The Netherlands is respectful. Russia is corrupt.
by Igor Stromajer
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 2008
Co-produced by Intima Virtual Base (Slovenia), De Balie Centre for Culture and Politics, De Volkskrant (Oog) and The Netherlands Institute for Media Art
In his work The Netherlands is respectful. Russia is corrupt. Štromajer is in search of current verdicts about the different countries from Eastern and Western Europe. They take the form of stereotypical sentences and surprising quotes and run parallel across the screen. The hierarchical devide between East and West changes once you try to read the sentences. The speed of the sentences makes the words tumble and meanings become interchangeable.
Visual Foreign Corespondents is a monthly series of audiovisual artworks for the public screen and online related to The Globalised Crystal Ball, an international debating program in De Balie. Distinguished artists from around the world are invited each month to give their personal visual commentary on events and situations from their local perspective.
Curated by Nanette Hoogslag, David Garcia, Petra Heck, Nat Muller, Eric Kluitenberg.
– Annet Dekker: Interview with Igor Stromajer (for VFC)
Western Europe is good.
Austria is organized. Belgium is modern. Denmark is principled. Finland is clean. France is civilized. Germany is effective. Greece is experienced. Iceland is peaceful. Ireland is beautiful. Italy is cultured. Luxembourg is rich. Malta is cute. The Netherlands is respectful. Norway is stable. Portugal is cosy. Spain is potent. Sweden is relaxed. Switzerland is precise. The United Kingdom is magnanimous.
Eastern Europe is bad.
The Czech Republic is tasteless. Hungary is slow. Estonia is submissive. Bulgaria is polluted. Latvia is bankrupt. Lithuania is ugly. Poland is poor. Russia is corrupt. Romania is dirty. Slovakia is lazy. Croatia is slovenly. Serbia is barbarous. Montenegro is barbarous, too. Albania is laggard. Macedonia is chaotic. Ukraine is dangerous. Belarus is unsafe. Moldova is insignificant. Cyprus is traumatic. Slovenia is trivial. Bosnia and Herzegovina is indolent. Turkey is merciless.
The work is placed in four distinct contexts (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, start: 12 February 2008):
1. Projected on various large urban screens in specific locations:
– De Balie Centre for Culture and Politics
– Zuidas – CAS Zuidas
– Elf (Stedelijk Museum / Museum of Modern Art)
2. Launched during the The Globalised Crystal Ball event in the conference space.
3. Shown in Oog: a space in on-line edition of De Volkskrant, a major Dutch national daily newspaper for visual artist’s commentary on the current affairs.
4. Presented on the website connected to VFC.
Using the form of guerrilla style intervention the Slovenian artist Igor Štromajer is constantly searching for ever more intimate means of communication. In recent years Štromajer became internationally known for his internet performances Ballettikka Internettikka and Oppera Internettikka in which, together with Brane Zorman, he works with low-tech equipment on themes like emotion and trauma. Currently he is concentrating on political aspects of mobile and digital communication.
Comments from www.visualcorrespondents.com and YouTube websites:
Susanne (21-3-2008 12:47:08):
society, being reinforced by our experiences with the people from each nation, the government decisions of each nation, the flavour that governments want to project about their country and other countries etc.
Politics as poetry…
As a non-EU citizen I am not attached to Stromajer’s statements about each European country, even though I live in one. I find his use of words, choice of language (English, not his native tongue, but mine) and way of presenting his thoughts very interesting and entertaining.
People also make gross generalisations about my country because they have never been there, or if they have they only saw one side of it, so I see the irony in Stromajer’s work.
By the way, New Zealand is clean.
– (7-3-2008 19:18:59):
nee, dit komt de europese eenheid ten goede… denk eens na man, wat je zegt is niet eens waar. hoe kun je zo generaliseren. totaal respectloos
Gryzomir (17-2-2008 14:16:19):
Nic dodac nic ujac.
Volksrankt moglaby drukowac ta codziennia ta prace zamiast wysilac na ukrywanie tych tresci miedzy wierszami. Przynajmniej nikt nie mialby zludzen.
What kind of nationalist bullshit is this?
Down with patriotism! Long live socialist internationalism!
Workers of the world unite!