Propaganda: Power and Persuasion @ British Library

この夏の最高気温を記録した日、大英図書館に「Propaganda: Power and Persuasion」展(9月17日まで)を見に行った。展覧会自体も見たかったけど、もう一つの理由は、エアコンのきいた図書館で涼みたかったからなのだ。

国立図書館である大英図書館は、様々な国と言語の、多様なフォーマット(本、写本、記録文書、新聞、雑誌、音楽、ビデオ、原稿、データベース、地図、印刷物、絵画等。出版物・デジタル共)150万点以上を有し、アメリカ議会図書館と並び世界最大の図書館とされる。元々大英博物館図書館だったが1973年に博物館から分離、1997年にSt Pancrasに新築された現在の建物に移った。

Propaganda: Power and Persuasion」展は、ポスター、映像、漫画、音楽、本やチラシなどの印刷物など、ヨーロッパやアメリカ、アジア諸国など様々な国が20〜21世紀にかけて製作した「プロパガンダ」を展示。プロパガンダと言えば、戦争に関するものが有名だが、それ以外にも、エイズやマラリアなど病気の予防や子供の育て方なども扱っている。

人々に特定の物の見方や考え方を誘導する意図を持つプロパガンダは、第二次世界大戦中の枢軸国陣営(ドイツ、イタリア、日本)と連合国陣営(イギリス、アメリカ、ソ連など)、大英帝国時代のイギリスと旧植民地国というように、国や立場が違えば、全く違う主張になる。それら相反するプロパガンダを見比べるのは興味深いのだが、展覧会自体は全体的にまとまりがなく、第二次大戦のパンフレットの隣にイラク戦争時のチラシが並んでいたりする。それに、生活や健康に関するものは量も少なく、とってつけたように展示に加えられていたのだが、別々の展覧会にして内容を充実させた方が見応えがある気がする。私的には、大人一人£9払うだけの価値はないかな。

When London encountered the hottest day of this summer, we went to see “Propaganda: Power and Persuasion” exhibition (until Sep 17th) at the British Library. We wanted to see the exhibition, but another reason for the visit was to cool ourselves down with the air-conditioner at the library.

The British Library is the national library, holding over 150 million items from many countries in many languages and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, play-scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, and drawings. It is one of the two largest libraries in the world, together with the Library of Congress of the United States. The library was originally a department of the British Museum but became separate in 1973, and by 1997 had moved into its new building at St Pancras.

Propaganda: Power and Persuasion” exhibition explores international state propaganda from the 20th and 21st centuries, manifested in many forms such as posters, films, cartoons, sounds and texts. The famous propaganda is used to fight wars, but the exhibition also shows us how states try to combat against disease or to advocate a proper way to look after child.

Propaganda is aim to influence and persuade people to think in a particular way, and can be completely opposite between the sides; for example, between the Allies (USA, UK, Soviet Union etc) and the Axis (Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan) during the WWII, or the UK and its colonies during the British Empire. It was interesting to compare propaganda against each other, but the exhibition as a whole was not well organized and a bit confusing, like they are mixing two different things such as WWII and Iraqi war side by side. Also the propaganda about life and health was not comprehensive enough and could have been two separate shows from war time propaganda. For me, it doesn’t worth £9 per adult for the quality.

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