Mood Board

Inspiring us right now: these brutally banal images from a new book, Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives, and exhibition at Morgen Contemporary in Berlin. German artist Simon Menner spent two years combing through countless 70s- and 80s-era photos culled from declassified files kept by the Stasi, East Germany’s post-war secret police. Their mission was to mingle among the populace and spy on their every move and utterance for traces of Communist disloyalty. The agents’ over-the-top disguises, with their goofy fur hats, daft aviators, strange mustaches, and tacky tourist tracksuits, belie the horror suffered by any citizen suspected of Western sympathies. Think marathon interrogations, endless surveillance, sudden disappearances. Yet there’s no denying their sartorial subterfuge is the height of nerd chic.

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