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Copyright Riotcop

- in: photos art politics

Photo: Konstanze Burkhart

Yesterday I went to the “BerlinGegen13”-demonstration and planned an art performance containing taking pictures of protest signs and confronting protesters about potential copyright violations of their signs - as the distopian future character “Copyright-Riotcop” that I portraied some time ago for the collectively written theater play “The Time is Right”.

The theater play is about time travel and a way over the top copyright, that acutally destroyes art itself. So pretty much, what the upload filters may become. So that is why I felt that this art intervention is very precise to the point.

Art is a way of free thinking and boundaries breaking social intervention. Art is widely understood as a performative construct. Art becomes art, when it is seen and recognized as art. There is no rule based logically explainable definition that can be applyed by algorithms. Every intention in building filtering algorithms will fail to some degree. I say that as an artist but also as someone working for an AI startup. Machine Learning is basically pattern recognizion - however art cannot be detecte by patterns but only by context. So far there is no computer understandable way of context - and that will make it pretty much impossible for filters to detect art.

Sadly I could not conclude the performance as the real police confiscated the main part of my costume as they claimed it would be a “passive weapon” and held me nearly one hour, so I missed a big part of the demonstration - and the chance for the actual confronting part of the planned performance.

It is quite ironic that an art performance based on a theater play about repressions against artists was shut down at a demonstration about freedom of art. (Though the law used against this art performance has nothing to do with art or copyright. In the theater play the repressions against artists are copyright based too.)

If you happen to have taken pictures of me as Copyright Riotcop, please send them to me: gero [at]

However the protest signs I got to take pictures of were pretty awesome:

Offline Tags

- in: photos tech

The GDPR was set in place in May 2018 and since then it’s quite a debate how it’s still okay to take pictures at conferences. My solution is a variation of “offline tags”.

In 2012 a Berlin based think tank developed a system of buttons to be automatically recognised by a software and edited (either face blurred or gave a note to not take a picture. The software worked only as a prototype demonstration - but the more interesting part for events is: you can give all attendants either buttons or stickers to mark themselves as either “want to be photographed” or “don’t want to be photographed”. If there is a badge it could also be possible to have two versions of a badge with either “no photos” or “yes to photos” or some easy to understand symbol.

As a photographer I’m happy to follow these rules and will take care that no face of someone with a “no photo” tag will be in any of the sorted pictures.

Jazz Dance Photos

- in: photos art

In June 2018 I had a photo shooting at Tempelhofer Feld with my jazz dance class, with our dance teacher of Evgenia Itkina.