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For those not being exposed to the European press, this recent controversy about national stereotypes and satirical mapping might still be intriguing. I somehow only now realized its inherit characteristics of a literal geo-visualization with a twist.

Entropa [wikipedia.org] is a sculpture created by Czech artist David Černý under commission for the Czech Republic to mark the occasion of its presidency of the Council of the European Union. The sculpture was supposed to have been created jointly by 27 artists and artist groups from all member countries of the EU, but in a hoax, Černý and his three assistants created the satirical and controversial work depicting pointed stereotypes of European nations and fake artist profiles complete with invented descriptions of their supposed contributions.

The sculpture is an ironic jab at the issue of European integration and the stereotypes associated with each country. It resembles an unassembled model kit containing pieces in the shapes of the 27 member states of the EU. Each piece has a distinctive theme that portrays the stereotypes which the artist perceived to be the most associated with that country.

For example,
. Bulgaria is depicted by a series of connected "Turkish" squat toilets. After much official protest, this part was later obscured from view by black plastic.
. Denmark is built of Lego bricks.
. Poland has a piece with priests erecting the rainbow flag of the Gay rights movement, in the style of the U.S. Marines raising the Stars and Stripes at Iwo Jima.
. Spain is covered entirely in concrete.
. Sweden does not have an outline, but is represented as a large Ikea-style self-assembly furniture box.
. France is draped in a "GRÈVE!" ("STRIKE!") banner.
. and so on, and so on.

Professional high-rez images seem not so easy to find, but the Flickr tag and a dedicated Flickr group seem to have decent collection.




Cultural nuanaces aside, the thing is hideous. I's like to see some more 'visualizations' in public places but not at the expense of aesthetics.

Sun 15 Mar 2009 at 6:05 AM

It's fine art - it doesn't have to look good.

I personally find it hilarious. And a good idea.

Wed 25 Mar 2009 at 7:15 AM
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