Foto-Shop is a Berlin-based photo cooperation of eight photographers, together with a small gallery which serves mainly as a hub for inhouse and external photographers to showcase their work.
So far, so good, nothing unusual. With some young photogs and two small gallery rooms with 23 square meters in a sexy area of an european metropolis, it´s just that classical -- not subcultural -- innovative photography scene thing going on.
But, on the other side of the street, daily dozens of policemen walk into one of Berlin´s biggest district police departments in
rowdyish South Central Los Angeles
peaceful Central Berlin. As to no surprise, while all these stubborn officers
can´t sit all day in their pretty neat offices drinking cheap cold coffee
until retirement, they sometimes have to leave their gilded cages to
fight the omnipresent mafia crime, unconvincible parking offenders and obviously that suspicious local innovative photography scene thing.
Foto-Shop recently presented (open since last saturday) a photo exhibition called "Un-Dis-Position" (indisposition). In the run-up to the exhibition Foto-Shop showcased an installation in the shop window to reflect the echo which started in the islamic world and elsewhere when the german Pope Benedict XVI recently visited Germany, and quoted in his speech "a 14th-century Byzantine emperor as saying that the prophet Muhammad brought "only evil and inhuman" things to the world" (Washington Post, Popes´s Comments About Islam).
The installation consisted of:
- A female torso
- A skull
- The Cross
- A symbolic belt with explosives
- A Santa Claus costume with a Santa Claus hat
- An old book with a quotation from Pope Callixtus III (basically "Muhammed is the son of the devil, let´s fight the islamists")
- A clipping of an US dollar bill with the divine eye and the imprint "In God we trust".
- That´s it.
Shortly afterwards Foto-Shop was accused of blasphemy, a criminal offense in Germany, not by a christian or any other member of a religious group (there are some in Berlin), but reported by a police officer himself (see Foto-Shop´s recent press release in Kraut).
Because of "breach of the public order" Foto-Shop was forced by the authorities to take down the Santa Claus hat and The Cross. According to Foto-Shop it is currently unclear if it is legal to publish a photo of the installation (actually this is the reason why this photo currently does not appear here).
I´ll be back with more news on this matter soon.