The highly imaginative artist collective Peng is set to receive the Aachen Peace Prize at a ceremony in September, it was announced today. A look at some of their most memorable performance pieces.
The Berlin-based artist collective Peng has been awarded the Aachen Peace Prize, the organization behind the award announced on Tuesday.
The activists behind the Peng Collective have drawn media attention over the years for their controversial actions, most often undertaken incognito. These social and political campaigns occur both on the internet and in public places but as they often go unannounced in advance, recognition often comes after the fact.
For one action, Peng (or Bang! in English) members infiltrated public events with false identities in order to draw attention to arms trafficking.
They also launched creative fake ad campaigns to draw public awareness to poverty in the media public.
In another spectacular action, the artist collective publicly apologized for Germany's Hartz IV welfare laws — in the name of the Federal Ministry of Labor. The Ministry, which knew nothing of the action, started to receive many positive reactions.
For another famous project, the group honored members of the German arms industry at a fictitious Peace Prize ceremony — replete with a specially made statue.
This style of performance "action" is an established art form in Germany, which has its origins in the 1960s and 70s.
Provocative action: 'Germany's stealing'
Among their most recent controversial actions was a series of fake ads on social media with the hashtag #DeutschlandGehtKlauen (Germany's stealing).
In the videos, the artists called for people to steal goods like bananas, tea, chocolate or orange juice in shops and supermarkets as a means of drawing attention to the often poor production conditions in African or South America countries. The sums people save by stealing, they said, should be donated directly to politically active unions in these countries.
For these and other actions, Peng will be awarded the national Aachen Peace Prize; the international prize goes to the Colombian human rights and development organization, Concern Universal Colombia. Endowed with 2,000 euros, the prizes will be awarded on the annual anti-war day, September 1, 2018.
Since 1988, the Aachen Peace Prize has been awarded to people or groups who actively and sustainably promote peace and international understanding in their environment. The prize is sponsored by a compendium of 50 church, political, trade union and social groups as well as 350 individuals.