Crowdsourcing a new narrative for Europe
Propaganda by the People is all about the need to develop a new story for Europe. The story was not to come from Brussels, be developed by advertising agencies or stem from national governments. Years of campaigns have failed to create a proper narrative; a narrative that would actually address the majority of Europeans. You cannot identify with existing slogans such as ‘United in Diversity’, ‘Europe. Quite Important’, etc. It is poor propaganda, wrapped up in empty phrases and often having an old-fashioned, ugly design.
Propaganda by the People was developed in the Sandberg @ Mediafonds workshop, where producers and creative technicians were assembled to come up with new ways of narrating stories. Arnold, Rogier Klomp and Janneke de Rooij wanted to take Europe back from the EU and went looking for a new and inclusive European narrative. It is for this reason that Propaganda by the People was developed. It gives Europeans the opportunity of telling their own story about Europe, triggered to do so by the makers through the clichés of propaganda.
Crowdsourcing propaganda is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When people share their stories and imagery on our application, they make propaganda for their Europe and motivate people in their network to formulate new stories and propaganda. Collectively, all the separate stories and contributions create a new European story, constructed from the images and comments of all participants.
Propaganda by the People was an experimental project about the need for a new European story. Using a crowdsourced animated film, we tried to gather together the necessary building blocks. To find out if we succeeded, watch the most recent film on the website!
Anyone visiting the Propaganda by the People website can see other people’s contributions and start the cliché propaganda film made by the Propaganda team. The main film consists of a basic black and white animation to which users can add colour. The black and white animations are based on the posters from the development phase. As soon as the film pauses, you can draw in the image and the most recently drawn animation displaces the previous one. This means Propaganda by the People is always in a state of flux, just like the story of Europe will also remain in continuous development.
The development of Propaganda by the People largely came about with the assistance of workshops; from Zagreb to Thessaloniki and from Kaunas to Manchester. A great number of participants recounted their stories of Europe and helped make the project as focused and effective as possible. Nevertheless, it remains an experimental project. Has a new story about Europe been developed? Not really. At least not a definitive one. However, an extremely good method has been developed to talk about Europe and get people thinking about it. Europe is big, bigger, biggest and a lot of discussions about it hit a dead end. Where do you begin? Propaganda by the People provides a tool that allows us to do so. Its creators can therefore be booked at any time to organise workshops about Europe, propaganda and this crowdsourced tool.