MomenTech's International Collaboration with Blanka Amezcua Considers the German-Led EU Debt Bailout of Greece
"If Greece is ready to accept tough measures, not just in one year but over several years, then we have a good chance to secure the stability of the euro for us all."
-- German chancellor Angela Merkel, on her nation’s role in saving Greece from bankruptcy, BBC News, April 26, 2010
NEW YORK, September 26, 2010 -- MomenTech has launched the first part of Proverbs, a word-based public-space project that geographically situates translations of proverbs, recontextualizing them in order to explore the international exchange of ideas and resources in an increasingly globalized world.
The first part of the Proverbs series is entitled Dance By Yourself, and was created specifically for 3///3: Three Walls on Wednesdays, a mobile public art project of the New York- and Athens-based artist Blanka Amezkua that was mounted throughout Athens, Greece, in September 2010.
Installation view of "Dance By Yourself" at Orthodox Christian church of Saint Barbara (Aghia Varvara) outside the Ano Patisia metro station, Athens, Greece, September 29, 2010 (image courtesy Blanka Amezcua; more photos here)
The title of the piece comes from the phrase "Dance by yourself and you can jump as much as you want," which is the English translation of the Greek proverb "Μοναχός σου χόρευε, κι' όσο θέλεις πήδα," which means "If you are alone you can do as you wish, but in a group you have to take others into consideration; Compromise."
Dance By Yourself is comprised of a sheet (or sheets) of paper upon which this proverb is printed over and over again in both Greek (the language of its origin) and its translation into German ("Tanze mit dir alleine, und du kannst hüpfen, wie du willst") and refers to the recent German-led EU bailout of Greece. (The specific number of sheets and its placement within the Three Walls project was determined by Ms. Amezkua.)
In May, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prevented EU member state Greece from going into bankruptcy by issuing a three-year bailout worth €110 billion ($143.5 billion).
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, agreed to pay the biggest share of any EU state, assuming 28 percent of the loan, which has pulled Greece out of its debt crisis. The passage of the bill by Germany’s Bundestag received much opposition within the country.
At first, German chancellor Angela Merkel resisted helping Greece, but eventually capitulated to pressure from the EU and the IMF.
“We said time and again, if the stability of our currency was in danger, we would act quickly and decisively. And this is the point that we've reached,” Merkel told ZDF television.
Dance By Yourself recontextualizes a Greek proverb into German not only to highlight and examine the current relationship between the two countries, but also to consider the EU's various language barriers as well as the challenge of compromise between all the eurozone member states as they navigate through the difficulties of having a single currency but different national laws, regulations and spending/saving habits.
Future installations of MomenTech’s Proverbs series include It Takes a Village, which takes its name from the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child," the English translation of the Nigerian proverb "Ora na azu nwa." For this piece, a standard Mandarin translation of the proverb (originally written in the Niger-Congo language Igbo) will be installed in the public space in Nigeria, and contemplates the memorandum of understanding between the two nations in establishing a strategic partnership that includes a growing bilateral trade.
Click here to view images of the installation in Athens, Greece.
The Proverbs series continues MomenTech’s investigation into the current state, potential and limits of neo-nomadism and transnational progressivism.