Iranian Political Graphics: Internet Dissemination

Voices in Green: Creative Practices in Response to the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election, organized by University of Texas art history doctoral student Roja Najafi, is “an archival exhibition focusing on art and activism around the Iranian Green Movement.” The show, recently on view at UT’s FAB Gallery, featured a physical collection of posters but all of the images were originally disseminated via the internet during 2009’s Green Revolution.

It seems important to note that the posters were printed far from the turbulent streets of Tehran. Historically, printed matter in the form of posters have had great value as agents of change and means of spreading messages. While that tradition does continue, this exhibition raises some interesting questions about the changing role of the poster in political protest. The advent of the internet and digital technology have undoubtedly had an effect- notions of authorship, authenticity, distribution and ownership all become malleable. In the case of Voices in Green, these posters serve as a teaching tool for a distant culture to learn of Iranian struggles for fair elections as opposed to functional documents of protest. Maybe it’s obvious to say but thanks to the web, people across the planet can appreciate near “real time” cultural artifacts as an act of solidarity or, perhaps to more cynical eyes, cultural tourism.

The exhibition is a solid one on any number of levels… as a collection of images, as historical documents, as a reflection on changing technology. Here’s a few more Printeresting posts about the Iranian election.

Above is a detail… the pixelation is quite apparent upon close inspection and stands in stark contrast to “fine art” digital images that seek to hide their underlying structure through greater resolution. The evidence of pixelation serves to make the images more immediate and augment their message. It speaks to the origin of these posters and seems appropriate to the subject.

A bunch more pictures after the jump…

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Categories: Exhibitions

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