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Mut zur Wut Selects the Best Political Posters of 2017

Since 2014, the International Poster Competition Mut zur Wut (meaning “courage to rage” in German) has been flagging and championing political posters from around the globe. Every year, 30 winning posters selected from hundreds of submissions are put up along the busy roads and pedestrian walkways of a new city, claiming space typically reserved for advertising for political expression in an act of détournement (the “hijacking” mapped out by the Situationist International in 1958).

Past years have displayed the winning poster designs in the public spaces of Berlin, Munich, and Mannheim in Germany, as well as Oaxaca in Mexico, London in the UK, Perugia in Italy, and Kütahya in Turkey. This year’s winning submissions will transform the streets of the German city of Heidelberg into an arena for political debate and engagement.

Today the organizers, German graphic designer Götz Gramlich and Alexander Henninger, take us through five of the winning submissions,.

1
Dummy

by Max Hathaway

“Global warming has caused and is still causing enormous controversy. Though by now it seems ludicrous to deny the changes happening to the world as they take place before our eyes, there still remain countless people hell-bent on keeping their heads buried in the sand.

“This poster deals with the feeling of helpless frustration in the face of climate change, and its very real impact on nature and human society. No words are needed to convey this simple yet pivotal message: this planet is our home and if we don’t make the right decisions now, we’re all going to crash and burn together.”

2
True Story, I'm Sorry!

by Johanna Daum

“As you might expect, there were a lot of posters dealing with the enigmatic character that is POTUS Donald Trump this year… And unsurprisingly, a lot of people chose to portray the man himself.

“What we like about this poster is the crude, in-your-face way that it expresses feelings of the anger and dismay regarding the rise to power of a figure so economically irrational, politically unacceptable, and with such morally shameful views. Only a few years lie between ‘yes we can’ and ‘grab them by the pussy’, yet still the world is collectively disgusted and in shock by the way things have developed in the formerly ‘United’ States of America.”

3
Exhausting Breath

by Dariush Allahyari

“Posters dealing with pollution are another recurring theme in the competition, and have been throughout the years that we’ve been running it. Air quality, especially in urban areas, can cause serious danger and be life-threatening.

“This representation communicates the message in a visceral and gripping way. Dirt and pollution is shoved down the throat of a person, contaminating their body and taking away their voice. The gritty depiction of this foreign object inside a body conveys the uncomfortable and oppressive truth of living a life amidst deadly fumes.”

4
Tongueless

by Julia Löffler

“We received a lot of posters dealing with the recent developments and turmoil in Turkey, too, often with a focus on the current President, Erdoğan.

“This poster depicts the consequences of living under a dictatorial regime, and how the right to freedom of expression and information is violently cut away. It conveys how enforced conformity is worthless and detrimental to any positive development in a country. We enjoyed the way this poster takes on such a bleak subject matter, but with a positive and colorful aesthetic approach that makes it very gripping.”

5
Police

by Lex Drewinski

“The USA has been dealing with an extraordinary amount of media around how the executive forces of the state are using excessive force. They do so, supposedly, to Serve and Protect!? The credo seems preposterous in the face of such brutality.

“Often the police seem like thugs with a violent mob mentality. This poster uses a very reduced visual approach to maximize its message. In a black-and-white world, harsh measures are taken to ensure order and control. The baton becomes the instrument of choice in this world, and fear the grand motivator on every side.” 

 

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