Documentation of action
Running time 2m 17s
09.11.89 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, signifying the fall of the Iron Curtain and paving the way for the export of Western neo-liberalism in the absence of an alternative ideology to capitalism. To mark this day, exactly 20 years on, we decided to give up one day of our combined wage as artists in residence in Linz, Austria, sending a 50 Euro note eastward down the river Danube through nine European countries to the Black Sea.
The Danube, which dissects Western and Eastern Europe, in the past formed part of the Iron Curtain and today continues to function as a geo-political frontier, delineating a number of national borders whilst, as a major trade route, acting as a fundamental channel for the flow of capital. The bridge from which our bottle set sail is still regarded as a symbol of the economic and cultural rise of Linz during the Nazi period, and now links the landmark contemporary art spaces of the city including the Ars Electronica Centre, all of which were jewels in the crown of Linz’s cultural “offer” in its year as European Capital of Culture 2009
As our currency, the ultimate symbol of European free trade, moved Eastwards along the Danube towards Russia and the Black Sea, its value fluctuated as it passed through marginal Eastern countries, including Hungary, Romania, Serbia and the Ukraine - countries where in 2009 the minimum wage was still less than half of our wage as artists in residence (which at 25 Euro each per day equates to less than 3 Euro per hour).
In 2013, with the future of the single currency in doubt, it endures as the ideological justification for brutal structural adjustment programmes imposed on Southern / peripheral Europe by Northern member states and the IMF, while the European Capital of Culture programme continues to instrumentalise arts and culture in a scramble to regenerate former industrial cities washed up by the tide of capitalism.