Arts & Entertainment

German poster Exhibit is an Educational Experience

Amanda Maurer"The Power of Emotions" is an exhibit of posters commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall

History fanatics, sociology enthusiasts, political activists or students with any interest can visit Loyola’s Language Learning Resource Center (LLRC) for an educational viewing experience of German history, culture and democracy.

“The Power of Emotions” is a poster exhibition — created by German historians and educators Bettina and Ute Frevert — that showcases the last 100 years of German history and politics through the lens of 20 different emotions, such as indignation, disgust and enthusiasm. 

The display — which was purchased from the German creators’ website by the LLRC (Crown Center 208) — began Oct. 30 and will run through Nov. 30.

The exhibition doesn’t quite meet the expectations of a historical poster exhibit, which comprises large collections of inspiring photographs, artwork or other powerful visuals. These posters do incorporate those visuals, but in a way that resembles pages in a textbook, with large blocks of text and captions and citations accompanying every picture. 

While the photographs included on each poster may portray the right message, their impact is diminished not only by the inclusion of the explanatory text but also by their small size, especially because the posters include so much white background space.

“People respond with disgust to things that will supposedly taint or poison them,” the “disgust” poster — one of the more touching posters in the collection — explains. Creators use a training manual titled “The Jew as World Parasite” (1944), a political cartoon depicting Western travellers as rats (1959) and five other images to illustrate this claim and illuminate ideologies of disgust among certain German groups. With so many images on one poster, the individual power of each is lost.

Other posters in the collection — including “fear,” “nostalgia,” “curiosity” and “affection” — look nearly identical to one another, using the same typography, color scheme and even strikingly similar layouts. The monotony of the display makes it difficult to stay interested.

While the display may be visually lacking, its message was still strong and its educational value very much present.

Loyola German language and literature professor Reinhard Andress was involved in getting the poster display to Loyola, along with creating the accompanying display case commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

“We are hoping that students would be influenced to view politics and the development of democracy not just in objective terms but also as always incorporating emotions on many levels,” Andress said. 

On the introductory poster, German politician Heiko Maas writes, “This exhibition shows us what is needed in the current political debate: less rage and fear, and greater passion for democracy. This is something worth fighting for together.”

While the exhibit focuses on emotion in German democracy, “perhaps some of that is also applicable to understanding the development of democracy in our country,” Andress noted.

LLRC Manager Paulina Dzieza said students can expect more exhibitions and events — like the upcoming multicultural potluck on Nov. 25 — in the coming spring semester. 

“There is a fundamental relationship between language, culture and history,” she said. “My main goal is to extend the classroom learning process.” 

“The Power of Emotions” is on display in the LLRC through Nov. 30.

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