If you were walking through Berlin’s Alexanderplatz at around 10am this Thursday, May 10, you may have seen a group of picketers holding signs, but standing eerily still, outside of Deutsche Bank. No, this wasn’t a mass strike of ‘living statues’; it was an art installation-cum-protest.
In October 2011, British designer Loki English and strategic planner Paul Stabe, both members the of Berlin collective Good Friends, decided to take a tour of three big Occupy encampments in the West for a project entitled ‘Wall Street to your Street‘. During their visits to Occupy Wall Street, Occupy DC and Occupy London, English and Stabe had a simple goal: take as many pictures of protesters as possible, and convert them into life-size cardboard cutouts, to later be placed strategically around Berlin.
“The protests of the Occupy movement address global issues,” said “Paul”, in a statement released after the May 10 action, “We wanted to give protesters the opportunity to make their voice heard in other countries.”
According to the project’s website, the choice of Deutsche Bank for the first major Wall Street to your Street protest was a very deliberate move:
Deutsche Bank was heavily involved in bringing about the financial crises, knowingly selling “junk” subprime mortgage-backed securities that its own analysts described as “crap”. Although the German bank received $11.8 billion of United State’s bailout funds, European governments insist that the costs of the financial crises be paid for by working people as part of the hugely unpopular austerity programmes.
The cardboard protestors – as well as their creators – will be out during a global day of action against government-imposed austerity on May 12th, gathering with thousands of others for a march in Berlin.
If you’d like a photo of yourself protesting to be made into a cardboard cutout, consider visiting wallstreettoyourstreet.com.