• Germany's news in English
 

Naked in the train: artist shocks Europe

Published: 07 Aug 2013 14:33 GMT+02:00

Standing in a crowded U-bahn, trousers around your ankles, with just an iPad shielding your privates from the gaze of curious strangers might not be everyone's idea of art, but for one Berlin-based performance artist, it's all in a day's work.

With his provocative 'live advertising' stunt, Mischa Badasyan says he is breaking boundaries – and sometimes local laws - to get people thinking about the prevalence of advertising in public spaces.

Armed only with a blank-screened iPad and a t-shirt declaring “Your advert here” in various languages and an arrow pointing to his genitals, Badasyan is touring European capitals as a 'walking billboard' to see how locals react.

But the artist was disappointed to find that few onlookers have so far taken up his offer to use him as a living, breathing poster boy.

“I was surprised to get negative reactions or aggressive feedback,” Badasyan, 25, told The Local. “Some people shouted at me in Berlin, they didn't like my idea at all.”

The Armenian-born artist, who came to Dresden as a student in 2008, said he wants to “break stereotyped thinking” and challenge social norms with his art. He aims to take his 'ADbuster' pants-down project to every European capital.

So far he has hit landmarks and public transport in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Bratislava, Sofia, Bucharest and Rome – at times with explosive results.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Naked in the train - Badasyan gets mixed reaction from Europeans

“In Italy two guys blamed me for disturbing and reckless behaviour towards children. One guy screamed at me and violently pulled up my trousers,” Badasyan told The Local.

“In France I got in trouble with the security guards at the Pompidou Centre, they tried to call the police but I ran away.”

Badasyan feels the influence of advertising – particularly what he sees as manipulative sexualised adverts - on modern life is often ignored.

“Every step of your life in modern society is influenced by advertisement,” the artist writes on his website. “Each commercial advertisement can be viewed as an invasion of privacy.”

But many who spotted the trouser-less Badasyan in a public place did not immediately catch the point of his message.

“Mostly people asked me why I was doing it and what on earth the iPad was doing there,” he said. “Some people found it funny.”

“Some supported my idea that we have to rethink … billboards with sexual ads in the city,” he added. “Just a small number of people absolutely supported me and liked my campaign.”

Yet in the end, Badasyan said it did not matter what people thought, as long as his work provoked a reaction.

“I always have a message but my performances are open [to interpretation],” he said. “People should have their own idea about what they see in my works.”

Josie Le Blond

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op
Photo: DPA

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op

Intersex person Michaela Raab is suing doctors in a Nuremberg court, who she said operated on her genitals and put her through female hormone therapy without having told her she was genetically a man. READ  

Greece bailout
Greece bailout passes with massive majority
Wolfgang Schäuble addressing the Bundestag on Friday. Photo: DPA

Greece bailout passes with massive majority

UPDATE:German MPs voted 542-32 in favour of extending Greece's bailout programme on Friday. READ  

German soars into ski jump top spot
Photo: DPA

German soars into ski jump top spot

Germany is a "Weltmeister" again, this time in ski-jumping. Severin Freund's 134-metre vertical jumps, and new world distance record of nearly 136 metres, ended the nearly decade-and-a-half wait for German ski jump fans starved for gold. READ  

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'
Muslims at prayer in Frankfurt's Abubakr Mosque. Photo: DPA

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'

After the president of the Central Council of Jews warned against anti-Semitism in Muslim areas of German cities, his Muslim opposite number agreed that 'these fears are justified”. READ  

Consumer rights office slams Facebook
Photo: DPA

Consumer rights office slams Facebook

The Federation of Consumer Protection Offices (vzbv) has warned Facebook over legal breaches in its terms and conditions, saying that its claim on the homepage that “Facebook is free and always will be” is misleading. READ  

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's "Minister of Awesome". Photo: DPA

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'

An offering that rehabilitates the much-maligned German sense of humour is rocking the internet with a searing spoof metal tribute to Greece's formidable new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, filled with painful moments of self-mockery. READ  

This Week in History
Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity
Franz Kafka. Photo: DPA

Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity

100 years ago, Franz Kafka published The Metamorphosis, now seen as one of the most significant works of 20th century German literature. The Local speaks to the academic who has reinterpreted it for a modern audience. READ  

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders
Niels H. in court. The five murder counts against the former nurse may just be the start. Photo: DPA

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders

A male nurse who injected patients with overdoses of heart medication for the thrill of resuscitating them was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment on five counts of murder. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,430
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd