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QR Codes for Syria

May 23, 2013

via Róza El-hassan


I call museums, galleries and the Venice Biennale to distribute the QR codes of non violent Syrian pages in form of wall paintings on the sides of the pavilions, on bags, objects and websites.

I call the public to support pro-democracy movement and end of violence in Syria.

February 2011: an anti-regime graffiti was found on the wall of a school in Daraa. Nobody knows who made it. Next day some children from the school are accused of being the ones who made the drawings. They were detained and tortured. Non-violent uprisings start in March 2011. The government does not fulfill people’s demands of a democratic change in the system. Six hundred days of bombing follow, hundreds of thousands of people are detained, seventy thousand people are killed, twelve thousand die under torture. Seventy thousand people dead. Millions of houses destroyed or damaged.

Following a war crime, it usually takes less than ten minutes for a drawing or montage to appear online. The methods of expressions are fast: pencils, brushes, cameras and computers are running hot. The expression of Syrian art is immediate and strong.

Please save my child – a painting. Please save my husband – a blog entry. Please save my friend – a drawing. We love freedom. We love life. The kiss by Klimt painted on wall of a destroyed house by Tammam Azzaz. And other works in Saraqeb like the light and elegant Arabic graffiti with a message for an ultimate will for a better future.

These messages are appropriately expressed with urgency. Hundreds of groups and individuals publish them daily on internet. Some of the messages are hidden behind abstract QR codes created with all the subversive tools of critical expression. Art is rich and splendorous in times of change.

I call museums and the Venice Biennale to distribute the QR codes of non violent Syrian pages in form of wall paintings on the sides of the pavilions, on bags, objects and websites.

QR codes are simultaneously efficient ways to access these realms with the help of a mobile phone and an internet connection. You take a picture with your mobile and another picture appears. No language and text is in-between. The choice to activate it or not is within the viewer. It is up to each to decide if she or he wants to see the hidden reality behind the structure.

Finally however, we would like to ask you to pay special attention to one particular website: the one belonging to the Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan. He lives in Hama, Syria, but was arrested by the Syrian regime on October 2, 2012. Nobody knows of his fate, not even his family. His case stands for hundreds of people who disappeared since March 2011, since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in detainment centers. We call for release of all imprisoned civilians.


Róza El-Hassan
Shadi Alshhadeh – Syrian Voices
2013 February, Budapest   © copyright at the authors


To download QR codes for Syria, print and place in public spaces go here.

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The project is developed and maintained with the collaboration of CIMAM International Committee  for Museums and Collections of Modern Art.

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