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25.000 Euro Reward

Goal: Stop the biggest arms deal in recent German history. Method: Offer a reward of EUR 25,000 for any evidence that puts one of the owners of arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) behind bars. Large-format posters throughout Germany advertise the reward in exchange for information related to tax evasion, money laundering or investment fraud.

Intended side effects: The arms dealers are exposed, acquiring involuntary fame across the country. The media reports on the main beneficiaries of the billion euros arms deal with Saudi-Arabia and the export of 270 Leopard II tanks.

Within just three months, more than 2,500 articles were published on our “social choking sculpture”. Even confidants, employers and friends distanced themselves from the owners. The arms deal with Saudi-Arabia – one of the world’s harshest dictatorships – failed.

“I am morally appalled!“

Kurt Braatz, KMW’s press spokesman

“This campaign is a stroke of genius! If there’s any way I can help, I will.“

Rupert Neudeck

Archetypes of German arms trade: anthroposophists, artists, photographers, teachers, psychologists, even a Mozart biographer and member of the “Humanist Union“. KMW is the private property of two families (von Braunbehrens and Bode).

Screenshots of the original site: comprehensive biographical dossiers for each owner – testimony to a pure doctrine of moral schizophrenia.

Both families share an arbitrary attempt to fill their CV preventatively with humanitarian and aesthetic activities in order to morally compensate for their role within the arms clan.

"They just didn’t know what to do. [...] Arms manufacturers are well-acquainted with campaigns against them. They have been the focus of attention for several years and keep doing what they have always done: observe, stay silent, wait. But this time the surprise was too big, the campaign too radical, the approach too innovative.”

Teaching the arms industry the meaning of fear (Annual Review “Netzpolitik“ 2012)

Using art as a weapon to question the influence and responsibility of shareholders for their company. Before the campaign KMW’s owners were only mildly interested in their company’s business policy. The “photographer” receives a letter from her long-standing curator: “I call on your morality and urge you to play an active role in KMW’s corporate policy.”


The largest KMW shareholder decides to take legal action as he feels publicly “persecuted and humiliated“ even though the campaign aims at helping the owners overcome their distorted self-perception in order to make them see themselves as what they truly are. The lawyers of the extremely wealthy arms dealer manage to obtain a cease-and-desist declaration.

Surprise, surprise: an arms dealer breaks the usual silence and gives ZDF an interview about the campaign. He further reveals the owners’ position on the tank deal: “Some do not approve of it.” Three days later he is expelled from the company’s supervisory board and members’ council.
Von Braunbehrens defends himself on his website claiming that the campaign has nothing to do with performance art. He further bemoans that while Schlingensief’s campaigns remained purely symbolic, the Center for Political Beauty enters the realm of reality. Two years later, he sold all his shares.
Ordinary citizens explain the meaning of and declare war on KMW’s owners in 100 letters. A project for the Berlin Biennale with the motto “Forget fear”. 
  • “It is better to expose a few people to public shame than an entire nation to German tanks.”

    Julian Fu via Facebook
  • “There are no words to describe how much I like this campaign. They would first have to be invented.“

    Anna Elbe
  • “Since the beginning of Wikileaks, no internet campaign aimed at rectifying democracy has fascinated me as much!“

    Willi F.
  • “The Center for Political Beauty proves that art does not necessarily have to be an end in itself or the design of decorative goods for the offices of executives in multinational companies.“

    Thomas S.
  • “The campaign is unique in its creativity. Its repercussions and media coverage are tremendous. I just cannot believe that there are artists amongst the beneficiaries of these deals.”

    Nikolaus
  • „I don’t think there has ever been a campaign which has moved and impressed me as much. Not only is it well-conceived but also very thoughtfully implemented!”

    Maurice
  • “This is the craziest shit I’ve seen since the invention of social media!“

    Zwei Teilig via Facebook
  • “Kudos to this impressive example of democratic resistance!“

    Franz from Salzburg
  • “Attacking responsibility right at its core! The owners don’t care about the day-to-day business of their company and don’t assume any responsibility. They believe the economic system forces the company executives to act in favour of profit accumulation true to the motto: “If we don’t do it, other people will. So seeing as it would happen anyway, we don’t bear any responsibility”. This line of argument was unmasked by your campaign.“  

    Chairman of the German Peace Society Bonn
The Leopard II A7+ is not just any weapon of war. It was especially designed to be deployed in cities as our campaign video demonstrates. The list of “features” are like music to the ears of dictators wanting to suppress civic uprisings.

The crime in question: the totalitarian Saudi-Arabian regime invades neighbouring Bahrain to brutally clamp down on the democratic protests. A few weeks later, KMW plans to export high-tech Leopard II A7+ tanks to Saudi-Arabia. The Economist ranks the country 161 out of 167 states in terms of democracy.

Burkhart von Braunbehrens, one of the owners, to the German newspaper DIE ZEIT: “Looking into exporting German tanks to Saudi-Arabia during the Arab Spring was of course bad timing.“

Renowned arms trade expert Andrew Feinstein in an interview with German national television on our campaign which ruthlessly revealed the ownership structure of KMW: "The executives of the weapons makers should not be able to sleep at night!"

Presse

The Local Activists offer cash for info on tank makers

Global Voices Wanted Posters against the Delivery of Tanks

The Art Newspaper Documenta ignores Kassel's bloody history

Express (France) Scandale!

Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark) Kontroversiel

Lenta (Russia) Artikel

RTL4 (Netherlands) Proteste gegen Waffenindustrie

Der Standaard (Belgium) Wapenhandelaar

De Wereld Morgen (Belgium) 25.000 euro

Tyden (Czech Republic) 800 tanku Leopard

Haber Turk (Turkey) Bu tanklar

Saudi-Arabien Artikel