The News Line Saturday May 25 2013 PAGE 7
PROPAGANDA: POWER AND PERSUASION
BY A GUEST REVIEWER
Propaganda: Power and Persuasion British Library, Euston Road, London NW1
Until 17 September 2013.
Exhibition opening hours: Monday 10am-6pm, Tuesday 10am- 8pm, Wednesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday and English public holidays 11 am-5pm
Price: 9 uk pounds / 7 uk pounds and 5 uk pounds concessions/Free .for under 18's
THE British Library's major new exhibition examines state propaganda, from its origins in the ancient world up until the present day.
With over 200 exhibits on display, ranging from chilling Nazi propaganda to modern-day ephemera such as bank notes, badges and even tweets which permeate our everyday lives, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion is the first exhibition to gather such a significant range of international state propaganda in one room, looking at its rationales, methods and effectiveness.
The exhibition is curated by Jude England and Ian Cooke, curators of Social Science at the British Library.
England, Head of Social Sciences at the British Library, says: 'We want visitors to consider the role of propaganda in their own lives today, as well as look at the state's use of propaganda throughout history.
That's why, as well as displaying iconic pieces of propaganda from the Library's collections, such as posters from both World Wars, the Cold War and Vietnam. we also focus on more surprising examples, such as the 2012 Olympics and even Twitter - things you wouldn't necessarily associate with a word like "propaganda".'
The exhibition includes many examples of propaganda in film, and the Library has worked closely with the British Film institute (BFI), curating a range of public information films.
These include the humorous 'coughs and sneezes' public health adverts starring Richard Massingham and the shocking AIDS TV campaign narrated by John Hurt, hailed as one of the most successful public health campaigns in history.
The exhibition is arranged in six sections with the titles Origins, Nation, Enemy, War, Health, and Today.
One of the first things to greet the visitor is a short 1950s US film 'Techniques of Propaganda' in which one character points out 'propaganda can be used to begin wars and to fight wars'.
Origins points out coins were an early form of mass propaganda, and displays Roman coins from AD 290.
It also says that the word propaganda came from the Catholic Church which used the Latin word meaning propagate, to refer to the dissemination of beliefs and doctrine.
Here is an example of cartoons used by protestant Luther, such as Donkey-Pope of Rome in a 1523 pamphlet.
A lampoon of Napoleon after the French occupation of Spain in 1808 is shown next to a giant portrait of him regaled as emperor.
Nation thrillingly begins with images of the Bolsheviks and the 1917 Russian Revolution.
There is a photo of the Bolsehviks' propaganda train, with a huge photo of Lenin, and newsreel from 1910-27, including Lenin addressing a vast crowd and Trotsky a military parade.
A Soviet poster from 1921 Freedom in Every Land with Arabic script and imagery was used to encourage the spread of the revolution.
Posters from China include The White Haired Girl, 1950, which portrays the Chinese Communist Party as the saviour of women.
There is a giant poster promoting the British Empire from 1928, featuring British naval power.
A sub section, titled the 'cult of personality' features images of Chairman Mao alongside those of Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini.
Enemy begins with anti-semitic posters and goes on to feature a 1927 Soviet magazine The Atheist in the Workplace which ridiculed religious belief as ignorant and superstitious.
Soviet posters from the Cold War show US media conducted by a banker and a parody of the Statue of Liberty titled Freedom American Style, 1971.
A WWII cartoon by the Indian Independence League depicted Churchill as keeping Indian people In chains.
The section War has postcards from the Spanish Civil War, Japanese posters from the 1942-4 war with China over control of Korea, and WWI and WWII propaganda posters from the US, UK, Germany, France and Russia.
It particularly focuses on appeals to civilians for the 'war effort' including the 1943 US poster Rosie the Riveter, the UK's Dig for Victory, 1941-5, and a large Russian poster showing Hitler and Mussolini sheltering from lightning bolts made of US, UK, and Soviet flags.
There is a short film that accompanied Goebbels' .Total War speech on 18 February 1943 depicting German military might.
The section also shows the 2003 pack of playing cards made by the CIA featuring Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and members of his government, fingering them to US and UK troops.
After a short section on Health, which includes posters Milk, the Backbone of the Nation, 1968, the Green X Code campaign' and health and safety videos.
Today, the last section of the exhibition, looks at propaganda in the 21st century and features a data-driven installation, Chorus.
This examines how ideas and opinions spread via Twitter today, where everybody can be a source of influential content. In minimalist typographic animations and using only original Twitter messages, Chorus renders a picture of contemporary propagandistic patterns and their complex choreographies.
The section concludes with two front pages from 25 September 2002 responding to the 'dodgy dossier' on Iraq.
The Daily Mirror headline asks has 'Blair proven the case' for an attack on Iraq, saying NO PRIME MINISTER, and the Dally Express repeats the 'Saddam can strike In 45 minutes' lie.
The exhibition also features Interviews with journalists, politicians and academics, including Alistair Campbell, John Pilger, lain Dale, Tessa Jowell, Noam Chomsky and David Welch, author of the exhibition's accompanying book.
It is being accompanied by a series of events, including talks from Alistair Campbell, Martin Bell, Michael Dukakis, Trevor Beattie, Jan Ravens, Xin Ran, Rana Mitter. Mark Borkowski, David Welch and Matt Forde, discussing propaganda in the media, advertising, politics and during times of war.
In addition, a special late at the Library is headlined by exciting London-based duo Public Service Broadcasting, feature DJ sets by Hot Chip and hosted by comedy writer and performer Christopher Green.