I explained that I was looking for potential sites to put on an exhibition. She then asked her husband, who makes all the furniture to show me around the building. He took me up to the top floor which was astonishing in both it's view and open space.


He told me that the building used to be a clay pipe factory and that his wife had inherited it. The other two similar buildings had been converted into £70,000 flats and they had been approached by the council and estate agents on various occassions. However, he seemed to be quite open to the idea of turning the space into an place for exhibiting artwork. I was even more impressed by the floor below the attic space which still contained some of the gambling machines from it's brief time as snooker hall.


Returning to the ground floor, the shop keeper also seemed pleased that my interest in the space wasn't going to be financially orientated and we exchanged numbers to discuss matters further. Had I not have done the mapping shop the week prior to this where we were asked to go and have an unfamilar lunch in a new location and carry out an action, I'm not sure whether I would have considered going to talk to the shopkeeper. Having done so however, I have found how relatively little effort can lead to what could potentially be a very exciting project which many people could be involved with.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Glasgow DIY Festival 2009

21st-27th September

'Glasgow Festival of DIY Culture is the result of conversations between members of a creative community that exist here in Glasgow.'

A few friends decided to organise a festival to highlight the variety of DIY activites that occur in Glasgow on a weekly basis and included activities such as: Music Performances,exhibtions, urban

Video Workshop - 'Remake'

For the video workshop we had decided to play around with dough due to it's fantastic variety of properties.


I was inspired by John Smith's piece Leading Light (1975) which I had seen a while ago during one of the Friday events, and the way in which it displays a very playful use of the camera, experimenting with focus, aperture, sound, timing, panning etc.

video

We tried to incorporate these elements into our film which we shot in the round basement whilst we were investigating the qualities of the dough itself.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Ben Lewis - Art Safari

Relational Art: Is it an ism?
(Broadcast on BBC4 on Thursday 8 July 2004 midnight-12.30am)

Award-winning writer and director Ben Lewis, a self-confessed “art geek”, takes an off-beat tour around the fringes of contemporary art.

While all eyes in Nineties Britain focussed on our own Young British Artists, a different global art movement was evolving. The leading French critic Nicolas Bourriaud, described it as 'Relational Art'. Armed with Bourriaud's book Relational Aesthetics, Ben goes in search of what he hopes might be a new 'ism'.





(From Ubu Web Film)

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset - 'Phone Home'

Providing a platform, on which the drama of social exchange will be improvised and performed by the audience, the installation explores an artwork's reach and potential for communication. First, by simple means the work extends beyond the physical limits of the gallery's architectural conditions, reaching through space and vast distance. The visitor will function as the mediator of the show in a direct way by describing it to the person on the other end of the phone line, thereby establishing a concrete link between the activity within the gallery and the outside. Moreover, the work allows for visitors to engage in an activity that places their own private behavior on public display ñ specifically turning everyday 'normal' behavior and gestures into performative acts. When entering the work, external perspective is shifted as the visitor becomes an actor.

(Read more...)

Trip to Skye (5-7th October)

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Mapping Workshop

Oblique Strategies

A map of central Glasgow
which had been divided up into segments, was placed on the wall and we were given a dart to throw which would determine where we would perform our unexpected action. My site ended up being by the side entrance to Central Station.

We were then each given a phrase from a program crated by Brian Eno and Kirk Schmidt called Oblique Strategies.

Mine was, "Look closely at the most embarassing details & amplify them."


We were then asked to go to our spot and assess the surroudings for ten minutes or so and then respond in a way which would relate to our oblique strategy.

I wasn't sure whether to interpret 'embarassing' in the literal sense or to look for something more subjective i.e. my view of embarrassing attitudes say.

I observed people going into central station, talking on their mobiles, with umbreallas, eating food, reading newspapers, listening to music, running to catch a train. In mesponse I decided to multitask to an extent which would seem absurd, eating a banana, talking on the phone, doing sudoku, taking photos all at the same time.

However, I hardly had anyone who showed the slightest hint of being dissaproving as I came to realise that nowadays this is just a part of the fast paced society which we live in.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Radical Nature at the Barbican

Agnes Denes: Wheatfield – A Confrontation
15 July 2009 - 6 August 2009
Off Dalston Lane



A pioneer of environmental art, Agnes Denes makes interventions into the landscape that frequently take the form of powerful performances involving the planting of trees or crops. In Wheatfield – A Confrontation, 1982, Denes planted and harvested two acres of wheat in Battery Park landfill in New York, situated between the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Centre. It was an act of transplanting rural nature into the heart of an otherwise extremely dense urban environment. As part of Radical Nature the work is restaged at an abandoned railway line in Dalston, East London.

EXYZT: The Dalston Mill
15 July 2009 - 6 August 2009
Off Dalston Lane




Barbican Takes Radical Nature to Hackney
Part of Barbican Art Gallery’s current exhibition Radical Nature – Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009, the experimental architectural collective EXYZT has created The Dalston Mill, turning a disused railway line and waste ground in Dalston into a vibrant rural retreat for the people of the area and beyond.

The fully-functioning, 16 metre mill is accompanied by a 40 metre square wheat field, a recreation of environmental artist Agnes Denes’ original 1982 pioneering piece.

Come and participate in one of the events or workshops, from theatre performances and bread-making to pedal-powered music and tea-time talks with artists.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Mona Hatoum

Other works of interest

Pull (1995)

I particularly liked this piece which has been arranged so that the pony tail that is displayed in the box is actually Mona Hatoum's own and she is in fact lying down with a camera directed at her face, which is being displayed on the monitor. When you pull the hair you get an instant reaction, but the difference between actually knowing she is just behind the wall and just seeing her face on a screen would drastically change your perception of the piece.

Similar Works

Làslò Moholy Nagy


Light, Space Modulator (1930)

Mona Hatoum

Light Sentence (1992)

"I grew up in Beirut in a family that had suffered a tremendous loss and existed with a sense of dislocation. When I went to London in 1975 for what was meant to be a brief visit, I got stranded there because the war broke out in Lebanon, and that created another kind of dislocation. How that manifests itself in my work is as a sense of disjunction. For instance, in a work like Light Sentence, the movement of the light bulb causes the shadows of the wire mesh lockers to be in perpetual motion, which creates a very unsettling feeling. When you enter the space you have the impression that the whole room is swaying and you have the disturbing feeling that the ground is shifting under your feet. This is an environment in constant flux—no single point of view, no solid frame of reference. There is a sense of instability and restlessness in the work. This is the way in which the work is informed by my background." Mona Hatoum in an interview by Janine Antoni (BOMB Magazine, Issue 63, Spring 1998)

Self-Initiated Project

Conrad Shawcross at Siobhan Davies Studios
shown as part of 'The Collection'
7th April 2009

Slow Arc inside a Cube (2008)

I was completely mesmerised by this piece of work which had been installed in the top floor of Siobhan Davies studios I managed to sit around for almost an hour filming it from various viewpoints. The effect of the intensely bright light coming from such a small source meant that the shadows cast on the walls of the studio shifted from feeling like a cage was being lifted off of you to then feeling entrapped again. I was very interested in this idea of an image being able to have such a tangible quality so much so that it almost feels physical.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Interpretation & Reflection

Interpretation

I decided to choose oobleck for it's enigmatic qualities and it's reluctance to conform to classification as any one state of being and could be a metaphor for creative ability.

The random scattering of words on the satellite is a reference to Hugo Ball's 'word salad' form of poetry, breaking down the structures of language.

The satellite dish is a symbol for the repressive powers who manage to filter out some of the work being produced by artists but the majority of it carries on regardless.

The briefcase has an obvious reference to travel and how many people had been exiled, abroad or to concentration camps. However in this case it is a point of collection which is then focused down through the opening and along the gutter.

The vinyl is then not only a means of expression through music but is a further means of creating something new and unpredictable by spattering the mixture around again.

Reflection

Although initiated by myself the work then left to become very much in the realm of the audience. Their reaction on the opening night was one of curiosity, because of the viscosity of the mixture the process was quite drawn out and the audience feel quite for the good part of ten minutes almost expecting something spectacular to happen. It seemed like it was a nice focal point for people to talk about or even just to talk about something completely unrelated whilst still observing the unravelling of the piece.

Exhibition Piece


The composition of the final piece consisted of a Milk trolley frame to which various found objects were attached with cable ties or slotted into different levels. At the top we have a:
  • bucket which is attached to a vacuum cleaner tube
  • funnel slotted into the white plastic pipe
  • smaller funnel inserted into a shower hose
A mixture of cornflour and water (oobleck) is then poured into these containers which then slowly dispense it into the satellite dish which acts as a sieve, however the mixture just passes through the holes.

It is then collected in one half of a briefcase which has been tilted at an angle so that the mixture runs down to one end where a hole has been drilled into one of the corners.

From here it is funneled down a piece of black guttering where it eventually drops into a vinyl which has been melted around a glass bowl to form a container.


At this point the vinyl in spinning and consequently the centrifugal force causes the mixture to be flung out causing a random accumulation of the mixture on the surface of the player which then soon dries out.

Cornstarch (Oobleck)

I noticed this video posted on the SEA blog which shows a mixture of cornflour and water, called oobleck, which is then placed in a tray or sometimes directly inside the speaker cone and then different frequencies played through it. When a standing wave is achieved at a certain frequency a hole is then blown with a straw and the resulting effects are remarkable! Have a look for yourself:



I thought this would be a very suitable material to use in my project as it has very ambiguous characteristics and is therefore escapes the boundaries of classification, is it a liquid or a solid?

Reclaiming roots

Angkor Wat - Cambodia

On the subject of weeds, I witnessed some enormous weed-like trees whilst in Cambodia a couple of years ago, at a Buddhist temple complex in the Middle of the jungle called Angkor Wat. Some of the roots seem so fluid in their motion, as if oozing over the stone creating some extraordinary compositions.


Trees around the fence of Kelvingrove Park

Slightly closer to home, I remember walking past the fence of Kelvingrove park and seeing an area where the trees were growing very close to the fence and had grown between the bars and of the years expanded to encapsulate them. I find this to be a very impressive spectacle, one that may take many years but nonetheless is a fantastic display of determination and defiance.


For me, these trees demonstrate how anything that is suppressed will inevitably escape it's boundaries sooner or later:

i.) In nature, weeds and trees will grow around, up or through most obstacles
ii.) In states where a strict i.e. communist regime has been imposed, artists will still continue to create underground work in response/in spite of this
iii.) Even suppressed thoughts which are imposed by the conforms of society's will be unveiled in your dreams (Freud)

Michael Landy - Break Down (2001)

A recurring theme in most of books and films mentioned earlier is how objects which are prone to being nostalgic and therefore provoke memories and emotions, are removed from society to be left with a very bland environment where people walk around mindlessly, reducing procrastination and increasing the efficiency of the economy.

Break Down involved Michael Landy documenting every item in his possession and then proceeding to destroy them all - a comment on contemporary consumer capitalism. In this case however, it has been his own personal decision and is similar to the lifestyle that a Buddhist monk might live.



Having performed such a theatrical spectacle one would wonder how Landy's next work would respond to this rather traumatic event in his life. His answer was to go back to appreciating very tiny plants, in this case weeds which are completely overlooked on a daily basis. However, his incredibly detailed etchings reveal how fantastically intricate they can be and for him I think the process was very therapeutic.


I think weeds are particularly interesting as they seem so fragile however they manage to grow pretty much everywhere, from the cracks in a wall to the pavement and can exist without very much sustenance.

Books & Films about oppressive regimes

Aldous Huxley - Brave New World (1932)


"Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't."
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World

"I can sympathise with people's pains, but not with their pleasures. There is something curiously boring about somebody else's happiness."
Aldous Huxley


George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)


Equilibrium - Kurt Wimmer (2002)



The Pianist - Roman Polanski (2002)



The Lives of Others - Florian Henckel von Donnersmark (2006)

Trip to Sharmanka Studios (01.02.09)

Russian Kinetic Sculpture Studios - 64 Osborne Street, Glasgow

SHARMANKA (Russian for hurdy-gurdy) was founded by sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky and theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya in St.Petersburg (Russia) in 1989. Audiences in many countries have been fascinated by its magic, and based in Glasgow since 1996 it has gained a reputation as one of the city’s hidden treasures.


In 1961 it was the time of the Khrushchev "thaw". People started to write and paint in private without joining the official Union of Soviet Artists and Writers. An 'underground' culture spread through people's flats , too widely dispersed for the KGB to control. In 1975 thousands of people queued for hours to get into an exhibition put on at Constantine Kuzminsky's flat.

A few days after closing, all participants were called to the City Department of Culture and told that nothing like that would be tolerated again and many of his friends were forced to leave the country, were arrested or just disappeared altogether. Eduard didn't actively oppose the regime. Like countless others he chose to resist passively. He was one of those known as 'internal emigrants' who left the Soviet Union Psychologically though not physically.

Self Portrait and monkey

"In the belfry of the millennium clock there was going to be the sort of traditional figures associated with mechanical clocks - figures that reflected the life cycle from birth to death. But then it came clear that something else should be remembered from this millennium, the millions imprisoned, murdered, maimed and vanished. Finally we named it Requiem..." Tatyana Jakovskaya (Eduard Bersudsky's wife)

Millenium Clock Tower


Words don't sit easily on Eduard Bersudsky's works:

"they are re-awakenings of old, half-forgotten myths. They spring from the collective memory of us all. When we see Eduard's work we recognise it; it's as though it's always been. This is the hallmark of great art - the rediscovery of what's lasting." - Julian Spalding

Portrait of Eduard Bersudsky

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Jesse Owen

In 1936 Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Summer Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes German athletes would dominate the games with victories (the German athletes did indeed achieve a top of the table medal haul). Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan racial superiority" and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals and consequently shattered Hitler's preached values.


This goes to show that some of the most successful methods of breaching oppressive regimes have been through actions rather than words, as is the case with the black liberation movement of Jazz.


It may have been possible for Hitler to limit black people's rights but as is clearly demonstrated here, no matter how many material possessions you might take away, it is not possible to extract a persons skills or memories which are some of the most powerful and invisible weapons of them all.

John Heartfield

John Heartfield was a pioneer of modern photomontage. Working in Germany and Czechoslovakia between the two world wars, he developed a unique method of appropriating and reusing photographs to powerful political effect.

Heartfield devised photo-based symbols for the Communist Party of Germany, allowing the organization to compete with the Nazis' swastika. His images of clenched fists, open palms, and raised arms all implied bold action and determination. In the image above, a disembodied fist becomes a radio antenna for a Communist-affiliated station in Czechoslovakia that broadcast into Fascist Germany.

'The Voice of Freedom'
in the German Night on Radio Wave 29.8, (1937)

Heartfield unleashed his sharpest satire on Hitler's Führerkult (cult of the leader), the basis of German Fascism. These montages parody Hitler's most iconic poses, gestures, and symbols to create the impression that one need only to scratch the thin surface of Fascist propaganda to uncover its absurd reality.

Adolf, the Superman, Swallows Gold and Spouts Tin -
(AIZ (July 17, 1932), vol. 11, no. 29, p. 675)

In this cover for the AIZ, Heartfield used a difference in scale to dramatize Hitler's relationship to Germany's wealthy and financially supportive industrialists. The leader is seen as a puppet whose now-infamous gesture reads as the acceptance of monetary influence.

The Meaning of the Hitler Salute, Little Man Asks for Big Gifts -
(AIZ (October 16, 1932), vol. 11, no. 42, front cover)