Europe's "Greatest Thinkers" Think About "Rebranding" The EU
Print Friendly and PDF

From the New York Times:

The European Union Is Under Threat. Artists Say It’s Time to Rebrand.

By Nina Siegal
May 29, 2018

AMSTERDAM — With populist politicians across the Continent attacking the European Union and negotiations underway for Britain to leave the bloc, the very idea of a unified Europe seems to be under threat. Some artists feel the union needs to rethink its public image and refine its communications strategy to combat these attacks. In other words: to rebrand Europe.

The German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has teamed up with a friend, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, to encourage artists and other creative people to brainstorm ways for Europe to better present itself to the public.

They put out a call in March for rebranding proposals, asking: “How can the European Union be valued by its citizens and be recognized as a force for good, rather than as a faceless bureaucracy?” They requested ideas “for communicating the advantages of cooperation and friendship amongst people and nations.”

More than 400 proposals from 43 countries poured in. A German fashion designer had an idea for a unisex jacket that would serve as a ticket for public transportation in all 28 member states. A dance troupe with members from Albania, France and Italy proposed filming folk dances at European historical sites that could then be broadcast or viewed with virtual reality goggles. A musician from Hungary proposed a new anthem, and dozens of artists sent sketches for new European Union flags and designs for new euro bills and coins. Several proposals suggested the bloc needed to develop a new sense of humor.

Starting Thursday, about 30 of those who submitted the liveliest ideas will participate in Eurolab, a four-day event led by Mr. Tillmans, Mr. Koolhaas and the architectural historian Stephan Petermann during the Forum on European Culture in Amsterdam. Yoeri Albrecht, one of the forum’s organizers, described Eurolab as “a kind of jam session for the greatest cultural thinkers in Europe to tinker and work with the idea of Europe.”

If you don’t believe they’re the greatest, just ask their PR agents.

It might seem obvious for the European Union to contend against nationalism within Europe by emphasizing “continentalism” across Europe by positioning the EU as the defender of Europe and its indigenous Europeans from the on-going invasions by non-Europeans.

But “continentalism” is barely even a word in 2018.

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF