Joseph Goebbels - A threat from the past

The project within the Belgrade summer festival BELEF 05 has been developed by artist and designer Aleksandar Macasev

The beginning of the 21st century is marked with media integration (net, live TV, radio, print, advertising, mobile) that form the global infosphere. The power of infosphere is established on the fact that the truth actually doesn't exist, there are only different messages and stories, that we can believe or not. Our 'truth' becomes a thousand times repeated message.

The project 'Joseph Goebbels(TM)' that has been developed within this year's Belgrade summer festival BELEF 05 by the artist and designer Aleksandar Macasev, is the artistic work in form of media campaign that warns about the general 'Joseph Goebbels condition' in contemporary mass communication is based on the presumption that the former minister for propaganda in nazi Germany dr. Joseph Goebbels is the father of contemporary mass communication.

The phenomena of propaganda exists from the earliest forms of human civilization but it expanded in the World war II era with the accelerated development of infosphere. Although Russia, USA and Great Britain used almost the same propagandistic activities at that time, the synonim for propaganda is the nazistic one with Joseph Goebbels. Mostly because of its systematics and organized system of influencing the minds and works of people.

The basics of nazi propaganda are the principles that are still widely used in today's market communication. The messages have to gain interest of the public and have to be transfered by the media that fosters awareness. Propaganda has to name all messages with easy recognized slogans and phrases. The source of the message has to decide whether the information is true or false. And of course the cult principle: A thousand times repeated lie becomes a truth.

The campaign Joseph Goebbels(TM), including video and radio spot, posters, flyers and web site ( ), is special because the camapign itself is an art work. It doesn't communicate any event or product. Main visual motive is the portrait of Joseph Goebbels, made out of small logotypes of media and communication companies (Motorola, Netscape, CNN, Disney, Windows, ...) that become visible only when we step closer to the portrait. As Aleksandar Macasev, the author (born in 1971, Art Directors' Club of Serbia member and lecturer of interactive design at the BK Academy) says: 'One of the main messages of the campaign is: Take a better look'.

Because of intensity of information today's infosphere allows unbelievable propagandistic manipulation. The biggest part of our reality is under the influence of media messages. From product advertising, political programs or activistic ideas, to information on weather, terroristic attacks or fashion trends and distribution of knowledge, religious dogmas and historical facts - the organizers of Joseph Goebbels(TM) campaign wrote in their press release.

'This year's selection of visual arts at BELEF gives the most emphasis to the expansion of possibilities for contemporary art in 21st century, when the boundaries between design, media and traditional art are vanbishing,' said the selector Anica Tucakov.

Jasa Gabrijan