Skip to main content

German artist protests NSA with 'light graffiti' on US Embassy in Berlin

German artist protests NSA with 'light graffiti' on US Embassy in Berlin

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

One artist is using a modified form of "graffiti" to protest the NSA. Early this morning in Berlin, self-proclaimed "guerrilla marketing expert" Oliver Bienkowski used a powerful projector mounted in a cargo van to light up the side of the US Embassy. The projection emblazoned the Embassy with silly illustration of President Obama and a warning for all to see: "NSA in da House."

The US Embassy in Berlin is in a heavily-policed area near the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, and officers peacefully shut down the projection within minutes, according to a video posted online of the exchange. This isn't the first time Bienkowski's used the side of the building as a canvas for his work: last year, he projected the words "United Stasi of America" onto the structure in another protest of spying activities.

The past year has not been a good one for US-German relations. A series of revelations have partially revealed the extent of the NSA's surveillance activities in the European powerhouse. Documents last year revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone was under surveillance by the NSA, and there are concerns over widespread surveillance of internet activities that pass through servers on US soil. Just over a week ago, the Germans expelled a CIA chief in Berlin as a sign of its displeasure with US spy activities in the country.