Michael Goldberg
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EUROPANOVA.CO
2013
Hidden under a bridge in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark lies an old nuclear shelter dating from 1953 – one of many that were built in and around Amsterdam during the Cold War. Remaining closed for decades, the shelter opened again and was named the Vondelbunker, now functioning as a community space hosting exhibitions, film screenings and activist projects (www.vondelbunker.nl).

Europanova.co comprises two digital prints shown in Extremely Close and Incredibly Slow an exhibition at the Vondelbunker curated by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis.

Scenario: with the GFC having driven the Eurozone to financial disaster, the Europanova Corporation was formed by global banks after the collapse of the financial and social orders. In place of heads of state, the corporation franchised out the member nations of the Eurozone, each under a CEO responsible to shareholders. Europanova.co is the title of an austerity voucher issued by the corporation. The voucher, which can be exchanged for emergency food rations features six recipes for the preparation and eating of tulip bulbs. These recipes were common in the Netherlands during the final stages of WWII, referred to as the Hongerwinter (‘Winter Hunger’), when severe famine drove many Dutch people even to eat the national symbol. This desperate measure was all the more ironic given the history of the tulip bulb as a financial instrument, once traded for exorbitant sums and speculated on during the ‘tulip mania’ of 17th century Holland.

The austerity voucher features a detail of Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp (1631).