50th Anniversary - Potsdam Conference - 1995 - Lightbox Images
As part of the events marking the 50th anniversary of the Potsdam Conference in Potsdam, Germany, I participated by having an exhibition of digitally altered and printed images that were placed in 160 lightboxes at tram and bus stops throughout Potsdam, as well as a smaller number in Berlin and in Arnhem, the Netherlands. My goal was to create a reflection of 50 years of history when the people of Potsdam were living the consequences of the Potsdam Conference. I did this by using photographs from the DOK film studio archives, photographs taken by Potsdam photographer Martin Seidel, and photographs from personal archives of the people of Potsdam, as well as photographs that I took in Potsdam while working on the project. By digitally altering the images and creating a sort of "digital collage" my goal was to use computer technology to combine layers of time, creating an image that evokes a glance in all directions. Using a means of communication usually dominated by advertising to express more than the enticement to consume, my goal was to broaden opportunities for advertisers and invite the public to use the lightboxes as a reflection of their own creativity.
This image of the Garnisonkirche in Potsdam was taken by Martin Seidel, used with his permission. It shows the first explosion when the East Germans destroyed the church in the bottom right corner. The steeple did not collapse, two weeks later a female demolition expert from West Berlin assured the destruction. Martin Seidel was at street level for that explosion. In creating a digital version I outlined the steeple and expanded it, creating another explosion after it rendered digitally. My intent in creating this image was to honor the courage of those independent souls who stood up to the Stasi, people like Herr Siedel who could have been arrested for taking the photographs.
I put this image into the lightbox that was at the entrance to the Stasi headquaters in Potsdam, to remind them that history records the deeds of despots.
Corporate sponsors for the project were : Wall AG, Berlin, Germany. ESC, Badsalzuflen, Germany. OCE' Germany, and Color Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands. The image is the original lightbox print, not the digital version.