Trolling Against War


Jessica Gräber (artist name) Peng! talks about arms industry

The global weapons industry continuously supplies those at war with further ammunition, with Germany playing a significant role. On Tuesday night at the re:publica, The Peng! - art collective demanded regulation.

Germany is the third biggest arms exporter in the world. German small arms, in particular, are in use in almost all current war zones. The government barely regulates this export as it benefits the economy. All this, even though Article 26 of the German Constitution commits itself to peace: “Any acts which intend to disrupt the peaceful living together of nations, or in particular support the preparation of offensive warfare, are not constitutional.”

This commitment to peace stands in stark contrast to the arms industry, says the Peng! – press speaker, who goes under his artist name “Jessica Gräber”. The Berlin collective is made up of artists, scientists and artisans, and is renowned for its subversive performance art and civil disobedience. Currently it is making the case for a strong federal law that would regulate arms exports – in spite of how unlikely it will be to come out on top against arms lobby.

In order to inform the public and put pressure on the economy and politicians, Peng! has recently initiated three campaigns which they presented in their talk: a supposed election video by the CDU which promotes more emotions and less weapons, a recall of all Heckler & Koch weapons in the US and peace prizes for the arms industry initially all made the rounds as serious news. Only much later Peng! unveiled its coup.

Their satirical campaign has already gained Peng! the attention of politicians. The Federal Foundation for Culture has pledged a further 150,000 Euros for the collective and its cooperation partner Schauspielhaus Dortmund.

by Franziska Hoppen and Marcello Kaiser (EJS)

Photo and video credit: re:publica/Marcello Kaiser (CC BY-ND 2.0)