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But is it art?

Mark Mardell | 08:25 UK time, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

It probably says more about our perception of artists than the Czech government that no one spotted that the art installation "Entropa" was an elaborate hoax merely by reading the pretentious text attached to each art work. Artwork showing UK removed from Europe

Now we know it was not as promoted, a piece from artists in each of the 27 EU countries. It was in fact all the work of one Czech artist.

The Czech presidency boasted that the artwork, based on an outline of each country, would speak where words fail. Try this failure for size. Alongside the supposed Italian entry, the map of Italy with the figures of nine footballers is the legend "it appears to be an autoerotic system of sensational spectacle with no climax in sight". Or next to the alleged British entry, an Airfix kit of Europe with the UK removed: "this improvement of exactness means that its individual selective sieve can cover the so-called objective sieve".

But the fact that it is a hoax does not mean that the art itself is bad. It's clear the artist David Cerny has a keen intelligence and wry sense of humour. There is the map of France with the declaration "On strike!" - alongside a decaration by the imagined collective "Group de recherche d'art audiovisual" that they have gone on indefinite strike as a protest against globalisation. Artwork showing France with label On Strike!

There is the rather sweet image of Malta with a dwarf elephant atop, the thought-provoking hammer and sickle power tools for Estonia.

But some are darker: the map of Bulgaria with a sketch of a squat-down loo and the words "Turkish toilet", and Holland drowns beneath the waves with only the towers of minarets showing.

It was the Telegraph's man Bruno Waterfield who first sniffed something amiss on his blog. The Czech responded at first churlishly with an insistence that all 27 artists would be at Thursday's grand opening. A few hours later they admitted it was all a hoax and that they were "unpleasantly surprised".Artwork showing Denmark made out of Lego

The text alongside a model of Denmark made out of Lego should have given the greatest warning. It says: "We too should grasp the whole picture of the world, let's not get caught up in individual pixels, but see what they form". I haven't seen the exhibition itself and there is no clue in the angled picture in the brochure, but TV and still pictures of the design do look at a distance rather like one of the infamous Danish cartoons of Mohammed.

The Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra's introduction to the installation, stating that "in today's Europe there is no place for censorship.. I am confident in Europe's open mind and capacity to appreciate such a project" may soon be tested.

Comments

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  • 1. At 08:45am on 14 Jan 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 08:55am on 14 Jan 2009, wrongwood wrote:

    Hammer and cycle?

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  • 3. At 08:59am on 14 Jan 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    I think its a great artwork. If countries would feel at ease, they would laugh at it, instead, the politicians acknowledge the truth behind it by being offended. My congratulations to the Czechs. They certainly aren't boring.

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  • 4. At 09:02am on 14 Jan 2009, JohaMe wrote:

    A nice definition of art I found in Wikipedia: "Art refers to a diverse range of human activities, creations, and expressions that are appealing or attractive to the senses or have some significance to the mind of an individual."

    Whether this work is appealing or appalling is a matter of taste, but it certainly does have some significance to the minds of some individuals. Therefore it's art!

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  • 5. At 09:11am on 14 Jan 2009, CaptainEurotrash wrote:

    I don't understand why so many people spend so much time talking about this thing. It's just a piece of art/non-art.

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  • 6. At 09:19am on 14 Jan 2009, dye4music wrote:

    What a great laugh this is. What is it these days with people getting offended so easily. What happened to having a sense of humour? Surely there's a place for it even in politics? Oh - guess not...

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  • 7. At 09:22am on 14 Jan 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    What happened to the 350,000 Euros paid to David Cerny by the EU for him to distribute to the supposed 17 European artists that created this masterpiece?

    "Pecuniary advantage" and "false pretenses" are the words I would use rather than call it a "Hoax"

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  • 8. At 09:22am on 14 Jan 2009, RJP wrote:

    I love this artwork. Controversial, funny, well executed. Hats off to Cemy.

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  • 9. At 09:26am on 14 Jan 2009, Schopenhauer wrote:

    There is a fine line between depicting national stereotypes and racism. I think that Cerny crosses that line once or twice.

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  • 10. At 09:31am on 14 Jan 2009, aarddave wrote:

    But is it art? Well, it's hard to say exactly what art is but I find it more entertaining and appealing than many of the recent winning entries of the Turner prize that's for sure.

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  • 11. At 09:38am on 14 Jan 2009, mortonnd wrote:

    How wonderful. The Bulgarian icon summs up the EU. It's worth the money to see the EU summed up so accurately.

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  • 12. At 09:48am on 14 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    I like it for a number of reasons. Yes it is cruel, but like many stereotypes it does have some truth to it. Also an apt summary of some of the issues with the E.U., (I know it was commisioned by the Czech's) fraud, smoke and mirrors, gullability, pretensions, basically the emperror's new clothes - made me laugh anyway

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  • 13. At 09:57am on 14 Jan 2009, Maddog wrote:

    i really like it if you can't laugh at urselves, whats the point although that said i think there is bit of a political message behind some of the art. cool thou!

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  • 14. At 10:05am on 14 Jan 2009, Purple-scorpion wrote:

    But what is art and why does it matter whether it's art or not?

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  • 15. At 10:09am on 14 Jan 2009, Ticape wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 16. At 10:11am on 14 Jan 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    Schopehauer - you can only be racist towards a different race. If white is a race, then this artwork isn't racist. If, however, you reject "white" as a race, and you'd like to differentiate into a scale from piggy-pink to olive-tan then you could, I suppose, call it racist.

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  • 17. At 10:15am on 14 Jan 2009, the-real-truth wrote:

    So funding for an EU related project that is supposed to pay one artist in each member state ends up in the pocket of one man who is only supposed to be 'organising' the project.

    In addition to the splendid representations of the individual states, what a splended representation of EU financial management this whole 'art' project is.

    Well done that man.

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  • 18. At 10:19am on 14 Jan 2009, NigelBurman wrote:

    This is the best work of art I've seen in ages.

    Surely art is supposed to evoke emotions? I've had a big grin on my face every time I've thought about this work of art on display in Brussels.

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  • 19. At 10:21am on 14 Jan 2009, mikewarsaw wrote:

    Is it Art? I don't think so but IT IS WONDERFUL VISUAL SATIRE . The reaction here in Poland to the "Polish parody" on Internet blogs/surveys has been a positive 80% approval! Howver, the ultra con/nationalist hard right is of course violently disapproving!. Which just shows that satire and the ability to laugh at oneself is a democratic free world value in itself.

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  • 20. At 10:21am on 14 Jan 2009, clickem wrote:

    Well done, one in the eye for all the governments who have, in recent years, been busy recasting art, through funding and commissioning policies, as a neutered adjunct to social services, reflecting so well their largess in caring for the community.

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  • 21. At 10:27am on 14 Jan 2009, Vee_Dubber_Marv wrote:

    it's certainly provocative, and it's certainly what some would call art. My opinion is irrelevant.

    But what is it's worth?

    Why is there a need to commission an art peice for a 6 month EU presidency in the first place. It's not something to celebrate,

    It's a duty!

    Second to that, why on Earth was there no oversight or supervision? You don't just give that kind of money out not knowing what you are getting. All I can hope is that they haven't paid him yet. If they have, they certainly don't deserve the presidency as they won't be very good at running the EU! If you commission something, the artist is supposed to show you the model before you hand over the readies for what appears to be an 8 tonne insult from the Czech government as they did commission it. The fact that it's full size and in place suggests that somebody somewhere in the Czech higher echelons has said that it is acceptable!

    Humourous intent or not, it's inappropriate and I would not be surprised if more countries take umbrage at the perception of them by the Czech Government.

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  • 22. At 10:28am on 14 Jan 2009, olliinmunich wrote:

    Finally, contemporary art that goes beyond the self-indulgent and self-satisfied tat that is churned out by celebrity artists.

    Cerny's shark, a take on Damien Hirst's work, replaced the shark with a model of Saddam Hussein. I wonder what the Czech Government thought they would get when they commissioned him?

    Cerny claims to believe that Brussels is capable of 'ironic self-reflection.' He can't be that naive. If he is, I think he will be disappointed.

    Is anyone selling posters?

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  • 23. At 10:37am on 14 Jan 2009, jonny1047 wrote:

    Its actually quite funny! The UK missing is only what everyone thinks anyway! Lets laugh at ourselves. I love the Lego Denmark too! And France on strike!

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  • 24. At 10:40am on 14 Jan 2009, GregHethersett wrote:

    But of course it's art - qell done that Czech! Clearly it is David Cerny who is in touch with art, and Europe for that matter, rather than the officials. Understanding how others see you is vital for all those Europeans who are in denial about themselves, and perhaps this exhibit will do that. I remember visiting French friends in the summer and laughing (with them, I should add) about their 35 hour week and continual strikes. "Do you see what other people think of the French?" that said to their kids. We all need to look in the in mirror sometimes, and smile.

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  • 25. At 10:42am on 14 Jan 2009, sirjumpers4goalposts wrote:

    I dont really have an issue with this as a piece of art - in fact peole are far too sensitive about everything nowadays (see the Prince Charles and sooty story, which the actual guy does not have a problem with himself)
    The sad fact is that in the UK , we would have been slated if we had produced this by Europe AND even more sad, we would have slated ourselves internally and probably wasted £5m on a study of racial stereotypes/apologies to our European neighbours/think tanks etc etc blah blah blah yawn yawn.
    The fact is, this is a joke, and in some ways quite a clever one.
    It's our pathetic new-socialist attitudes that are the problem.
    Its about time we in this country got a sense of hunour again and grew a backbone.

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  • 26. At 10:45am on 14 Jan 2009, yeahdisk wrote:

    This is absolutely Brilliant - hats off to the man, and the Country, for reminding us to lighten up. (A point which, sadly, has been completely missed by the politicians).

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  • 27. At 10:49am on 14 Jan 2009, Schopenhauer wrote:

    Gheryando, racism is not just about skin colour. Many of the most ferocious acts of racism have been carried on victims with the same skin colour as the aggressors. The supreme racist, Adolf Hitler, drew a distinction between different white races.

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  • 28. At 10:53am on 14 Jan 2009, Chick Pea wrote:

    I love the fact that the UK isn't on it. The anti-EU people will now be complaining that they're not there!

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  • 29. At 10:53am on 14 Jan 2009, pato10 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 10:55am on 14 Jan 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 31. At 10:56am on 14 Jan 2009, marierihoskova wrote:

    Some info for foreiners. Im Czech. Mr. David Cerný has been main representative of czech modern art since 89. His work hasnt been always art, but so far he was putting attention to issues which were provocative. His became to be "famous" when he painted in 1990s a Soviet tank, a Second World War memorial in a Prague square, bright pink. But this wasnt memorial of WWII at all, it was tank of army which helped to set free Czechoslovakia in 1945. But army of this country came again in 1968 and have stayed. 40 years...
    I m quite glad that in these days after being caught behind the Iron Curtain, we still have sense of humor and one person is able to raise all european bureaucrat up from their warm chairs.
    Although I m glad that we are part of EU.
    Its just the czech way and I hope the rest of Europe will like it.
    Best regards.
    Marie

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  • 32. At 10:59am on 14 Jan 2009, Ticape wrote:

    There is a PDF file with a text of the 'individual artists' explaining their art piece and a close up of the country's art pieces (I tried to link it, but BBC doesn't like links for some reason).

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  • 33. At 11:03am on 14 Jan 2009, kanimoto wrote:

    Shopenhauer,
    Looking at the examples it's more about what the stereotypes do, rather than what they are, so for that reason, I wouldn't say it is racist. A person can choose what they do, but not what they are.
    And with this installation, are we looking at any country and people with condescension?

    So you could say... it is a warm dig at our neighbours' funny predilections. If we were friends, we would laugh, if not, maybe a little insulted. But are we real friends or is the EU a forced friendship? Cerny has asked a question that noone dares answer truthfully, but in our reactions we have the truth. It's a good piece of art.

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  • 34. At 11:10am on 14 Jan 2009, SuperCritical wrote:

    I think this is absolutely brilliant.
    Cerny has taken the EU for a ride and what will be more telling is how they respond to this.

    The EU has such an awful image problem so it is great to see provocative messages like this. The EU doesn't seem to realise that it's problems stem from stressing the union and ignoring the diversity within.

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  • 35. At 11:11am on 14 Jan 2009, Tacalabala wrote:

    If this installation helps to make evident to each member state what the other thinks of them, or their worst characteristics, than it may prove fruitful.

    It's no use having a mirror if you only see what you want to see, rather than the (sometimes ugly) truth.

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  • 36. At 11:12am on 14 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Are the “leaders“ of the "EU“ and their army of apparatchiks, hangers-on, opportunists, traitors, spin-doctors, fraudsters, expenses-cheats, sycophants, deluded idealists, USA-haters, anti-democrats, pension-hunters etc. offended?

    GOOD!

    Then at least they have taken note. Normally they do not take note. They know we were promised a referendum. They know we want a referendum. They know the majority of us (UK citizens) want to say NO. They know that the majority of the “Citizens of the EU“ (= prisoners of the “EU“-dictatorship) do not want Turkey in the “EU but they continue to negotiate.

    They should take note before there is more violence. That is not a threat. That is a concern.

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  • 37. At 11:14am on 14 Jan 2009, oulematu wrote:

    I like this idea although I find some of the depictions (e.g., Germany and The Netherlands) offensive without adding any valuable artistic insight.

    I wonder, is the stereotypical idea of Czechs as scammers also part of the intended message?

    I find that in the interest of legal and intellectual honesty David Cerny should renounce on 26/27ths of his remuneration.

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  • 38. At 11:16am on 14 Jan 2009, MattieBoosh wrote:

    There is No Question as to whether or not this is art! Evidently a Long and hard thought process has been followed through and produced a piece of work that has the WORLD talking

    Therefore this is art, and a magnificent piece of art it is too! It looks at the world we live and injects humour where humour is no desperatly needed right now, this is no more offensive than most programmes on Channel 4 almost every weekday evening!

    If you think your offended by this, dont judge until you have seen it for yourself, dont jump on bandwagons, we've had enough of that already!

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  • 39. At 11:24am on 14 Jan 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    kanimoto #33

    Possibly the most insiteful comment i have ever read on this blog.

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  • 40. At 11:26am on 14 Jan 2009, Lost_Geo wrote:

    The first bit of modern art that I've seen in ages that I really like.
    Made me laugh, and I think the world would be a better place if we could all learn to laugh at ourselves a bit more often.
    It may depict stereotypes, but when you think about it, it is quite an accurate state of affairs for Europe.

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  • 41. At 11:27am on 14 Jan 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "This is absolutely Brilliant - hats off to the man, and the Country, for reminding us to lighten up. (A point which, sadly, has been completely missed by the politicians)."

    Yes. Except that..... we are paying for it.

    Those who work and pay tax have the extra benefit of observing that the EU is handing out large sums of their money to people who not only produce nothing useful, they can essentially do whatever they want.

    They can insult every nation in europe with large words, and call it art. Sure. Why not?

    Who are we, the people of europe who pay for this, to question the wisdom of the way Europe spends money?

    Just who do we think we are?




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  • 42. At 11:36am on 14 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    If this Cheeky Czechy Chappy is guilty of fraud then it is not one millionth as bad as promising us a referendum and then not giving us one.

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  • 43. At 11:38am on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    That a modern piece can provoke comment - mostly positive - from people of widely differing viewpoints speaks volumes. Is it art - yes and, in terms of what it set out to say, exceptional art.

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  • 44. At 11:42am on 14 Jan 2009, G-in-Belgium wrote:

    I see Suffolk boy's record is still scratched...

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  • 45. At 11:43am on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #41 - democracythreat

    7 Eur for every 100,000 people? Oh yes, we are going to miss that, aren't we? How petty can you get?

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  • 46. At 11:51am on 14 Jan 2009, Pansceptic wrote:

    Who care's whether it's art, or even whether it's amusing or insulting? To take money for organizing other people to do the work and then pocket the whole lot oneself is sheer embezzlement of EU funds, and should be proecuted as such.

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  • 47. At 11:51am on 14 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    This is excellent !! True satire - and should make us all look in the mirror to see whether we are 'Europeans' or just members of nations who have been railroaded into a 'Union' we didn't ask for.

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  • 48. At 11:52am on 14 Jan 2009, pato10 wrote:

    Lots of rupturous eurosceptic aplause as usual.
    Look, it might be amusing to see yourselves portrayed as absent from Europe or permanently on strike as these evoke stereotypes that both natives and foreigners recognise. Legoland (Denmark) is sweet. Being pictured as either someone pleasuring oneself (Slovenia) or a squat toilet (Bulgaria) is just plain insulting. Foreigners know relatively little about such small countries. Imagine yourselves being Slovene or Bulgarian and try loughing. Funny, heh?

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  • 49. At 11:54am on 14 Jan 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    ##42. SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "If this Cheeky Czechy Chappy is guilty of fraud then it is not one millionth as bad as promising us a referendum and then not giving us one."

    Stick to the point! Art and artists can be provocative and there is no much wrong with that.

    PS You do not want a referendum you want out of the EU. If the vote was stay-in you would just find some other nonsensical illogical reason for demanding out!

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  • 50. At 12:01pm on 14 Jan 2009, clickem wrote:

    Lest we forget...

    Vaclav Havel appointed Frank Zappa as "Special Ambassador to the West on Trade, Culture and Tourism".

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  • 51. At 12:07pm on 14 Jan 2009, chowbelanna wrote:

    I don't actually care whether or not it fits a random definition of 'art', it is hilarious both in its conception and its realization. The fact that a bunch of EU higher-ups appear to have been taken for a ride is a huge added bonus. I would like to see more pictures of it.

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  • 52. At 12:07pm on 14 Jan 2009, Sasanac wrote:

    I'd like to question the sense in the statement in the In Pictures pages of this website under Germany http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7827747.stm

    "The 16-sq-m (172-sq-ft) work portrays Germany as a network of motorways somewhat resembling a swastika."

    Who's trying to provoke whom here? I would suggest it resembles the numer 18 or even our awful London 2012 logo far more closely than any swastika I've seen!

    I think it's a good piece of art. Thought provoking and I have to say less antagonistic than much of the language used in our newspapers against our neighbours.

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  • 53. At 12:12pm on 14 Jan 2009, PimlicoPoppet wrote:

    I loved it, it made me laugh out load at my desk, full credit to Cerny, now that we can all enjoy the Emperor's new clothes.

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  • 54. At 12:12pm on 14 Jan 2009, Pivovar wrote:

    Very funny, but what is the Czech entry? I'd like to see a subtly funny graphic of the Roma issue.

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  • 55. At 12:15pm on 14 Jan 2009, darrenosborne23 wrote:

    How can europe laugh at itself when it's just not that funny. I don't think it presents anything new or interesting to think or laugh about. If it is using stereotypes, how can that be regarded as controversial? Isn't a stereotype a preconception held by a mass of people? Boring piece of art with little to say in my opinion.

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  • 56. At 12:15pm on 14 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    I can only find links to 9 countries depicted, is there a site where I can see them all. In these days of gloom I find this refreshing and very funny - Art or not, don't care, probably not qualified to say anyway - well done

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  • 57. At 12:19pm on 14 Jan 2009, Forthview wrote:

    I'm not sure it's that much more insulting than postcards which seem to be on sale in every Brussels newsagents which suggest that the perfect European is "as industrious as an Italian" with a picture of an empty desk and "gone to lunch" sign along with similar jokes based on national stereotypes for all the other EU Member States (it's been quite hard work updating these to take account of EU expansion......).

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  • 58. At 12:19pm on 14 Jan 2009, qalballah wrote:

    Oh dear the emperor has no clothes and someone pointed it out. This is a wonderful piece of work; it explores the darker sides of European xenophobia that politicians seem on glossing over. It's accurate and funny and moreover it is thought-provoking. I laughed out loud but you know, it also made me shudder a little.

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  • 59. At 12:24pm on 14 Jan 2009, DavidH wrote:

    For David Cerney, it's an act of guerilla art that may amuse, delight, offend and outrage various spectators. Well done to him for that!

    For the European Council, why would they want an installation above their door that lampoons national stereotypes? They should take it down right away and sue for their money back if Cerney broke any contract.

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  • 60. At 12:25pm on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    At #67 in the previous thread, I responded to Suffolk Boy's request to "tell off John-of Hendon".

    In my haste, I confused JOH with Freeborn-John and responded accordingly. I would like to apologise to JOH unreservedly for the error. I have no intention of telling him off".

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  • 61. At 12:27pm on 14 Jan 2009, swerdna wrote:

    Funniest thing I've seen for ages.

    What makes it even funnier is the way that some of the stuffed shirts in Brussels have reacted.

    GREAT stuff! This is what 'modern' art should be about.

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  • 62. At 12:35pm on 14 Jan 2009, Vee_Dubber_Marv wrote:

    Hang on,

    Who has said it's an amusing satire, a light hearted dig?.... Cerny by any chance?

    So, a guy who says 27 countries are contributing but has been proved to be a liar has thrown together some babble to justify this art and people are taking it at face value?

    Lets face it, art can be provocative to make you think, or insipid to make you appreciate boldness or a lot of other nonsensical hyperbole... metaphor.... whatever. The fact is that this art is supposed to say something to the viewer.

    If most people are insulted by it, it IS not a joke but an insult. The artist may have meant it to be a joke but failed to properly actualize his concept. In other words, it's bad, sloppy, ill thought out and supported only by flimsy theory and intent

    Alternatively, he may have meant it as an insult and the real piece of art is convincing lots of gullible people that it's supposed to be funny.

    Either way, art must be appropriate to it's setting and whatever the meaning of this piece was supposed to be has been lost by the ramifications of placing a peice of ambiguous interpretation in a political centre where offence is far too easy to give and feign for advantage.

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  • 63. At 12:37pm on 14 Jan 2009, glitterdays wrote:

    I initially found the German one a bit insulting....but when you think about it...its about perceptions and prejudices...not the truth of what people of these nations are...

    I guess the point it rightly or wrongly these are things associated with these countries.

    In particular...Germany's Nazi past is still what comes to many people's minds when they think of Germany...quite naturally too it has had a large impact on their identity.

    One thing I find when I meet Germans of my age...late 20s early 30s is that they have a very strong sense of social conscience and morality. More than I find in other Brits of my age...

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  • 64. At 12:48pm on 14 Jan 2009, sirdingo wrote:

    this is funny, in a childish way. Let´s be honest, it´s not very sophisticated. I guess my complaint is that this is not about Europe, it´s about Mr Cerny´s sense of humor.

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  • 65. At 12:50pm on 14 Jan 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    Lots of the usual Europhobic stuff, I see. I wonder what the reactions here would have been had Cerny been more acid with Britain...

    A few points though:

    a) As far as I know, the installation hasn't been paid for by "EU money". It has been paid by Czech money.

    b) "Stuffed shirts in Brussels" have been singularly unmoved by the display. Brussels is used to stranger stunts, I assure you.

    c) What personally bothers me most with this is that some of the displays are simply not funny, just in bad taste (see Holland, Bulgaria). Also, Cerny seems to have gone for the easy targets (Eastern European countries, mostly) while handling his own country and those closest to the heart of the current Czech government (Britain and the Scandinavians) with kid gloves. See the text for the "Czech display":

    Let the head of state have his say!
    A constant stream of brilliant
    Václav Klaus quotes. Words of wisdom
    that deserve to be etched in stone.
    The President’s sublime, pertinent
    comments about the whole world, and
    especially the EU, whizzing across
    a three-line alphanumeric LED display.
    He is OUR president, we elected him,
    so let’s show him off to the world with
    joy in our hearts. He’s not just a skier,
    he’s a great guy!


    While I detect the irony there (some Klaus fans may not), maybe more direct self-deprecation would have been pertinent in an installation including squat toilets and submerged morsques, don't you think?

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  • 66. At 12:50pm on 14 Jan 2009, southernmen wrote:

    Someone needs to paint this sculpture bright pink overnight. This will soon test the artist's own ability to laugh at himself.

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  • 67. At 12:52pm on 14 Jan 2009, sirdingo wrote:

    it´s definitely art if it raises so much controversy!

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  • 68. At 12:59pm on 14 Jan 2009, S3narr wrote:

    I think it is great! And it already sparks discussions, which to me is what art should do.

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  • 69. At 1:14pm on 14 Jan 2009, Vee_Dubber_Marv wrote:

    @ #63

    "Germany's Nazi past is still what comes to many people's minds when they think of Germany"

    True.

    Sensationalist journalism doesn't help either. It looks nothing like a swastika. It looks a bit like a swastika when someone wants it to look a bit like a swastika, otherwise it looks like a big 8 or 18.

    I would have thought the BBC would have been a little bit more tactful in their description along the lines of "could be interpreted as looking similar to a swastika when you squint through the bottom of a glass" and the bit about Denmarks bits of lego that "look at a distance rather like one of the infamous Danish cartoons of Mohammed." could be considered inflammatory!

    Mark, you should know better. You are just spoonfeeding elements of our society justification.

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  • 70. At 1:14pm on 14 Jan 2009, sniffthehedgehog wrote:

    What is it? E. H. Gombrich the famous art historian warns us of the dangers of reading the labels attached by connoisseurs, "There really is no such thing as art. There are only artists" (Phaidon, Story of Art, The, 1950). What does the art here, say about the artist? Well it is deliberately designed to be 'controversial' and 'contentious' accruing to itself (and it's creator) a type of fame that it does not deserve; except that it provokes a reaction by depicting whole countries and people as one-dimensional 'sterotypes'. While fashionable a'la Damien Hirst, The Sugarbabes, Salman Rushdie and The Sun in the Modern School of Self-Promotion there are always newer, more rebelious, more provocative, more contentious ... If Mr Cerný is sincere in his stated wish to be upheld as the rebellious but 'good' sculptor (artist) which he claims to aspire to (cafebabel, interview Natalia Sosin, May 2007), logically he'd share the 350000 euros, and the limelight with the 26 other 'unknown' EU artists whom were brutally chiseled out of the picture. If it is art, it is more Warhole than Banksy, more Damien Hirst than Louise Bourgeois, more President Klaus than Vaclav Havel ... Unfortunately we paid for a public art 'installation' by 27 EU artists' NOT a giant visual 'Russell Brand' style intellectual amusement (my apologies to Mr Brand).

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  • 71. At 1:27pm on 14 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    For heavens sake, some here need to take themselves less seriously. We have one poster saying that U.K. euro sceptics wont like this, another that they will because they have been lightly treated. Another that it is racist.

    What I am glad of is that most (which ever side of the debate you happen to be on re the E.U. ) have found it fun. I am still laughing - well done to the artist :-)

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  • 72. At 1:40pm on 14 Jan 2009, idl1975 wrote:

    As "the-real-truth" pointed out - something which seems to have been missed by some commentators, the deception about the money is itself a satire on the way the EU is run, both in terms of the benefit to certain states over others and the benefits for private persons who legally or illegally milk its bureaucracy.

    Equally, the Klaus quotations satirise not only Klaus himself (and his ego), but the idea that our money gets wasted on self-congratulatory stunts for the rich and powerful, including in this instance whoever happens to hold the rotating presidency.

    I wouldn't call it "brilliant" (well, it's conceptual art, how brilliant can it be?), but at least it's (a) amusing and (b) not a pompous, self-congratulatory waste of our money.

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  • 73. At 1:55pm on 14 Jan 2009, Jonathan wrote:

    I think it's brilliant, it's really cheered me up today. Not only are the depictions witty, I also like the fact it's made a fool of the pompous politicians, and also pokes fun at pretentious artists (if you read the accompanying brochure).

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  • 74. At 2:05pm on 14 Jan 2009, 2madkatz wrote:

    I wasn't personally offended by the installation, but I do wonder what's so clever about pointing out (and so perpetuating) obvious stereotypes which many countries are working hard to overcome.

    The 'Dracula'-themed Romania can hardly be considered insulting or offensive (unless he's implying that all Romanians are bloodsuckers!), but, as someone living and working in Romania, I do know that Romanians are tired of being wholly associated with this image (especially those who don't live in Transylvania!), and desperately want to portray their beautiful country in other terms than the land of Dracula, or the plaything of Ceaucescu or the home of appalling orphanages. So, thanks for the help with that Mr Cerny.

    Incidentally the choice of a fat semi-naked gypsy man as a logo to represent Romania during the World Cup (I think it was on Sky Sports) didn't go down too well here either.

    Yes, some of these are funny, but some of them go a bit far. I can't imagine many Bulgarians splitting their sides at the idea of their country as a squat toilet.

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  • 75. At 2:15pm on 14 Jan 2009, Miraglyth wrote:

    The obvious questions are where the money's gone and what agreements have been breached, but darned if this isn't funny.

    On another note now...

    #49 wrote: "PS You do not want a referendum you want out of the EU. If the vote was stay-in you would just find some other nonsensical illogical reason for demanding out!"

    The difference is his demands would at that point be seen as unsupported and he'd be a minority. As laughable as that hypothetical situation is.

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  • 76. At 2:23pm on 14 Jan 2009, mrvtrejvgbvhtb wrote:

    Is it art - who cares? Is it good - not particularly.

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  • 77. At 2:27pm on 14 Jan 2009, Vee_Dubber_Marv wrote:

    @ #72

    "The deception about the money is itself a satire on the way the EU is run"

    This has a name. Whether a comment or not about the EU, you can decide, but it's called.....


    Fraud


    Quite an apt description of the artist and the piece as well if you ask me

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  • 78. At 2:34pm on 14 Jan 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #60. threnodio wrote:

    "I would like to apologise to JOH unreservedly"

    Thank you, most kind and thoughtful of you, apologies accepted.

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  • 79. At 2:45pm on 14 Jan 2009, Gellle wrote:

    "...do look at a distance rather like one of the infamous Danish cartoons of Mohammed".

    Not to me. They look like the outline of Denmark; the peninsula to the left and islands on the right. I dont see any mohammeds

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  • 80. At 3:04pm on 14 Jan 2009, DrJims wrote:

    I think it is fantastic. I am very much a fan of David Cerny, and this suits his darkly comedic and intelligent style of sculpture.

    Well done Czech Rep!

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  • 81. At 3:30pm on 14 Jan 2009, B_Cooke wrote:

    I like it. It makes me laugh. Silly EUrocrats shouldn't be so uppity.

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  • 82. At 3:30pm on 14 Jan 2009, eezy_squeezy wrote:

    It's not art, simple as that. It is instead that thing which the chattering classes have convinced themselves is art (see also crack in the floor and lights going on and off for another example of this) and which they deride others for 'not understanding'.

    Quite simply it is controversy disguised as art. And it will make the creator of this tat a little more famous/infamous than he was before.

    Hooray for hacks who have run out of ideas.

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  • 83. At 3:34pm on 14 Jan 2009, picha69 wrote:

    As a case of art, I find this installation provocative - exactly the goal of this type of art. After all, if we are all "Europeans" how much some "national humiliation" should matter? This is a real test of identity... Where I become suspicious is the alleged political commissioning of this provocative exposition. The Czechs are not among the most Euroenthusiasts in the EU, and their president is notoriously Europhobic, who among other things - fervently rejects the global warming altogether in his new book.

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  • 84. At 3:51pm on 14 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    As a Bulgarian, I find the representation of my country an unpardonable offense. Bulgaria endured five centuries of harsh Ottoman (Turkish) rule, between the 14th and 19th centuries, which nearly obliterated the nation. The period, commonly referred to as "the Turkish yoke", has left an indelible, painful mark in the collective memory of the Bulgarian people commensurate with that of the Holocaust for the Jewish people or the Armenian genocide for the Armenians. The mockery of suffering is worse than bad taste it is simply unacceptable. The piece should be immediately removed and the author held to account.

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  • 85. At 4:03pm on 14 Jan 2009, Gretmar wrote:

    Swastika? Toilets? Strikes? It symbolizes why the EU will ultimately fail. The countries have too little respect for one another.

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  • 86. At 4:13pm on 14 Jan 2009, paul9042 wrote:

    Well, this is most definitely art.

    I think the important thing to remember when looking at it is that Cerny is NOT saying that the country is like that.

    The brief was to produce art to show the *stereotypes* related to the country. As such, I think it does a reasonably good job.

    To be honest, it wouldn't have fulfilled its brief anywhere near so well if it had been done as intended, with people from, say, France doing art about the stereotypes related to France, as you have to be from outside a country to truly see how the country is seen from outside - which was the point of this art. Maybe Cerny should have got 27 artists to each produce art about a different country, but I think he did a good enough job himself. He does seem to have put a lot of thought into it, and, as someone said 'the truth hurts'.

    What should happen following this is that the relevant national governments take a good look, and say 'is that stereotype a good one for us to have', and if not, let's see if we can do something about it.

    Apart from the Bulgarian one (which may have been a step too far) I don't think many of the others are that insulting. If you can see a 'swastika' in the German one, that could be, but personally, I think that's a fiction dreamt up by the press, as it looks nothing like a swastika to me...

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  • 87. At 4:14pm on 14 Jan 2009, wallytacyano wrote:

    "There is the rather sweet image of Malta with a dwarf elephant atop, "

    Pretty accurate, too, I would say, although I would like to see a close-up of that part.

    More accurate would have been smothering the entire island with horse apples, but, I guess all of the countries would need to be covered; that is what we really get from the EU, at the end of the day.

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  • 88. At 4:42pm on 14 Jan 2009, Chris Q wrote:

    It's rubbish. No funnier than a basil fawlty stereotype at best.

    Only reason it raises a comment is that it is a modern day "Emperor's clothes".

    They were caught in the "altogether". How can so much money be spent on such a scam and so many eggs land on so many faces!

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  • 89. At 4:45pm on 14 Jan 2009, e-welthorpe wrote:

    Self indulgent nonsense. Any adolescent with the facilities to form plastics etc. could do better and would in most cases have a more erudite and thought provoking representation of countries.

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  • 90. At 4:46pm on 14 Jan 2009, interpretcode wrote:

    Are people talking about the themes the piece is suggesting? Are people engaged in discussion around changing perceptions, stereotypes, aesthetics of art, and its purpose. This isn't art, this is brilliant art.

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  • 91. At 4:46pm on 14 Jan 2009, bryanthesnail wrote:

    First things first - this is fantastic. A great genius bit of satire.

    Second things second - never mind the 'scandal' of where the 350,000 euros have gone - what about all the rest of the money Europe chews through ?

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  • 92. At 4:57pm on 14 Jan 2009, Model-Maniac wrote:

    As a collector of thousands of plastic model kits (military only), I'm familiar with this piece's layout. And in terms of modeling craftmanship, most of the pieces are finely built. Sarcastic it may seems but it's cool and I consider it an art - at least in the sense of modeling.

    Mr. Cerny, how I admire your work!

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  • 93. At 4:59pm on 14 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    "If the cap[s] fits wear it [them]"

    If they don't, well don't give the game away...

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  • 94. At 5:13pm on 14 Jan 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    UK missing? Freeborn John and Suffolk Boy must think their dreams have come true!

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  • 95. At 5:21pm on 14 Jan 2009, pawpawtree wrote:

    Think this could serve as a reminder, to those who forgot, what is the meaning of the phrase "freedom of artistic expression". If the Czech government reviewed, evaluated and approved the work, it would be called "propaganda" work. If the government requested changes to the work and then displayed it as a work of art, it would be called "censorship". Because the Czech government allowed Cerny the freedom of artistic expression we have a piece of work that, evidently, provokes thoughts and discussion. if it was a work of propaganda or if it resulted from censorship, nobody would probably even notice it. Money well spend, the objective was achieved.

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  • 96. At 5:22pm on 14 Jan 2009, pawpawtree wrote:

    I think this could serve as a reminder, to those who forgot, what is the meaning of the phrase "freedom of artistic expression". If the Czech government reviewed, evaluated and approved the work, it would be called "propaganda" work. If the government requested changes to the work and then displayed it as a work of art, it would be called "censorship". Because the Czech government allowed Cerny the freedom of artistic expression we have a piece of work that, evidently, provokes thoughts and discussion. if it was a work of propaganda or if it resulted from censorship, nobody would probably even notice it. Money well spend, the objective was achieved.

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  • 97. At 5:35pm on 14 Jan 2009, Sandra Down wrote:

    The real work of art here is the EU official brochure that accompanies the work.

    Cerny and his friends must have spent a lot of time researching the many real art exhibitions that are used as references by the fake artists.

    The essay by the British artist, Khalid Assidi, is a particular gem - 24 lines of Brit Art nonsense that say absolutely nothing.

    Kudos too for the fake websites. The works pictured in Ricardo Romeo's site involve real sculptures in concrete, just like his contribution to Entropa, and Assidi's site contains meaningless pictures that match his words.

    The pdf of the brochure (5.7 Mb) is at [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 98. At 5:40pm on 14 Jan 2009, start_of_an_era wrote:

    This has been done before in a much better, much cruder and much funnier way by Viz magazine with their map of Continental Europe:

    http://www.vizprints.com/image.php?id=121247

    Highlights include the whole of Sweden trying to top themselves, Portugal being a massive car crash and a McDonalds on the Acropolis.

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  • 99. At 5:41pm on 14 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    I think Cerny's work is black humour.

    That's a joke for linguists.

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  • 100. At 5:44pm on 14 Jan 2009, Kristor wrote:

    What I find interesting and rather saddening, though not at all surprising, about all those comments which are critical of some aspect of this piece of art is that they all object to perceived insults to the writer's own country. So far there has not been a single comment from a European bemoaning the fact that the piece as a whole depicts the EU as an unassembled kit, with all the individual states still firmly attached to their original place in the sprue (to use the good old Airfix modelling term). This seems to strongly support the artist's portrayal of a European Union whose construction has not yet even begun: indeed, it can only begin when enough people care as passionately about the finished model as they obviously do about the individual pieces of the kit. Are there no Europeans out there who care enough to comment on this blog about this portrayal of their continent's best effort yet to achieve peace, integration and harmony, or are you really all, deep down, still just members of the same old tribes - English, Italian, Bulgarian etc. - blood still boiling when your particular motherland is insulted but coolly unaffected by an insult to Europa? Apparently so. It certainly looks that way to me, observing my old home continent from the relatively successful federation of mostly ex-Europeans that has been forged on this side of the Atlantic. What will it take to put the pieces of the European kit together at last - several more centuries of peace? War with China? I don't know, but I am not optimistic about seeing much progress in my lifetime if a provocative piece of art such as this work by David Cerny inspires only nationalistic feelings and responses in the hearts and minds of its European viewers.

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  • 101. At 5:49pm on 14 Jan 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    pawpawtree I guess that, from the point of view of at least a few Bulgarians, it would have been even more hilarious not to leave the UK out, but to depict it according to its least flattering stereotypes, i.e. a half-naked posh guy being spanked by a dominatrix, and a fat lager lout in a Union Jack speedo vomiting in the beach. I wonder how some of the contributors here would have reacted then...

    Freedom of artistic expression? Not much. The artist very much shaped the work as he knew would be acceptable to his patron (the Czech conservatives currently in government), taking advantage to subtly mock their attitudes towards the rest of Europe: i.e. self-important (see the "Czech display"), dismissive of Eastern Europe, scornful of the Latins, hostile towards Germany, afraid of "Eurabia", ignorant about small countries, and quietly admirative of Britain and the Scandinavians.

    In fact, far from being the result of freedom of artistic expression, it is the kind of subtle mockery that usually flourishes under censorship. Or do you think that the Czech government would have used an installation with less flattering stereotypes about themselves, or their friends?

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  • 102. At 5:51pm on 14 Jan 2009, pawpawtree wrote:

    Re #100: very good observation, Kristor.

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  • 103. At 5:53pm on 14 Jan 2009, Fred wrote:

    I wonder if the fact that so many of the best Czech football players have played or play in Serie A had an effect on the depiction of Italy.

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  • 104. At 5:54pm on 14 Jan 2009, DadgeCity wrote:

    It's great! It's also great, the fuss it's created. I'll be sad if they take it down.

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  • 105. At 6:15pm on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #100 - Kristor

    I am a self-confessed europhobe myself and I would be very disappointed if my European friends where to misinterpret irony and satire as insulting. There is a place for humour in art just as there should be in politics. There are real issues to be addressed in Europe without getting sidetracked by Mr. Czerny's creation, however diverting. As for Britain being completely missing, that's more a matter for embarrassment than anger.

    And you must admit it's more interesting than carrots!

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  • 106. At 6:15pm on 14 Jan 2009, Daquan Quartermaine wrote:

    Depicting the Netherlands submerged, accompanied by the words

    "If only the Netherlands were in Hell!
    At least it is warm and generally dry
    there. I would like to survive; I'd like
    at least something from this country
    to survive. Salt water will noiselessly
    inundate fields, towns and villages.
    Fish will swim through our squares
    and seaweed will cling to our towers.
    Perhaps a few lucky individuals will be
    rescued in small boats."

    is deeply, deeply offensive. The Dutch people have fought the seas for thousands of years, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in floods throughout history. But to the Czechs, it's all a big joke?

    Having said that: the artwork should, now, not be removed. Freedom of expression is important, as is the accompanying right to offend.

    But it does makes you wonder how capable the Czech politicians are. I, for one, no longer trust them with the EU presidency. They have proven themselves massively unsuitable for the job.

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  • 107. At 6:21pm on 14 Jan 2009, AjoYagua wrote:

    We could have a referendum on this one, EU-wide, but including the UK this time!!!

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  • 108. At 6:27pm on 14 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    I wonder if people would still admire the artistic ingenuity and boldness of the author if he was belittling the tragic history of nations whose suffering has received "greater international coverage" than that of the apparently obscure Bulgarians (see my post above).

    Would you still be laughing if Israel was depicted as a German toilet or Iraq as an American toilet? Or how about France as the German toilet and Britain as the American one? Still funny?

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  • 109. At 6:39pm on 14 Jan 2009, Fionavroom wrote:

    I hope this was paid by the Czech government and not by EU taxpayers! Usually Eu presidency countries use the opportunity for showcasing their country. This time it really didn't work for the Czech government but it definitely did so for the so-called artist, who got a lot of free publicity. Perhaps he should have done something to ridicule his country, to show that Czechs have a good sense of humour but instead he decided to offend nearly everyone. However, this is not the first time EU presidencies get it wrong. Years ago the UK under Blair decided to have symbols for the different countries allegedly designed by children... it didn't work in all cases and some found the depiction of their country offensive. Personally I find that this kind of clever ideas are better avoided, there is enough racism in the word as it is, I sympathise with the Bulgarians for being so upset.

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  • 110. At 6:42pm on 14 Jan 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (105):

    It may have not been meant to be insulting, but it actually is in some cases very insulting. The biggest problem with this work is that it really doesn't work as an picturing of 27 EU members, at most this whole work works as an performance art where the actual art is the conning of the Czech government and EU public.

    Actually this quote from David Cerny's website tells quite much about the work...

    "The original intention was indeed to ask 27 European artists for participation. But it became apparent that this plan cannot be realised, due to time, production, and financial constraints. The team therefore, without the knowledge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, decided to create fictitious artists who would represent various European national and artistic stereotypes.

    So in essence when Cerny and his team found out that they couldn't deliver what they had promised to do, they instead of going back to ask more resources or change official plans, they just took the easiest route and went rogue. I'm sorry, but what Cerny should have done is to give the whole project to some other person with better organizational skills than to commit a fraud and cause a media circus.

    The other thing that makes me have a negative view on Cerny and this work is that its so superficial. In many place with so many countries it shows that they just didn't have any information, thoughts or deep insights on it to make any presentation about it. The other part is that in some cases Cerny has just made political statements based on flawed view of history, for example Lithuania, and in some places he has left the texts away which can be interpreted that in those countries there is no freedom of speech.

    No. This is bad art and Cerny is bad artist.

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  • 111. At 6:54pm on 14 Jan 2009, S3narr wrote:

    #100

    I have to agree with threnodio (#102), Kristor's comment is indeed very thoughful and well observed.

    But with a constitution that never made it and now the Lisbon Treaty that still isnt ratified, the idea of being a citizen of Europe rather than a citizen of one's nation is not in too many people's mind, i guess.
    But the main discussion has to come back to the questions What is Europe? And if we are talking about Europe, do we actually mean the EU, which are two different things. I am happily a European, but not totally happy with all decisions the EU makes (especially not until the question of its democratic deficit is addressed sufficiently).

    And on the way of working towards an successful union, I very much wellcome provocations like this work of art. If it provokes dialogue between the different countries the better. Even better if it is constructive dialogue.
    Personally I am not offended on a national or European level by the sculpture. It has inspired me to talk to people about Europe and the EU. Plus the brochure that goes with the art work is really superb! A very funny sidekick at the contemporary art scene. Brilliant!

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  • 112. At 6:57pm on 14 Jan 2009, czechCitizen wrote:

    As a Czech I had mixed feelings about this sculpture. And I am surprised by the mainly positive reaction now. I can see that is the same as in my country: politicians have sometimes different opinion then people...

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  • 113. At 7:09pm on 14 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 101, RCalvo, re alternative depiction of the U.K. I would have laughed.

    Re post 108, re Daring one, concerning your alternative suggestion for the depiction of the U.K., I would have laughed -

    Perhaps an ability not to take yourselves too seriously and to laugh at how others see you is a sign of maturity?

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  • 114. At 7:19pm on 14 Jan 2009, Ticape wrote:

    Would you still be laughing if Israel was depicted as a German toilet or Iraq as an American toilet? Or how about France as the German toilet and Britain as the American one? Still funny?

    I'll pay €0,0016 (double the amount I payed for this art) to see Britain portrayed as America's toilet along with Iraq. France as Germany's toilet, and Palestine can be Israel's toilet.

    But hey that's just me. :)

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  • 115. At 7:32pm on 14 Jan 2009, tediouslybrief wrote:

    anyone who walks around prague with their eyes open is already familiar with david cerny's dark but hilarious sense of humour:- he produced the original pink tank, the giant metronome that stands where the stalin colossus used to be, and the giant babies who crawl up the mast of the old soviet radio blocking tower.

    when cerny made fun of soviet po-facedness he was a czech hero, now he pokes fun at euroblandness and suddenly his government comes over all serious.

    the greatest czech art is always rude and very funny:- cerny works in a tradition that comes through hasek and kundera.

    but shouldn't his own government have known this?

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  • 116. At 7:35pm on 14 Jan 2009, Hanny wrote:

    Bulgaria was tortured and oppressed by the Turks for 500 years under the Ottoman empire. There are churches full of the skulls of men, women and children who were murdered under the regime.

    To have this piece of "art" then depict Bulgaria as a Turkish toilet is sickening and offensive.

    In my opinion this object is something that belongs in a toilet. Flush it away quickly please, it stinks.

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  • 117. At 7:38pm on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #110 - Jukka_Rohila

    I have learned over the years that what constitutes good or bad art is so subjective as to defy rational explanation. You can admire technique, execution, observation and so on but it takes a very brave - possibly foolish - person to definitively state that this is good or bad.

    I did, however, stick my neck out in an earlier post so I deserve to get it chopped. It is, of course, subversive and therefore bound to cause some offence but basically, by poking fun at the subject matter, then carrying off the fraudulent depiction of it as the work of 27 collaborators then having the thing on display for a full day before someone spotted it, he has succeed in pricking a lot of self important bubbles. If this was his intention, great art or not, he has succeeded rather well.

    How many contemporary artists could stimulate 115 posts on a thread about European politics, I wonder.

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  • 118. At 8:13pm on 14 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 117, threnodio, well put.

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  • 119. At 8:20pm on 14 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Not art - but Wonderful and Brilliant!

    The best €350,000 ever spent by the EU.

    (I'm sure I can hear a small boy saying: "The Commissars are Naked!)

    This - um - 'installation' does us all a service by taking the mikey out of the EU pompousness and providing real geopolitical comment - truths that people are scared to mention (see the Dutch and Danish pieces).

    David Cerny is my hero. Bravo!


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  • 120. At 8:27pm on 14 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 121. At 8:32pm on 14 Jan 2009, Turanga wrote:

    When I saw it first, I considered it as a good joke (we Czechs like rude politically incorrect humour and most of us like mystifications too). At least, this is better than the boring French sphere...

    But now, in the lights of new facts, I must agree with Jukka_Rohila (#110). This "art" doesn't match the order and I hope that our government will claim a refund.

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  • 122. At 8:32pm on 14 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    For all those complaining of waste or fraud: does anybody actually remember even one of the previous EU 'artworks'?

    They are more forgettable (and wasteful) than even the songs of the Eurovision - and that's saying something.

    At least this 'artwork' has the benefit of drawing attention to itself - and its subject.

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  • 123. At 8:39pm on 14 Jan 2009, AGKuli wrote:

    From what I've seen of this, anyone who considers this item racist has got too much time on their hands. Cheers to Cerny for a nice and timely piece of satire.

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  • 124. At 8:43pm on 14 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Kristor @100,

    Well observed.

    That is why there cannot be a European Superstate (or Federal Europe) until there is a desire for everyone to be part of a European Demos.

    And that will not happen for many generations.

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  • 125. At 9:03pm on 14 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    A PDF of the whole 'artwork' - pics and text is available online on the webpage of the Czech EU presidency (just use google.....)

    It's a hoot.

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  • 126. At 9:36pm on 14 Jan 2009, Mark_PL wrote:

    This is certainly a piece of art, and a very good one at that. It makes one grin and is thought-provoking.

    Czechs are famous for their sense of humour anyway.

    Well done.

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  • 127. At 10:11pm on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #120 - MaxSceptic

    "Anyway, everyone knows that God is an Englishman"

    I thought he was a Scot. Have those soin doctors been telling porkies again?

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  • 128. At 10:19pm on 14 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    SuffolkBoy2, @ 99.

    "Cerny's work is black humour - a joke for linguists."

    "Cherny you-mor" in Rus.

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  • 129. At 10:22pm on 14 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "God is an Englishman" - is simply a name of an old book!

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  • 130. At 10:24pm on 14 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    by Delderfield.

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  • 131. At 10:25pm on 14 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    On the subject of the Czech Repulic, I was very sorry to see that Vaclav Havel is seriously ill (report HERE). I am am sure everyone would wish him well for a full and speedy recovery.

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  • 132. At 10:35pm on 14 Jan 2009, pawpawtree wrote:

    Re #113 by jordanbasset -- well said; I guess the “maturity” is the right word.

    Re #114 by Ticape – your toilet analyses are deep and brilliant. And all of this for just EUR0.0008? What a bargain!

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  • 133. At 10:53pm on 14 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    threnodio @131,

    Indeed.

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  • 134. At 11:04pm on 14 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    As it transpires from a letter that Cerny send to a Bulgarian news agency the "Turkish toilet masterpiece" will be taken down before the official unveiling of the artwork on 15th Jan.

    However, to my mind, this doesn't settle the problem at all. There is already an international scandal and the responsibility for it lies entirely with the Czech Presidency who failed in their role to unite and represent the member states. In the end it was the Czech government that commissioned the artwork and should have ensured that it is appropriate for the occasion. The fact that they have failed to manage a simple art project doesn't bode well for their ability to manage a complex organisation of 27 nations.

    The only right thing to do, under the circumstances, is for the Czech Prime Minister to issue an official apology to the entire EU, not just Bulgaria or any other offended country, and discard the monstrosity.

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  • 135. At 11:22pm on 14 Jan 2009, Sucupira wrote:

    An excellent piece of art and an accurate comment on the EUSSR. It should remain exhibited permanently. If it has ruffled a few pompus Euro-feathers so much the better.

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  • 136. At 11:41pm on 14 Jan 2009, Edward wrote:

    great to see the inventors and current world champs of football recognized, i would of put a few mad cows and boy George on the uk,
    Germany make great sausages so i would have but a few snags on them, Vatican state should of had god and the devil in an arm wrestle.

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  • 137. At 11:45pm on 14 Jan 2009, pato10 wrote:

    Max sceptic, I am in fact Bulgarian and not in the least distressed about it. What does upset me slightly that most Brits, most likely including you, know diddly squat about my country apart from a few recurring soundbites- the poorest member state, corrupt, having cheap ski resorts with "lukewarm food". Now while all this may be largely true it is a bit one sided. Now another classic bit will be added- Bulgaria depicted as a toilet! Now, if the esteemed Mr Cerny had pictured the Brits as puking holidaymakers, pregnant teenagers or public schoolboys obsessed with bottoms, you may have been less charitable.
    Is it not strange that the crassest portrayals are reserved for obscure small countries?

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  • 138. At 11:47pm on 14 Jan 2009, greypolyglot wrote:

    At 55 "End of the British carrot"
    SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "The fact that you resort to lies and insults to make your case indicates that you do not have a real case."

    Then later

    At 36. here
    SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "Are the 'leaders' of the "EU" and their army of apparatchiks, hangers-on, opportunists, traitors, spin-doctors, fraudsters, expenses-cheats, sycophants, deluded idealists, USA-haters, anti-democrats, pension-hunters etc. offended?

    GOOD!"

    Is this not a case of shooting oneself in the foot? It's reassuring to see that SB2's maintaining his usual standard of logical (in)consistency.

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  • 139. At 00:02am on 15 Jan 2009, ClownsRunTheTowns wrote:

    I'm not normally a fan of modern art, but this is brilliant! I can't stop laughing. David Cerny is obviously a very intelligent artist and I nominate him as artist of the decade. If only Britain could produce artists of such talent. It's funny on so many levels and the way that it is a fraud just sums the EU up perfectly!

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  • 140. At 01:05am on 15 Jan 2009, Sammy Jay wrote:

    What a wonderful piece of art.
    This has made me so happy. at last something with a bit of true wit. This is how Europe should be, comfortable to mock themselves. When people get angry about jokes being made about themselves... it just shows their insecurity and fear.

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  • 141. At 01:08am on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #138 - greypolyglot

    The leader of the EU he has in mind must be Gordon Brown.

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  • 142. At 01:29am on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Pity only EU are included, perhaps a small side display for neighbours?

    Ukr. coat of arms may carry their latest joke Only cowards pay for the gas!

    Rus. one - simply opens so many venues for creative thought...

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  • 143. At 02:50am on 15 Jan 2009, ozmichka wrote:

    No, don't remove it!
    Let Cerný just be faithful to the motto of the exhibition "Entropa: Stereotypes are barriers to be demolished" and go smash his art into a good EUnited heap of shards!
    I still don't get one thing though: the press release that can be found easily when you google for entropa (at www.EU2009.cz) claims that "Entropa is the joint work of 27 artists[...]" but then later on states that "Other expenses, such as production costs, were to be borne by the creator, the Czech artist David Cerný [...]". Is it temporary multiple personality disorder that Cerný is trying to fake "to get the money, money, money, money"? What a prankster...

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  • 144. At 03:32am on 15 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Fantastic. I saw it on BBC's TV broadcast. Ironic, satirical, and it puts so many stakes through so many hypocritical hearts. So called connoiseurs of art among them. Finally, an accurate self portrait of Europe. That's what makes it so funny and so biting. Even the scam of how it was paid for is right on target. I never thought I'd live to see the day.

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  • 145. At 03:41am on 15 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Entropa Europa

    Entropy means according to dictionary dot com;

    1. Symbol S For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.

    2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.

    3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.

    4. The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.

    5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

    SPOT ON!

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  • 146. At 04:03am on 15 Jan 2009, Sveti_Kiril wrote:

    Quality definitions of art, however elusive they may be, are based on beauty/aesthetics and signal imagination and free human spirit. The more artistically-inclined and educated among us realize that the most “successful” art actually has no specific aim, be it political or commercial.

    With his statements and product, that particular “artist” shows that he is not an artist. The mere fact that the given creation has offended (openly and deliberately at that) hundreds of millions of people speaks for itself. It may reflect someone’s vision of Europe and the results may be entertaining for some, but it’s not art. Moreover, it’s been said that freedom of expression is not equivalent to encouragement of malevolence, disrespect, and insensitivity.

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  • 147. At 04:04am on 15 Jan 2009, Sveti_Kiril wrote:

    This is not art. All quality definitions of art, however elusive they may be, are based on beauty/aesthetics and signal imagination and free human spirit. The more artistically-inclined and educated among us realize that the most “successful” art actually has no specific aim, be it political or commercial.

    With his statements, the “artist” shows that he is not an artist. The mere fact that the given creation has offended (openly and deliberately at that) hundreds of millions of people speaks for itself. It may reflect someone’s vision of Europe and the results may be entertaining for some, but it’s not art. Moreover, it’s been said that freedom of expression is not equivalent to encouragement of malevolence, disrespect, and insensitivity.

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  • 148. At 08:09am on 15 Jan 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    pato 10 #137

    Now, if the esteemed Mr Cerny had pictured the Brits as puking holidaymakers, pregnant teenagers or public schoolboys obsessed with bottoms, you may have been less charitable.


    You really don't understand the English / British do you, whilst i engjoy Tthe U.K being absent you surgestion would have been really really funny. We take self critism better than any other nation on this planet.

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  • 149. At 08:22am on 15 Jan 2009, jakobschwarz wrote:

    David Cerny's piece has injected interest in european politics and shon light on our (in)ability to live in political union. His method of winning the contract was a work of art itself and the more we talk about it the more important his piece becomes. He has managed to invoke thought and discussion on multiple social and professional levels and appear as if by magic on dinner tables wordwide, overnight. If this is not art then Warhol, Hirst and Van Gogh are not artists.

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  • 150. At 08:29am on 15 Jan 2009, Chris Q wrote:

    Brilliant art? Nonsense.

    It has provoked discussion on art and giggles at the old-fashioned level of bursting the bubble of pomposity.

    2 things much loved by "artists". I can imagine the intellectual insight and commentary all over Europe amongst the art communities.

    Oh how it shall be copied, analysed and flogged to a pulp. Commercial it certainly shall be. I know real models will appear of "the" model. Can't we all just see the T-shirts. Art? no - modelling and humour.

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  • 151. At 08:31am on 15 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Yes, it is art. Yes, it is funny. We, Bulgarians, are still laughing (through clenched teeth, LOL). You, Czechs, just wait until Bulgaria has the EU Presidency. You will see some real funny art, then! :)

    The above is meant as a joke. Even though I did not particularly like the part about Bulgaria in the instalation, that is the artist's impression. Nothing to be done about it.

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  • 152. At 08:54am on 15 Jan 2009, silentRC wrote:

    It is art: it is big and colorful. So it is art. Oh yes, and it costed a fortune. Which makes it even more art.

    But what's its point? Some might say, that art does not need to make a point... Point taken :)

    However, there are some issues, exactly because it was presented as "making a point". Some said that it would test whether Europeans are open minded and /or able to laugh/smile at themselves. Oh, for sure they were smiling and laughing...only not at themselves!! I hardly imagine any German smiling at the representation of his or her country as a series of highways not-so-vaguely ressembling to a zwastika. Or a Bulgarian laughing to tears at his or her country represented as several toilets. Or a British laughing at ... at what exactly?? So, I'd rather say the laughs were at the others. But was that really needed? I mean, if you look at any TV program in any of the 27 EU countries, you'll find shows over shows which poke fun at the neighbouring countries, at not-so-neighbouring countries, at EU overall and so on. So, nothing new here.

    A colleague of mine was saying that commissioning this piece of art is part of the EU policy of creating a common European culture and identity. Fair enough. Just again, the installation in cause falls short, seems to me, of this expectation. Because it says that not only that we are different, but that we have nothing in common. And that eventually what keeps us all together are tiny bits of blue plastic, the will of politicians in Brussels and our capital cities. Again, a message which any Eurosceptic can deliver, so nothing new here. in a more positivelight, one might say... ok, it shows us that we can laugh at each other and poke cruel fun. But I hadly believe that this is a point on which Brussels wants to fundament the creation of European identity and culture.

    Another goal of Brussels might have been to get together artists from all countries, and have them create something together. Somehow would have fitted under the "creation of European culture" cap. Again, failure on this front.

    Then comes the money problem. Aaaaaaah, here the socialist in me wakes up! Aparently the piece is rented by the author for the small sum of EUR 50000 (per month) until June 2009 (as long as Czech Republic has de Presidency). Very nice. Just I do not see why taxpayers money should go to pay for something which does not contribute to the common good. Oh, here i know some readers will say that art is common good.... but i guess in time of crisis, we should be a bit more practical. Others would say, that EU has a budget for art that needs to be spend on art. Fair enough. But then Mr. Cerný should give the money back, as it did not respect the contract (see the condition with the 27 artists from different countries, and not 26 mean alter-egos of Mr. Cerný).


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  • 153. At 08:56am on 15 Jan 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    Kristor@100: Nonsense. I'm not Bulgarian, and I think the stereotype Cerny has used for my own country (Spain=concrete) to be one of the few remotely accurate ones (even if not particularly funny). Surely, my ability to understand the Bulgarian outrage proves the existence of the (in)famous "European Demos"? Or perhaps just of a shard of human decency and empathy.

    The only thing I find amusing about the work is that it is just the people who are ultimately being mocked by it (stereotype-loving xenophobes) who apparently enjoy it...

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  • 154. At 09:08am on 15 Jan 2009, Sveti_Kiril wrote:

    Discussion in itself, no matter how widespread, doesn't create art! For example, a meaningless piece of writing or a silly act at the workplace could also spark controversy and conversation, whether at dinners or breakfast, but that wouldn't make it artistic. Mentioning the names of some of the most reputable artists here is entirely unnecessary. According to some media, the author has already apologized. So, I agree with suggestions that the work is attracting too much spotlight.

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  • 155. At 09:16am on 15 Jan 2009, Bne_Mnemosine wrote:

    This outrageous! I am an angry and offended Bulgarian, who totally rejects such an insulting idea. Bulgaria is no loo!!! It is the most beautiful place on earth and no one has the right to offend its dignity. This entirely proves that western Europe is absolutely ignorant about some historical and sociopolitical facts. And one last thing, is this what we gained from the so highly promoted membership in the EU - sewers?

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  • 156. At 10:30am on 15 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Take a chill pill, Belgians !! This is a classic piece of art, which has finally given the lie to the ridiculous notion that we are all 'Europeans' who can conform to some enforced homogeneity at the behest of the eurocrats. We are not !!

    We are nations NOT states ! This is not America, and we will NEVER be 'united'.

    Vive la difference !

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  • 157. At 10:40am on 15 Jan 2009, Jiraak wrote:

    Hi.. i like works of David Cerný.. its fun.. he did not use money from EU to made Entropa.. For Bulgarian, dont be angry.. we know about beauty of your country.. this is just problem which u really have.. same as Nederland or Polland.. Just look, think and then smile. When the monkey start laughing when looking on her own face in the water, start to be human.. There were also one good question placed.. Friendship in EU is true or is just forced friendship? So have nice day for all..

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  • 158. At 11:07am on 15 Jan 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    @ 155

    You are right.
    But at the same time Bulgarians,elswhere aswell as in this forum have shown themselves to be absolutely ignorant about historical and sociopolitical facts,such as when you talk about the Turks having destroyed the Bulgarian nation,about the 400 or so years old masacre upon the Bulgarians by the Turks,the churches full of skulls etc.
    In this case is you who are picking the easy target dont you think?
    First of all Bulgaria has not been ruled by Turks but by the Ottoman Empire,at a time when world was devided into empires,you ither was part of one,or under the total influence of it,and the Ottoman empire was a multiethnic,multicultural empire,and also quite humane in comparission with others as far as religious freedoms and ethnic sentiments are concerned.But lets not get into this discussion because is a long one.

    You hate being associated with Turkey and he has portrayed you as a Turkish toilet.

    Having said that,i totaly disagree with this so-called art,because it is ofensive,and this so-called artist and nobody has the right to decide what is ofensive to you.It is an provocative action,which if you find ofensive then it is ofensive.

    The fact that they pick on Bulgaria shows the true malice in their intentions.Is always good to pick and ofend Eastern European countries,specially a selected few of them,because by doing that you are sure to get the atention of the western European countries,whose picking and humiliation of this eastern countries is their favorite hobby.

    Because is something they cant do with other races.
    I can say alot more but i just want to finish by saing that this so-called work of art is total rubish.

    ps.To all those that say is only a satire,is not,within your own contry do you poke fun at people with disabilities and tell them to laugh at themselves?Do you poke fun at single mothers?Try portraing Welles for example as a British toilet and then we'll see.

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  • 159. At 11:09am on 15 Jan 2009, Jiraak wrote:

    And last but not least.. plese, dont connect words of V. Klaus, Czech president, with ordinary normal citizen of CR. We dont have public election of president. And his popularity is on bottom. Im scared every morning, when i buy news, what he said or did.. And im really not alone. Lots of people dont understan how is possible Klaus isnt in prison! He hiding his past, but if any1 want to know.. can find it..

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  • 160. At 11:15am on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    156. At 10:30am on 15 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:
    Take a chill pill, Belgians !! This is a classic piece of art, which has finally given the lie to the ridiculous notion that we are all 'Europeans' who can conform to some enforced homogeneity at the behest of the eurocrats. We are not !!

    We are nations NOT states ! This is not America, and we will NEVER be 'united'.

    Vive la difference !


    Well, I thought it was the BULGARIANS who had a big problem with the exhibit not the "Belgians". After all Belgium was depicted as a box of chocolates, not a ****hole. But to you, and the likes of you, i.e. Europhobes and ignorami, we, Continentals, are all alike.

    Anyway, I have a bit of bad news for you. The European identity is slowly moulded into being. It's going to take some time but with peolple moving backwards and forwards, living in diffrent countries, marrying people from different nations a sense of Europeanness will inevitably emerge. Unfortunately, you won't be around to see it :)

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  • 161. At 11:36am on 15 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Oh, Daring One, what is this fatuous 'European' identity ? Is it a bit like the silly notion of 'Britishness' which the political class like to push down our throat, ignoring the various characteristics of the Welsh, Scottish, and Yorkshireman, to name but a few ??

    Do you really think that Italians and Spaniards are exactly alike ??

    That the French and Germans have nothing to distinguish them ?

    This is nonsense - let us celebrate our diverse and different natures and love each other because, not in spite, of them. This ridiculous notion that we need to bury and hide each of our national characteristics is most asinine nonsense which the anti-democratic EU has come up with.

    What next ? Do you propose a 'Single European Language', like English ?

    Or a Single European Religion like, say, Cathmoslemism ??

    Think of India, with its hundreds of tribes, languages, religions and identities. And most of the time they get along with each other. Sometimes they don't - but that is a problem even in the vanilla monoculture which is the bland United States of America.

    Stop shooting the messenger here - Europe is a grouping of very different nations - by all means travel and marry different people - but please don't tell us we have to squeeze into some ridiculous 'one-size-fits-all' notion of European 'nationhood' - BECAUSE EUROPE IS NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE, A NATION.

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  • 162. At 11:38am on 15 Jan 2009, betuli wrote:

    Art is art, and not a sociological essay. Entropa is for me totally inoffensive. It is based on national sterotypes, yes, but it could be understood against them, if you want.

    The problem here is the host country, which is seen from Brussels as a new torpedo against an ever-closer Union, replacing Britain in such a role.

    If France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium or Greece -to cite a few examples- would have presented this artwork, nothing had happened.

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  • 163. At 11:38am on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    **148. At 08:09am on 15 Jan 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:
    pato 10 #137

    Now, if the esteemed Mr Cerny had pictured the Brits as puking holidaymakers, pregnant teenagers or public schoolboys obsessed with bottoms, you may have been less charitable.


    You really don't understand the English / British do you, whilst i engjoy Tthe U.K being absent you surgestion would have been really really funny. We take self critism better than any other nation on this planet.**


    Well, I have lived in Britain for quite a few years now and I daresay I have managed to familiarise myself with the local breed(s) :) - although, I take issue with English being equivalent to British but this is just "a detail"!

    Anyway, I remember a particular occasion, a few years ago, when a famous French football player described British women as "drinking like fish". Predictably, the gutter press, with Richard and Judy to boot, screamed blue murder and hunted down the poor bloke to explain himself and apologise. I wonder what happened to the British capacity for self-irony in that particular case?!

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  • 164. At 11:45am on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #144 & 145 - MarcusAureliusII

    Spot on Marcus. Funny, sad, ironic, subversive, colourful, provocative . . . and very, very funny!

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  • 165. At 12:16pm on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #163 - daring_one

    For the most part, the British are very good at poking fun at themselves and can usually take it as well. There is a difference between acutely observed humour and stereotyping. You can crack a one liner as Czerny has done, get the laugh you deserve and move on.

    The problem with the alcohol soaked overweight couch potato with the pregnant schoolgirl daughter is that it is a myth that is perpetuated by the British media themselves. It is not social comment, it is not accurate - it is a wheeze to sell gutter journalism to the very people it seeks to portray.

    Now I don't blame your French footballer for the remark and I don't blame our European brethren for picking up on this image of Britain. I do blame the British media for promoting it, either as a matter of feigned disdain or even national pride. If they have nothing better to write about, they should shut the presses down and do something constructive.

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  • 166. At 12:21pm on 15 Jan 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    I take issue with English being equivalent to British

    As do I however, had I soley used the term English then I would no doubt have had Scot's and Welsh peoples acknowleging the fact they can take a joke too.

    "Anyway, I remember a particular occasion, a few years ago, when a famous French football player described British women as "drinking like fish". Predictably, the gutter press, with Richard and Judy to boot, screamed blue murder and hunted down the poor bloke to explain himself and apologise. I wonder what happened to the British capacity for self-irony in that particular case?!"

    I wonder why many European seem to think that the Media is somehow representative of the (you used the term British so in this case i will) British public. The PC brigade which is the British Media is a complete sham and has no relevance to the views of the majority of Citizens.
    However as i find is usually the case women are more easily offened that men.

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  • 167. At 12:25pm on 15 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    Mark, I would like above all to congratulate you, though with a very great delay, on the occasion of the New Year festivities, and to wish you success and happiness… But let us return to our sheep. The discussed topic concerns all of us, and this is perhaps the main reason to applaud Mr David Cerny who is well-known in Bulgaria ever since the time when he had repainted in pink color the Soviet tank T-34 which was used as a monument in the full center of Prague. Therefore, he is believed here to be a responsible man who deserves all our admiration. As to the panel which caused so much noise and comments, with the risk to pass for an imbecile, I would say that the function of art is to educate, to give pleasure, and also to purify. To that matter, I think that the vision of Mr. Cerny on my poor and humiliated country is right. I acknowledge it with much regret and bitterness, because we, the Bulgarian people, we did not yet put an order in our own premise, and therefore, we have not the moral right to protest with such eagerness against `Entropa'.

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  • 168. At 12:28pm on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    Re 161

    Unlike many people in this country, I don't think that being British and European are two mutually exclusive identities. In the end it is not impossible to be both Mancunian and English at the same time.

    The EU does not intend to dispose of national identities at all. In time, they will simply begin to be less important than they are now.

    I already see this among the people of my generation, late twenties - early thirties, who shuttle between their country of origin and their country of residence and feel quite at home in both.

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  • 169. At 12:39pm on 15 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #155

    It is in fact you who are absolutely ignorant about the history of Bulgaria under the Ottoman rule. The Ottoman empire was humane, there was religious freedom, the Bulgarians are picking on the easy target?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Uprising

    The world was divided into empires? What a consolation! I should tell that to the Armenians, one million of whom were brutally slaughtered by your' quite humane' Turkish empire. Because it was Turkish, whatever name you choose to name it. And it was brutal, and it destroyed the Bulgarian nation, it occupied our lands for 500 years, and it filled the churches with skulls. Now leave this topic and stop bothering me with your drivell.

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  • 170. At 12:43pm on 15 Jan 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    lordBeddGelert@161: "Vanilla monoculture that is the United States of America"?! Oh my, and I thought it was "Continental Europhiles" who did the America-bashing.

    Anyway, no-one with even a remote acquantaince with the real US of A would call it a "vanilla monoculture". By repeating such a dumb, uninformed myth you appropriately show that the stereotyping of some is by no means limited to Europe!

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  • 171. At 12:55pm on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    ****167. At 12:25pm on 15 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:
    Mark, I would like above all to congratulate you, though with a very great delay, on the occasion of the New Year festivities, and to wish you success and happiness? But let us return to our sheep. The discussed topic concerns all of us, and this is perhaps the main reason to applaud Mr David Cerny who is well-known in Bulgaria ever since the time when he had repainted in pink color the Soviet tank T-34 which was used as a monument in the full center of Prague. Therefore, he is believed here to be a responsible man who deserves all our admiration. As to the panel which caused so much noise and comments, with the risk to pass for an imbecile, I would say that the function of art is to educate, to give pleasure, and also to purify. To that matter, I think that the vision of Mr. Cerny on my poor and humiliated country is right. I acknowledge it with much regret and bitterness, because we, the Bulgarian people, we did not yet put an order in our own premise, and therefore, we have not the moral right to protest with such eagerness against `Entropa'.****

    Do you realy want to pull at this thread?

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  • 172. At 12:56pm on 15 Jan 2009, james wrote:

    Cerny's piece is brilliant, it needs to be left in place.

    I think it's pathetic that everyone is taking it so seriously. Is Europe really that devoid of humor?

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  • 173. At 1:04pm on 15 Jan 2009, Dennis in the west wrote:

    Euro-spitting image !!

    Brilliant !!

    Give the artist a prize !!

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  • 174. At 1:28pm on 15 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    But is it art? Based on a lifetime of what experts on modern art have assured me is great modern art and what I've seen hanging in places like the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the answer has to be an unequivocal yes. If that was art, then so is this. A kind of Guernica II.

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  • 175. At 1:33pm on 15 Jan 2009, skinnydipper09 wrote:

    I love it. This piece of art is worth three times as much.

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  • 176. At 1:36pm on 15 Jan 2009, strange-but-true wrote:

    I am Bulgarian. That's an important detail for the purposes of the discussion.
    I love Monty Python, love to have a laugh at myself or the deficiencies of my country in the present political situation. Still, presenting an entire nation as a toilet has nothing to do with humour.
    I am convinced a lot of Europeans enjoy it, have a hearty laugh and see no harm with it, because it is nobody important involved, really: just the tiny, obscure, stereotyped and labelled-to-death Bulgaria. They are poor, they are corrupt, they are ignorant, let us have a good laugh at them, down there in the loo!
    Joining Europe was a dream of joining brothers and friends-- intelligent, cultivated, broad-minded people ... whatever happened to the great humanist ideals? Flushed in self-satisfaction?
    Anyway, to expect anything different would have been too much.

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  • 177. At 1:40pm on 15 Jan 2009, Ticape wrote:

    161.this ridiculous notion that we need to bury and hide each of our national characteristics is most asinine nonsense which the anti-democratic EU has come up with.

    I'm not sure how you can say this while the EU protects minority languages (a big no no in nationalism which wants to stamp out these forms of diversities) and it's motto is 'Unity through diversity'.

    Europe is a grouping of very different nations

    I don't believe that Europe consists of very different nations. I can find similarities between a Pole and Portuguese, yet linguistically and geographically speaking they have nothing in common.

    I think we emphasize so much on our cultural differences to a point where we refuse to acknowledge and see the similarities between the different nations. And when a person, usually an outsider, points out the similarities we get offended, label that person as ignorant and deny it immediately.

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  • 178. At 1:46pm on 15 Jan 2009, Andisgood wrote:

    To all of you smart guys posting comments referring to a fraud.... The money for the piece of Mr. Cerny was given by a private company! Not by the EU member states.

    Please stop talking about him being only the person who was supposed to organize the deal only. That is not the truth.

    I personally think it is perfect. It would be interesting, thou, to see the expenses for other countries' EU artwork!

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  • 179. At 1:48pm on 15 Jan 2009, Ondrej2 wrote:

    Has anyone considered the fact that the 350,000 euros were the commission for a piece of art to be displayed in Brussels? Had the Czech government chosen someone else who, straight from the start would have intended on completing it himself, he would have got the full payment to keep. The Czech government chose Cerny to produce this piece of art and so he was the one who received the commission.

    If Cerny had indeed used 26 other artists and didn't pay them then that would amount to a fraud. But he produced the whole thing by himself, so why should he only get to keep 26/27 of the consideration, as some have suggested? Or why is it a fraud that he kept it? He certainly delivered the art, which is why we're all blogging here now...

    Well done to him - no other art representing a country's presidency of the EU has sparked so much attention in recent years!

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  • 180. At 1:50pm on 15 Jan 2009, pato10 wrote:

    I am Bulgarian but I have to disagree with some of my compatriots' outrage at the Tutkish connection. The toilet is in fact "oriental" and to involve Turkey and our history is just plain silly. As to whether the Ottoman empire was that humane as some others have pointed is debatable- the truth is probably somewhere in between.
    My problem is that little countries like mine get remembered for odd little things- uncle Bulgaria, anyone? David Cerny has appologised to Bulgarians and explained that those toilets are what he remembers from his childhood vacations to the country. Well, it might have been true in the 1970's but things have improved a lot since. Despite all, I think Cerny is a worthwile artist and this prank is very clever.
    As for the English, the only thing they do better than laughing at themselves is loughing at other nations- Irish, French, Spanish and now Bulgarian.

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  • 181. At 1:53pm on 15 Jan 2009, Vrykolakis wrote:

    People, people... I visited Bulgaria three times, I sort of liked it but yes – the Turkish toilets are everywhere. So, I would like to ask all insulted Bulgarians the following: It is not offensive to HAVE them and let the foreign visitors use them but it is outrageous when foreigners DISPLAY them...?

    Yes, in the Czech Republic one of the stereotypes of Bulgaria is that it is a country where you will have to use a Turkish toilet (a device that Czechs find bizarre). But what has got the 400 years of Ottoman "opression" to do with it? Isn't Bulgaria independent long enough to get rid of them if they are so terrible and cannot be mentioned abroad? Or is it just that Bulgarians aren't mature enough to make fun of themselves? Oh yes, that must be it. Every time I speak with a Bulgarian, they praise their country. When asked why they do not live in it, they say it is difficult. So much for the most beautiful place in the world with the highest youth emmigration.

    Also, why should be mosques in the Netherlands offensive? The only news we get from Holland is when some muslims are attacked or some anti-imigration politician killed. Thanks to media, the British connect Czech Republic with the Roma problem, but they are not aware that this problem is of much larger scale in Slovakia or Romania. Media create stereotypes – and the countries themselves.

    And Romanians complaining about Dracula stereotype? Don't make me laugh even more. They worked so hard for it, Dracula is portrayed everywhere, they even have several Dracula's castles (which Vlad IV. Draculea never visited), they built a theme park Draculaland... So I guess it's logical perception of their country.

    Cerny's work is portraying stereotypes about the countries, not his own views about them. He is well known for his controversial works and I'm sure the Czech politicians knew that there will be trouble when they picked him. And they did it and I'm glad for it. And if someone says they are not trustworthy, I must yell: 'Trustworthy! Of course they're not trustworthy! They're politicians for God's sake!'

    The greatest idea however of this work for me is that Europe is a kit that has yet to be assembled. I wonder if it can be ever done with so easily offended people like Bulgarians.

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  • 182. At 2:21pm on 15 Jan 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Dear all,

    Personnally, I don't feel offended at all by this work. And to be honoust I cannot recognise the nations the way they are depicted. I think the artists where seriously mis-informed and should really travel more.
    Basically I feel they just made a fool out of themselfs and look a bit silly with such strange views.
    I am Dutch and I don't understand anything of the depiction of Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sctoland, Wales, Englend, and Northern Ireland etc.

    As for the Dutch part. I absolutely do not feel offended, beacause it makes no sense to me at all. If the artist would have done any effort in research, he would have known we have not had religious "tensions" for over 400+ years (for example between Protestants and Catholics). We managed to keap the peace in contrast to other European nations, because we never had a national fate, but a bill of rights from our declaration of independence of the Spanish empire. Furthermore, during the 17th century over half of the population in the cities was imigrant (in contrast to the few procentage points now) and most wheren't protestants as the origional majority, but Jews and Catholics, so notting new there as well. So in short; been there, done that, got the T-shirt. The current wave of imigrants is notting new nor special in our history.
    Kind regards,

    Johan van den Heuvel

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  • 183. At 2:32pm on 15 Jan 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    pato10

    you forgot Scots, Welsh, Polish, Russian American and German not to mention the Icelandic Terrorists

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  • 184. At 2:40pm on 15 Jan 2009, Supervisor Number 5 wrote:

    I think the artwork is funny...a sense of humour is what's lacking in life today.

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  • 185. At 2:50pm on 15 Jan 2009, Johnnygray26 wrote:

    The artist said he had "wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself".

    But for us all to roar with laughter, isn't it necessary for the work of art to be funny? And he's really not the latest incarnation of John Cleese, Peter Cook and Ricky Gervais, is he? He's not funny and he's not clever. What a fool.

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  • 186. At 3:12pm on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    Re: #180
    Re: #181

    Frankly, I do not care whether "Turkish toilet" is only Cerny's word for "a squat toilet" or whether they were/are rife in Bulgaria.

    The fact of the matter is that in English "a Turkish toilet" implies a toilet that is either located in Turkey or used by Turks which, in view of the Bulgarian history, is incredibly offensive. Cerny should either learn English and history and/or change the title of his piece.

    Re #181

    Fortunately, visiting Bulgaria has not been made mandatory by the EU so if it's not to your liking, just don't go there.

    As to emigration, EU citizens have the right to live wherever they want. That is the whole point of the Union. Britian is full of Greeks, Italians etc. which does not necessarily mean that their respective countries are rubbish!

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  • 187. At 3:16pm on 15 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Today's statement from Geoff Hoon, saying that if we don't have a 'Third Runway' for Heathrow, our European competitors will be stealing our trade and jobs, tells you all that you need to know about how 'united' the European 'Union' is..

    Catch yourself on folks, Mr Cerny has really stumbled on something important here, and the fact that the Eurocrats are now appearing to be threatening his work with censorship tells you everything you need to know about that autocratic organisation's views on free speech, artistic expression and state control.

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  • 188. At 3:20pm on 15 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    So many people have been intimidated by intelligent modern art that they are too scared or can't recognize complete rubbish when they see it, which is what this is.

    Generally speaking, which is difficult to do with art but is possible here, it is racist. It is a direct insult to both Turkey, Bulgaria and Holland, and is insulting to Britain, Germany and France and the rest by implication. This rubbish assumes western Europe holds racist preconceptions about the east (the artist doesn't realize the Czech Republic might be included in this), and about their own Muslim and ethnic minorities . It doesn't make us see things in any new light nor provide anything we didn't already know. It is like telling someone to go and perform a certain four letter word on themselves and then calling it performance art.

    The roots of this 'we should laugh at ourselves' pathetic justification for a badly thought out piece of art installation are in the reaction of Czechs to the oppression they suffered historically, which, with a complete absence of psychological analytical tools at their disposal due to the blinkered thinking and censorship of communism, means that Czechs don't even understand themselves either. Now that would have been interesting!

    There are so many important issues the Czech EU presidency has to deal with and prove itself over. The EU has put its faith (as well as huge amounts of structural funds until now) into the country. This is a terrible start.

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  • 189. At 3:22pm on 15 Jan 2009, davidsonmjm wrote:

    I'm a Canadian university student, and I am constantly intrigued by EU affairs, particularly those in the sociopolitical sphere. I can't help but keep coming back to this story...

    It amazes me that this bud was given 350k euro to make this. It amazes me even more that it was EU taxpayers' money.

    Maybe, to determine if this art/non-art is appropriate or accepted by the EU citizenry, (all +/- 500m of you), you should hold a multi-million euro referen--oh, wait...

    The point is why on earth do you need to spend money on this type of thing? If the artist truly loves art, and truly wants to poke some fun at the EU, why didn't he just make it himself, on his own dime? The fact that this triggered the 'need' for a 'dialogue' between the Czechs and Romanians, Dutch, whoever, illustrates a lot.

    Pull your skirt up EU, you've far more important concerns to be commencing a 'dialogue' about!!!!

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  • 190. At 3:52pm on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #187 - lordBeddGelert

    I am not sure how you managed to get Geoff Hoon and David Czerny into a single topic, m'lud but if I had to confine one of them to the scrap heap of history, it would not be Czerny.

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  • 191. At 3:54pm on 15 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    I am a Bulgarian and I did not see the picture about Bulgaria as insulting. However, after reading some of the post here (e.g. 181) I now undestand why some other people are so bothered by it. If that is the reaction it causes (Bulgarians not beeing mature enough to laugh when their country is presented as a toilet), then indeed its critics could be justified.

    Ok, we are not offended, it is art, but for everybody's sake do not ask us to like it! Be mature enough.

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  • 192. At 4:17pm on 15 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my next art project. Its message, although I don't really want to discuss this and will be open to interpretation once it is finished, will be that we all take ourselves too seriously and should just chill out.

    I am looking for other artists to help make a giant - I don't know, globe? No, a giant VW car which represents the world, yes, a VW (we can imply something about Nazism with that if it is old - if we really want to turn heads we could put a Swatstika where the VW badge should be - genius!) On the side we'll put Africa with a big hypodermic needle to represent disease or something. I hear there is no food in Zimbabwe, or is it Zambia, I don't know, but we'll put a loaf of bread there as well, which is ironic. The middle east will be full of blood and oil - real pig's blood and oil and lots of it- genius! China - well they're annoying because they work so hard and don't have democracy so let's put a bicycle and one of those funny straw hats and some dog meat on there so they can laugh at what they really are all about! Genius! While we're at it, let's throw the Japs in with China so we can laugh how we are all the same, (well, not like the Chinese), but they can laugh and be grateful to us for pointing out that they are the same really, because of their funny eyes. It will mostly be make out of lego because it reminds us of our childhoods and is basically clever.

    We'll make the rest up later. The really clever part is we'll apply for public funds to make this poke-fun piece of art which will bring out the best in us all and make sure we keep the scum... I mean eastern not-white-enough races in their place, laughing at themselves, and we'll all laugh TOGETHER!

    If you are interested, please leave a note here with your ideas or contact me on PO Box SELF-HATER Somewhere in Eastern Europe.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

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  • 193. At 4:18pm on 15 Jan 2009, Dave H wrote:

    I'll add my vote to keep it as a reminder to the politicians not to be so pompous and self-righteous. I can understand why Bulgaria might be a bit upset, but I thought the British entry was definitely a classic. I'm usually an art critic (as in I'm critical of spending taxpayers money on huge public displays of stuff that leaves me cold) but this one I admire. If they wish to censor it, that tells us a lot about the basic nature of the EU, and I find the implications disturbing.

    Some people need to get a sense of humour and lighten up a bit. Can we have a decent picture of the whole thing? So far you've only reported on some parts, not all of them.

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  • 194. At 4:23pm on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    Re: #188

    Spot on!

    The piece encourages xenophobia and has nothing to do with the spirit of the EU which, to explain for the Europhobes, is one of togetherness and cooperation.

    It's an utter disgrace for the Czech Republic that they allowed this to happen. Half-hearted apologies and the removal of the piece on Bulgaria are just too little too late. The whole work should go because it has proved divisive and insulting!

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  • 195. At 4:25pm on 15 Jan 2009, mm4rtinez wrote:

    Personally, I think this piece is rather entertaining. I can see why some would be offended over this piece but overall it seems rather harmless. Compared to the way people from different states in the US stereotype each other on a regular basis I feel it's rather tame.






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  • 196. At 4:33pm on 15 Jan 2009, Norman Conquest wrote:

    I wonder how the Czech Republic is shown on this piece of... art.

    Personally I think the Czech Republic should be represented on this mosaic with a tuft of bum fluff -- those pesky Ceskis.

    But anyway it's all in jest and great fun obviously.

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  • 197. At 4:50pm on 15 Jan 2009, Whetherperson wrote:

    Har Jolly Har! I know Brussels well, and these are the stereotypes you start with whenever you sit round a table with the rest. Recognise that first, and things then get quickly better. Thanks for Czech fun and bravado - the joke is more sophisticated than many think. PS - Malta should be pleased, and deserve to be.

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  • 198. At 4:53pm on 15 Jan 2009, EditorPru wrote:

    Where can I buy a T-shirt featuring this artwork?

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  • 199. At 4:53pm on 15 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    There appear to be a large number of posters saying how offended they are by this piece of art, and out of those a smaller number who suggest it should be got rid of because it offends.

    If we follow this logic then if art offends people should we get rid of it. For example some find nudity offensive, should we ban all paintings that depict nudes.

    Many find forms of religeous art offensive - shall we get rid of these paintings.

    Some find Hirst's half cows offensive - shall we get rid of those.

    Some people find certain books offensive, shall we get rid of those?

    My view is that provided it is not illegal, live and let live.

    Perhaps some people need to chill a little. No one is asking any one to like it, but it does make people think and talk about the issues it throws up. One persons art is another persons piece of rubbish, but for the latter to decide the former should not be allowed to enjoy it is despicale.

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  • 200. At 4:54pm on 15 Jan 2009, Rufus wrote:

    I think in return the other 26 EU member states should create another artwork based on the perception (and stereotypes) of the Czech Republic and the Czechs by each of them.
    I bet this could be interesting as well. Not sure the Czechs will be able to laugh about it much but it's OK because in today's Europe there's no place for censorship.

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  • 201. At 5:08pm on 15 Jan 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    Cerny has obviously travelled throughout Europe and is aware of national stereotypes. I think his portrayal of these is brilliant.

    This what otheres think of your country - wherever you live. Some can take it some can't - eg most politicians. But most politicians can't take a joke about themselves. Even politicians who buy cartoons of themselves only do it because it boosts their egos: they're famous enough to be caricatured - Wow!

    Also, it shows the EU as it is (and as it was meant to be): bonded together in unity yet still identifiable as individual nations.

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  • 202. At 5:09pm on 15 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To daring_1 #171:
    Mark, thanks to Mr. David Cherny's installation and to your nice mediation, we found ourselves all around the roundtable just like the knights from your saga `Monty Python'. There are those who laugh, there are others who seek the quarrel. And this is fine. I am reassured to be Bulgarian… Because unified Europe is by all standards the paradisiacal place of the earth …
    Mark, what you do is magnificent. If there are some divergences, it’s so much better. Life will not be banal. If there are hot discussions, it is undoubtedly due to the relativity of the things (in the 19th s. Russia was liberator for the Bulgarians but aggressor for the Poles). There is also the historical lack of chance (Italy was liberated by the Americans and the British, while Czechoslovakia was liberated by the Red Army….). And this explains the delay cumulated in Bulgaria and our home problems...

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  • 203. At 5:09pm on 15 Jan 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    Sorry, forgot to add to my last sentence: except the UK.

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  • 204. At 5:19pm on 15 Jan 2009, Winpoj wrote:

    This is a magnificent idea, droog67. I am Czech and would be very interested to see something like that - especially a Bulgarian revenge - bring it on!

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  • 205. At 5:24pm on 15 Jan 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Thenodio wrote :

    #41 - democracythreat

    "7 Eur for every 100,000 people? Oh yes, we are going to miss that, aren't we? How petty can you get?"

    No, we wont miss the 7 euro. And we wont miss the 7 euros for the other "art" commissioned by the EU that we don't hear about. And we wont miss the 7 euro for the train fare from brussels to Strasbourg for the MEP's. And we won't miss the 7 euros for the secretarys.

    Nor will we miss the 7 euros required to pay for the printing of advertisements telling us how grand the EU really is.

    Neither will we miss the 7 euros we lose when brussels decides in must ensure the banks stay profitable this hour. Nor the 7 euros for the next hour, and so on.

    We wont miss any of this money, until our children listen to us talk about getting a job with disbelief, because they can't see how a person would want to go to work and pay more tax on less wages, to the point where the are poor if they work, and poor if they do not work.

    You might not miss the 7 euros. I am so sick of these people stealing from my pay check, I miss every cent.

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  • 206. At 5:26pm on 15 Jan 2009, NikolayTzvetkov wrote:

    OK, First as a disclaimer I am a Bulgarian. To be honest I do not feel particularly offended by the installation. If it shows any prejudices these are the ones of its author. To me it is mostly stupid and particularly inventive. But ever since Piero Manzoni created Merda d’Artista (probably one of the greatest art pieces of the 20th century) works like this a bit irrelevant.
    Second the so called Turkish toilet is not at all Turkish; it is probably an Asian invention from the times when the people in Europe used trees and hedges for the purposes. By the ways this type of toilets are still wildly used in Japan, a relatively developed and civilized country I would say.
    Third I am a bit surprised by the enthusiasm of the usual British Europhobic crowd for the piece. After all if the author was consistent UK should have been presented by a pregnant twelve year old girl engaged in a bizarre acts with an aging Tory MP, while vomiting as a result of binge drinking. It will be as true as Bulgaria as toilet, Spain covered in concrete, or Germany as a Nazi Land.
    At the end the ability to laugh at the others should follow the ability to laugh at oneself, otherwise it’s just petty. And I don’t see this in the self-satisfied representation of the Czech Republic.

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  • 207. At 5:34pm on 15 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    This is the last thing I want to say on this, as I have allowed it to waste my time to be honest, which as far as I can see may be its only objective.

    Firstly as a British and European citizen I would like to APOLOGIZE TO BULGARIANS and assure you that this does not represent our views and it is only fear on the part of politicians of being accused of encroaching on freedom of speech and censorship that is stopping them from removing it, dismantling it and throwing the pieces into an actual real toilet. (That would be environmentally damaging but it was the only figure of speech that came to mind). You may have problems with corruption but that does not justify other nations in the EU family insulting you - sorry.

    Sorry also for the people in this blog who have said the thing which is supposed to 'art' is somehow good and continue to insult you. They are the dregs of our western European societies, but we have to tolerate them because they were not eliminated by dictators in the past and can say what they want, and this is one of the drawbacks of the democratic ideal. They are small in number, but there a lot of them in the UK unfortunately who are loud.

    Secondly, this is a point about our hosts and your 'impartiality'. If this work is xenophobic as many here attest and borderline xenophobes have been attracted to side with this fool from the Czech Republic, then shouldn't those arguments above in support of xenophobia, essentially, be removed? In order to be objective and impartial, you also have to be brave, but then, I forgot, the bbc had the frighteners put into it to such an extent by Big Daddy Blair that it will genuinely entertain and help masquerade such obvious xenophobic drivel as art and draw obscure extreme right-wing europhobe supporters from out of the woodwork.

    At least out of this we might rediscover a sort of Churchillian role for Britain in Europe, because it is clear that a lot of these countries don't know what they are doing because they haven't gone through the same social upheavals as us (and Holland and France for eg) and need our help.

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  • 208. At 5:35pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Highway robbery. Our patented, typical Soviet, toilet... that one could observe for 40 years ... at a distance from Berlin to Vladivostok... Poland and Hungary included...
    hijacked ! by some David Cerny

    Not only has he to remove it, but also to return the property, to where it belongs!

    rather than clipping it onto one country, whose rights to use it has long since expired.

    Or else... we'll switch ON the gas!

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  • 209. At 5:51pm on 15 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    And lastly - stop using phrases like 'chill out'! It's meaningless! And the argument about getting rid of all art if we don't like this rubbish falls down too, because last time I checked, Damien Hirst wasn't racist and you insult the man by mentioning him in the same breath as this joker.

    Take a moment to look at the thing. It depicts a country as a TOILET. It says Britain is not in Europe, therefore not respected or listened to by Europe. It says Italy, a great civilization and country, is nothing but a giant football pitch. It says the French never work. It almost, but is too cowardly to follow through with the thought, shapes Germany's Hitler-built motorway network into a schwatstika. Don't get me started on theme park and the polarization of the gay community and Polish catholics. And this fool got about 300,000 euro of YOUR TAX MONEY for it and you're saying CHILL OUT! If that doesn't make you angry there must be something wrong with you.

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  • 210. At 5:52pm on 15 Jan 2009, Willie Mays Hayes wrote:

    As a Brit subjected to the totally unjustified pseudo-intelectual lauding of Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin, Turner Prize etc this piece of true art is as refreshing as any renaissance masterpiece.

    It has real people debating it's merits and quality. Bulgarian toilets, spineless and subjugated Netherlands, swastikas, lego, Dracula, football and elephants. Every human expression is art, it's just that some people are better at it than others.

    This Czech artist is a super nova in a universe being consumed by an artistic black hole perpetrating as artist as capitalist.

    Come on ordinary people of Europe. Make a stand. Recognise brilliance. Demand a viewing.

    Art talks, bad art walks to the bank to deposit it's millions.

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  • 211. At 5:54pm on 15 Jan 2009, Webjasper wrote:

    Without doubt the best piece of "New Art" I have had the pleasure to look at, I only hope a reproduction will be on sale soon

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  • 212. At 6:00pm on 15 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    Re #199

    Oh, no! This is not just ANY piece of art. It is a piece of art that has been commissioned by the Czech government as a SYMBOL of their EU presidency.

    A piece that will hang in the European parliament as an expression of the Czech vision of the Union. Hence the insult! If it was a random piece in a gallery in Prague, I would have dismissed it.

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  • 213. At 6:05pm on 15 Jan 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "The most important reason behind our action [against the riot police unit] was to show not only how necessary but how effective armed action is today," the group said. "We may not have the training or ammunition that cops do, but we are determined and armed with the faith that an armed confrontation with the establishment and its henchmen is not only desired but attainable."

    This is from a citizens group inside the EU.

    Yep. These folks pay their tax in Euros.

    It has no connection with the topic of this thread, except perhaps as a vivid contrast to the idea that Europe needs a sense of humour.

    With respect to those who yearn for a civilized and happy Europe under one flag and one law, I fear English humour and continental government make an unhappy couple. It will end in tears.

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  • 214. At 6:05pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    So what is the Czech piece about themselves; has anyone seen?

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  • 215. At 6:08pm on 15 Jan 2009, swerdna wrote:

    As I said before - I love it! One very funny work of art.

    I for one (being a Brit) would hope that it eventually goes on display at the Tate Modern.

    This is what Modern art should be about: making people laugh and making people laugh at the stuffed shirts who are upset by all of this.

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  • 216. At 6:12pm on 15 Jan 2009, Romagaro wrote:

    Is this artwork available for public viewing and, if so, where in Brussels can it be seen?

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  • 217. At 6:17pm on 15 Jan 2009, KiorHassan wrote:

    I am Bulgarian and I can see the funny site, and the public toilets in the coutry still look that way, and now that I do not live there for 15 years - god, are not they tricky to use?

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  • 218. At 6:18pm on 15 Jan 2009, Vrykolakis wrote:

    To reiterate: EU taxpayers nor Czech Republic citizens didn't pay anything for this project. Entropa was financed by private sources and the three Czech artists who created it said that they will naturally return the money intended to other European artists. They have planned this all out from the beginning.

    The work does not enforce stereotypes, it mocks them. Why is it so hard to see for some people?

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  • 219. At 6:19pm on 15 Jan 2009, USADEU wrote:

    Call it art, non-art, satire, humor, whatever. I don't think this is the appropriate place for it. I am not a citizen of an EU country, but have worked in many of them. If an outsider's opinion means anything, it was a little sad to see depictions of Bulgaria as a series of Toilets, and Germany with a suggestion of a Swastika when thinking of the many good people I have worked and lived with in these places. They do not deserve to be depicted in this way.

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  • 220. At 6:24pm on 15 Jan 2009, IRSWalker wrote:

    To the Bulgarians who have been offended by the artwork, have you considered how many (certainly Western) Europeans were probably ignorant of your history until today?

    The piece, by identifying stereotypes (whether correct or not) forces us to investigate further our own prejudices and presumptions.

    If the EU don't want it, I'll have it!

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  • 221. At 6:28pm on 15 Jan 2009, Willie Mays Hayes wrote:

    Firstly I would like to thank the dictator KingGeorge2010 for expressing the view of his 60 million subjects of the UK. I don't know how he does it. He must be psychic or God to know how all these people regard Bulgarians. Secondly, I am really glad your time has been wasted. Fascism is deplorable in all it's forms.

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  • 222. At 6:28pm on 15 Jan 2009, v_something wrote:

    Just to point out the financials, as many of you were crying over EU money being wasted: Mr Cerny had not spent a single penny (or cent, to be precise) of it, he used entirely his own money or other private sources of funding. That is at least what he and the Czech Deputy Prime Minister said on Czech TV today.

    And as for the sculpture itself, definitely thumbs up!:D

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  • 223. At 6:31pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    @ 208 I named - just out of hand - 3 countries who used the same, say, hi-tech piece of equipment. At a distance from - afraid to name it again and - "to". Beginning from 1945.
    And was imediately referred to the mods.

    Capacity for silly jokes embracing in one of the above un-mentioned anymore places leaves much to be desired.

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  • 224. At 6:33pm on 15 Jan 2009, phoenix wrote:

    I think the Uk got off lightly in its depiction as absent from the EU. After all the UK has michieviously been trying to derail the Euopean project ever since it became clear they couldnt have their own way in its running.

    A better description would be a overweight drunk bulldog standing on an tiny Island with the description

    " No honestly... I do like europeans. I just dont want the (insert multiple derogatory terms for continental europeans) to run my country with their duplicitous sneaky ways...
    now wheres my money! Sorry what about the Elgin marbles? I reserve the right to poison my own citizens with pesticides-Science be damned, I will buy my coal by the Bushel!..."

    Etc...

    Im some of the bloggers out there could do better... after all national stereotypes are all good clean fun isnt it

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  • 225. At 6:49pm on 15 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    What national stereotype is “The Turkish toilet”. This means that Bulgarians are using the toilets more often than others or what?
    Toilet is a toilet no matter turkish or non-turkish. And, excuse me, the message is: You are a toilet. Why Czech Republic is not represented as a toilet. Come on, it’s funny.

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  • 226. At 6:59pm on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #199 - jordanbasset

    I agree.

    This evening Hungary made 1.5 million units of it's gas reserves available to Slovakia. That is what being good Europeans is about. In the meantime, these columns continue to be filled by people who are shocked, offended, amused, disgusted or disturbed by a piece of work which probably intended, in a light hearted way, to do just that.

    What we are seeing here is political correctness gone mad. This is a piece of work by a creative artist for heaven's sake, not a life changing event. If an artists are not free to express themselves, who is? The interesting thing to me is that those who have expressed offence are those who were intended to be offended - narrow minded bigots with no sense of humour.

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  • 227. At 7:01pm on 15 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 2009, King George, you highlight the problem with appreciation of art. You see racism, I do not see it as racism. I think you do a disservice to those who have been victims of racism and are belittling what racism is. But hey, that is my opinion, you think different, fine.

    Simililarly some people find nudity grossly offensive and it should be banned, even in art. Again I do not agree, but hey that is their opinion.

    I will give you one example (there are thousands) where people can take offense at art and the route it can take us down

    Washington Post - Friday, April 8, 2005;

    "IN JANUARY 2003 vandals entered an art exhibition in Moscow and used spray paint to destroy many of the "offensive" paintings. It's not the first such incident in the annals of modern art, but this time the story had several peculiarly Russian twists. The gallery was part of the Andrei Sakharov Museum, set up in 1994 to preserve the legacy of Russia's best-known human rights activist. The exhibition, titled "Caution! Religion," was intended, the curators explained, to get people to focus on the danger of religious fanaticism and prejudice in a country where only Russian Orthodoxy has any firm legal status. The vandals were acolytes of the Russian Orthodox Church. After a brief investigation, charges against them were dropped on the grounds that the exhibition was indeed offensive. Instead, museum administrators were put on trial. Last week a judge found the museum's executive director, Yuri Samodurov, guilty of "inciting hatred"; also convicted were a colleague and an exhibiting artist. All were fined."

    The people who did this believed they were right, the courts actaully sided with them. I do not want to live in a E.U. that is so repressive that it will not allow countries to laugh at themselves and each other.

    By the way I find your language your language and castigation of some members on this thread grossly offensive, but I would not dream of trying to stop you. There are people on this thread (on both sides of the E.U. debate) who are very tolerant, liberal minded and very much anti-racist. I have seen them demonstrate this in their strong arguments against the occasional neo-nazi's that appear from time to time here. You should apologise to them, but you won't -

    Finally chill out

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  • 228. At 7:01pm on 15 Jan 2009, Cacadores wrote:

    On Laughter and Respect

    'Well how would you like it if I laughed at your nation....?', a minority ask.

    Well, er......

    That's the point; I do it all the time, don't you?
    And I'm amazed at the insecurity displayed: If you can't laugh at other people or other things: at your own continent....or at yourself....or your friends.....
    Who can you laugh at?

    Laughing makes you look at things a-new and a-fresh. It doesn't contain things; it questions things, engages. Pretentiousness stripped away.

    Laughing expresses the sheer joy of being alive.
    We laugh with our friends: laughter the ultimate compliment. For them.
    Do the anti-laughter lobby want to express the dead hand of false 'respect' raised up as a cardboard shield.......

    Oh. Will the pretentious innure themselves from questioning...? Are the the old dictatorships of the East dead or alive in their minds? Is Bulgaria our friend? Will they demand respect, use 'offence' as a motif to obscure insecurity instead of steeling themselves to our right to comment? Over a yard long bit of plastic!

    And the Eurocrats: do they think they're important people.......out of our reach.........the Immune?
    Forgetting they're our servants.
    For the person who objects to being laughed with.......
    Gets laughed at.

    Oh yes: the 'Community' pretends to be here for us: for you and me: the ultimate political expression of the hopes and relationships of all the peoples of Europe...
    Come on, the Community is us, Bulgaria chose to be part of OUR political continent; our Community. US.

    Can we laugh at ourselves, or what?








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  • 229. At 7:03pm on 15 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    Post 226, Threnodio, correct and in my post at 227 one of those tolerant people I was referring to was you

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  • 230. At 7:22pm on 15 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    King George, one more thing for you, from what you say I gather you consuder Hirst to be a good artist. You may or may not be aware, that some Christians found his depiction of Christianity grossly offensive. Do you want to apologise to them as well. Also some art critics described his work as pop art and superficial. But that is their view, you are entitled to your differing view, what you are not entitled to do is censor what people can see (within the law) - best wishes

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  • 231. At 7:32pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 232. At 7:33pm on 15 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    Re #212

    well done, daring_one.

    This will be the symbol of Czech EU presidency indeed. The funny thing is that no matter the activities of the Czech government on gas crisis or middle east conflict many people will remember the CZ EU presidency with their weird sense of humor.

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  • 233. At 7:56pm on 15 Jan 2009, Agora9 wrote:


    It is tough on Bulgarians and probably if I were one I would have found it offensive. It would be difficult to be objective.

    However, as I recall reading somewhere the type of toilets provide much more natural position and thus healthier than the sit up version. I also remember seeing them in Italy and recently in Spain. So Bulgarians you are not alone in this.

    The concept of art is being stretched to such an extent that anything can pass as art. I am much more worried about any impropriety about the payment and I think this should be looked at and an adequate explanation given. The gas saga pushes this topic into insignificance.


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  • 234. At 8:08pm on 15 Jan 2009, pato10 wrote:

    217,
    I also have grim memmories of those squat toilets from my childhood. However, over the last few years, in restaurants and rest stops on the motorway, I have had the pleasure of visitting quite a number of sanitised tiled establishments, complete with air freshener, not to mention toilet paper. This is where all the hard earned pounds plucked from the bossom of the British taxpayer are going!

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  • 235. At 8:14pm on 15 Jan 2009, billgjos wrote:

    This art is GOOD STUFF. Was there also one for the Bureaucrats in Brussels?

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  • 236. At 8:16pm on 15 Jan 2009, semimoron wrote:

    Well, the Bulgarians already tried to return the favour and were very close to success there.

    It is quite entertaining that nobody in the BeeB noticed that the delivery route attempted on Tuesday by the Russians was solely via Moldova and would have served _ONLY_ Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia. Nobody else and explicitly and especially none to the Czech republic. In fact the Russians stopped the gas when Ukraine insisted to deliver to the Czechs.

    All I can say - applause to Mr Stanishev. Well negotiated. While he is not by any means my favourite Bulgarian politician he did a great job there.

    By common admission by a lot of people (including Mrs Nein aka Frau Merkel) one of the major reasons for having Bulgaria in the EU is their uncanny ability to negotiate with the Russians. Guess so much for that idea. At least till the point where the Chech presidency delivers a PROPER apology. Quite clearly the "toilet people" are negotiating for themselves now and making a point out of it.

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  • 237. At 8:27pm on 15 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    pato10 @137,

    It is your privilege to be offended on behalf of Bulgarians.

    It is also true that I know very little about Bulgaria; I've not visited and can't foresee the circumstances that would take me there.

    You say that "If the esteemed Mr Cerny had pictured the Brits as puking holidaymakers, pregnant teenagers or public schoolboys obsessed with bottoms, you may have been less charitable."

    Actually, he wouldn't even have scratched the surface: our flaws are far worse, including a feral underclass, an expensive, bloated and inefficient public sector and a venal and gormless government.

    Alas, I can't blame it on the Turks! I put the blame where it deserves to be: on 60 years of the welfare state and other 'progressive' policies.


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  • 238. At 8:47pm on 15 Jan 2009, xeis wrote:

    It is fantastically European, it is a the product of a criminal deception (taking money under false pretenses is illegal in all of Europe) that makes a mockery of the tax payers who funded it. But to top it all the European Commission will allow it to stay because what is a few hundred thousand euros taken under false pretenses compared to the embarrassment of admitting they had been fooled.

    Kind of shows why the gravy train keeps rolling.



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  • 239. At 8:53pm on 15 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    BTW, Hirst is not an artist. He is a businessman - a very clever one who knows how to turn bovine excrement into gold.

    A bit like that old charlatan, Picasso (But at least he, Picasso, could draw).

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  • 240. At 8:55pm on 15 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    Jordan Basset - the only person in actual fact I was castigating was you. I am glad you are not racist in which case you will understand fully the following point. You've got it wrong mate. In no liberal democratic society is it constitutionally correct to discriminate according to ethnicity or nationhood, particularly in the EU.

    Trust me, I know a lot about racism and it starts in the most unexpected places with small digs, jokes and stereotypical representations which this undeniably is. History has taught us that this is propagated by ignorant people who have often visited the lands of the object of their pathetic satire. Gollywogs for example, were regarded as harmless fun - indeed the uncle Toms of that day had no choice but to laugh along as well. Look at how the Nazis came to power - the same thing. Need I go on?

    You are throwing religion and whatever else all in the same pot, but one thing is for sure - you cannot help coming from wherever you are from, can you? You can't change you ethnicity can you? If someone insults you, as say a German, it is still racist or prejudice regardless of how powerful you are, it just happens to be worse if you are poor. Free speech is enormously important, I agree, but not at the expense of propaganda which in the past led to totalitarian regimes and war.

    There is no need to quote me stuff from other people - this is a blog not a thesis - what is your opinion? Just chill out? I am chilled, because at the end of the day, if the EU discriminates against the UK because of years of unnecessary jibes by Europhobes and because the UK needs to join the Eurozone as sterling won't be worth much, I won't be affected. I am not the one singling out whole nations saying 'THEY this and THEY that' because I don't play that game. And this takes me back to my original point, should someone get paid for creating division, instigating prejudice (as I have explained the way it starts) and insulting whole countries.

    Bulgarians: it is okay to be angry by this - assert yourselves as EU citizens! It is necessary for equality!

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  • 241. At 9:01pm on 15 Jan 2009, iyanachko wrote:

    A humbled Bulgarian's opinion

    I am Bulgarian, and I am deeply offended by the depiction of Bulgaria at the Czech Republic sponsored art installation at the European Council building in Brussels. To me this presentation goes beyond a good spirited satire. It seems to me it expresses the author’s feelings of contempt and disgust toward my country. I know that Bulgaria has a lot of problems and deserve a lot of criticism. And still I do not believe that the people who organized and paid for this art share the authors feelings. And if they do, I am sure they would be wise enough, and good enough not to express them that way.
    I would like, also, to expose the hypocrisy of the argument for “complete freedom of expression”. Had the author decided to present Germany as a country of militarists, the Jewish people as greedy bankers, or the black people as monkey, I am sure the sponsors would have abandoned their “complete freedom of art” stance immediately...
    Lack of sensitivity and good spirit help no one. It does not help the people of Holland to solve the problems with their Muslim minority, it does not help the Bulgarians, and it does not help the EU community as whole. And if otherwise talented artists miss it, certainly a little bit of feedback from the sponsors of their art would not be that awful thing, after all, and would help everybody.

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  • 242. At 9:05pm on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    I read that the Czech's have offered to remove the Bulgarian content of the piece. No doubt they would do the same for the Brits if there was any.

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  • 243. At 9:08pm on 15 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 242, Threnodio does that make Bulgarians the new Brits

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  • 244. At 9:20pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    semimoron @236,
    one of the major reasons to have Bulgarians in the EU is their uncanny ability to negotiate with the Russians

    Good guess. And in everyone's here place I'd be very very sweet to Bulgarians, just in case LOL
    And to Germans.

    If Gasprom survives, the heart and dream of its strategic planning is 2 tubes direct.

    North Stream Rus-Germany South Stream Rus-Bulgaria

    People tend to forget about the South Stream...

    One tube for capitalists, one for "socialists", so to say! Even that you seem to have swapped attitudes now, LOL.

    And no, no Ukraine at all. Nowhere in view. Not to fix its old networks. Not to negotiate with it. Not to care, what a bliss.

    Unfort. Ukraine smells this attitude and is very jealous re Bulgaria. They have figured out Russians have mentally re-placed "Ukraine" with the notion of "new and far better "Ukraine".
    That is why no gas in Bulgaria now.

    Though honestly of all - Germany and Bulgaria would top the list who to break it/make it/trade it/ by any means - but to deliver.

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  • 245. At 9:23pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And if Gasprom won't survive all this - then we won't need any "good" transit countries.
    and then nothing to worry about!

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  • 246. At 9:23pm on 15 Jan 2009, Nicomo wrote:

    Its absolutely brilliant - its the funniest thing I've seen in a long time! I say we keep it and remember the importance of laughing as well as understanding how we are seen by others - who knows it might inspire change in us :)

    Fantastic Job - full of brit humour :)



    Brit Ex-pat living in europe :)

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  • 247. At 9:44pm on 15 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #243 - jordanbasset

    Well you know what they say - better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. Whether there is a 'closet' equivalent that is printable, I don't recall.

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  • 248. At 9:48pm on 15 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Have you seen how the US plane landed on Hudson river, top pilot classs, all safe Rus TV says? extraordinary luck.

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  • 249. At 10:25pm on 15 Jan 2009, Arthur Brede wrote:

    southernmen - David has already painted a soviet tank pink and given a trabant four good legs - he would laugh like drain (of whatever ethnic origin) if you lent a rosy tint to his work.

    You're all missing the point - David Cerny (literally, Mr. Black) has got away with it, thereby highlighting the facts that:

    a) As long as you call it art, no-one will stop you doing anything
    b) The Czech Republic can't control its own artistic output, let alone the whole EU
    c) That someone, somewhere authorised this whole exhibition and never checked a moment of it
    d) That it is never wise to employ a rebel - David hated the soviets for their ignorant, heartless totalitarianism - maybe he/we feel(s) the same about the EU???

    I reckon this is agitprop at its best - funny, irreverent, relevant, and provocative - and we need more of this and fewer bisected sharks in formalin to promote 'art' in the third millennium.

    Some of the comments on 'two-stream' motivation for the gas flow are very interesting - thank you to whoever posted them.

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  • 250. At 10:31pm on 15 Jan 2009, zmeevolibe wrote:

    I think you got the British entry wrong there. I thought a lot about it and surely a great artist like Cherny did not chicken out when it came to Britain, or, God forbid, took into account possible future commisions by Saatchi. No, the only explanation is that Britain is represented also by a toilet which, since all Polish plumbers left, fell through and only the hole remains.
    Kind a symmetry.

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  • 251. At 11:23pm on 15 Jan 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    why is everyone only talking about Bulgaria?

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  • 252. At 11:32pm on 15 Jan 2009, Ranko wrote:

    Well, at least we've finally found someone in Europe who has a sense of humour...

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  • 253. At 00:05am on 16 Jan 2009, zvoomb wrote:

    Thank God the Czech Republic exists and it lies inside Europe!

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  • 254. At 00:48am on 16 Jan 2009, greypolyglot wrote:

    238. xeisnet:

    " the European Commission will allow it to stay"

    Er, got a source for that? It's in the Council building, therefore nothing to do with the Commission.

    "what is a few hundred thousand euros taken under false pretenses compared to the embarrassment of admitting they had been fooled."

    But the Czechs paid for it, not any of the EU institutions.

    "Kind of shows why the gravy train keeps rolling."

    How? This Czech art paid for by the Czechs that happens to be in an EU building at the request of the Czech Republic that happens to have the current presidency i.e. acting chairman of the management board (Council of Ministers).

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  • 255. At 01:16am on 16 Jan 2009, greypolyglot wrote:

    Ho hum, damned if you and damned if you don't.

    Remove it and some will scream "EU censors free expression".

    Don't remove it and some will scream "eurocrats waste taxpayers' money".

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  • 256. At 01:33am on 16 Jan 2009, martast wrote:

    “Entropa” is a monument to bigotry, hence, arguably, art. The incoming EU president, a Czech Euro-skeptic, has selected it as his calling cart. This leaves me wondering how is his country represented in this landscape of living stereotypes? Perhaps by a pompous ass ;-)?

    martast from Toronto and Sofia

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  • 257. At 01:37am on 16 Jan 2009, Cacadores wrote:

    251. At 11:23pm on 15 Jan 2009, Gheryando wrote:
    'why is everyone only talking about Bulgaria?'

    Because they didn't get the joke.
    And that's rather funny.

    Re: Criminal Fraud

    238. At 8:47pm on 15 Jan 2009, xeisnet wrote:
    '......it is a the product of a criminal deception ...... that makes a mockery of the tax payers who funded it. '

    Since this 'fraud' thing is taking on a life of its own, I should point out that Cerny found nothing in the contract obligating him to use other artists. He was commissioned to organise the project and left to it, which is quite normal. He chose to stay hands on.

    Henry Moore the sculpter, used to draw a sketch and then all the work was done other people, like in a factory.

    I know which method I find the most honest.

    Re: the Czech Rep.

    Seen comment here that Cerny's depiction of the Czech Rep. was fauning.

    What is rather funny, is that the vicious sarcasm Cerny used to describe his own president, has completely passed so many people by.

    It certanly shames us, that it takes someone from a nation where free speech was eliminated for so long, to understand its value.

    Re: The funniest parts

    1) The EU-loving CZ deputy, before the unveiling, wrote
    "in today's Europe there is no place for censorship.. I am confident in Europe's open mind and capacity to appreciate such a project"
    and now, thinks it should be....er.....censored!

    2) If the Bulgarians get their toilet removed........

    It would make them look more ridiculous!

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  • 258. At 01:48am on 16 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MercThrasher @249
    as long as you call it art - no-one will stop you doing anything LOL
    The Czech republic can't control its own artistic output, let alone the whole EU
    good points

    I feel obliged to Dav. Cerny for painting our tank pink. A scary metal thing was turned into an oxymoron ;o) at a snap of (his) fingers. For years on.
    In terms of fixing Rus. reputation in those quarters, you can't, kind of, desire for better. What a cost-effective, un-orthodox approach :o)

    Local Rus. TV BTW was getting a bit hysterical about it several times, because the tank seems to be war times, when we liberated them, not the "Prague spring" time, when we attacked supressed and depressed them.
    "Prague spring" times a tank granted can be turned upside down safely and pained all nasty words there are.
    War tank Russians are more sensitive about. about fooling around with. Approx. a 1000 times more.
    But then even Rus. TV went about the story like "what can you do with the artistic types"
    "you're a fool if you try to do anything with them" and then honestly - the idea was very cute and Russians like a good joke.

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  • 259. At 01:57am on 16 Jan 2009, ozmichka wrote:

    #177
    "I don't believe that Europe consists of very different nations. I can find similarities between a Pole and Portuguese, yet linguistically and geographically speaking they have nothing in common."

    I do agree.
    I am a Bulgarian, and have been living in Japan for some years now. I have met people from a lot of nations, and my general impression is that "Europeans" stand out, in the sense that I feel I have more in common with them (interests, ways of joking) and thus can more easily get along with them than with people from (most) other nations. Of course my sample is biased as these are all friends of mine; but still, when the context is different, i.e. when you step out of the picture (in this case Europe), a common "European" quality is easily discernible.
    What I am saying is that the level of comparison is important: if a person wants to feel unique, they can find they are unique in Europe. Yet, if the same person is in a far-flung place on Earth, they may be quite happy to find a "European" next to them in such an unfamiliar environment.

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  • 260. At 02:16am on 16 Jan 2009, ianvantransyl wrote:

    As a Romanian--more, a Romanian from Transylvania--I must say I don't feel in the least offended by Mr. Czerny's piece. If anything, I am a little puzzled.

    In the last decade or so, since Coppola's Dracula and Anne Rice's Lestat, all this international hullabaloo about bloodsuckers has left the Romanian populace rather cold (no pun intended). Dracula is more of an American obsession and a Hollywood trademark than a Romanian one, despite his historic origins.

    As for the Dracula theme-park, well, there is no such thing. True, there was some 10 years ago an obscure minister of tourism who, lacking brighter ideas, came up with such a proposal, but it was quickly forgotten. At least, so us Romanians thought.

    Actually, there are other things in Romania much more deserving a healthy batch of satire: the self-serving politicians and the all-pervasive corruption. I guess the fact that a Hollywood icon was chosen just goes to show how little is still known about this "land beyond the woods" of ours.

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  • 261. At 02:31am on 16 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    In Moscow by the Central Art Exhibition centre there is a small grove, empty place, where all the Sov. monuments un-destroyed yet were dragged over to. Stalin monuments nil in the country, but Lenin still in heaps around. Some are left in their places, but the excess amounts of Lenin busts (say, a thousand extra in a city ;o) were collected in that grove. And Sov. times mon. other, like an ideal worker, an ideal peasant, an ideal Sov. woman, a standard "girl with an oar"
    (a good sporty Sov. girl about to go canoeing). They stand, lie, all positions. A stone monsters' park place! Tourists love it recently. You don't even need to do anything to them, simply continue to pile over. Well I guess D.Cerny would be able to add a touch or two...;o) if quaranteed a couple of days there un-disturbed. and a helicopter at the exit to evacuate him then!

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  • 262. At 02:43am on 16 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    On this website I read :

    " Short and fond of women - is Sarkozy the new Napoleon?"

    But is he really fond of women or is it just part of the need to "score" or to dominate.

    I know of other megalomaniacs who have strange sexual behaviour.

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  • 263. At 02:48am on 16 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ivan from transylvania, I am also 1/4 Roumanian vampire. I suggested the idea of a Dracula theme park decades ago. The myth and the reality of Count Vlad Tepes the great impaler and the story in the Novel by the Irishman Brahm Stoker. There's a lot of money to be made from it I think. Visits to old castles, battlements, movies, and a built to purpose Castle Dracula for people who want to be spooked out and even sleep over for a night or two. Too bad you people can't seem to get over your obsession with the inaccuracies of what is after all just a story people have come to love and be fascinated by. Were it not for Dracula, of what interest to the outside world would Roumania be anyway? Gypsy violinists?

    I hope one day they put this piece of artwork up for sale. If it appears on e-bay, I might just place a bid or two on it.

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  • 264. At 03:35am on 16 Jan 2009, shrumy wrote:

    If the point of the artwork was to make people laugh at themselves it would have been good to let artists from each country do it. Having pretended to do so is laughable in itself. Not funny really, kind of dumm.

    European people have a curious mix of senses of humour. Some countries are stereotyped with lack of humour altogether. But as I went around I figured out that the humour is just different and depends on history and mentality. I would have been happy to see the difference in that artwork. I am not too interested in the point of view of just a Chech somebody.

    Here in Bulgaria I am a person who is trying to change things, every day, with my actions. I am surrounded by people who do the same and want to take care of this funny wonderful place.

    Believe me, the toilet, compared to the things we have learned to laugh about, is a laughably flat joke. We´ve got better ones, only the toilet artist wouldn´t get them.

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  • 265. At 06:44am on 16 Jan 2009, Ton wrote:

    Read all articles-blogs on BBC relating to this issue,Specially the new article and first paragraph of this blog.

    They all are written in such an angry mode and try to deplore it. Is it just because Britain is missing?

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  • 266. At 07:57am on 16 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    ****240. At 8:55pm on 15 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:
    Jordan Basset - the only person in actual fact I was castigating was you. I am glad you are not racist in which case you will understand fully the following point. You've got it wrong mate. In no liberal democratic society is it constitutionally correct to discriminate according to ethnicity or nationhood, particularly in the EU.

    Trust me, I know a lot about racism and it starts in the most unexpected places with small digs, jokes and stereotypical representations which this undeniably is. History has taught us that this is propagated by ignorant people who have often visited the lands of the object of their pathetic satire. Gollywogs for example, were regarded as harmless fun - indeed the uncle Toms of that day had no choice but to laugh along as well. Look at how the Nazis came to power - the same thing. Need I go on?

    You are throwing religion and whatever else all in the same pot, but one thing is for sure - you cannot help coming from wherever you are from, can you? You can't change you ethnicity can you? If someone insults you, as say a German, it is still racist or prejudice regardless of how powerful you are, it just happens to be worse if you are poor. Free speech is enormously important, I agree, but not at the expense of propaganda which in the past led to totalitarian regimes and war.

    There is no need to quote me stuff from other people - this is a blog not a thesis - what is your opinion? Just chill out? I am chilled, because at the end of the day, if the EU discriminates against the UK because of years of unnecessary jibes by Europhobes and because the UK needs to join the Eurozone as sterling won't be worth much, I won't be affected. I am not the one singling out whole nations saying 'THEY this and THEY that' because I don't play that game. And this takes me back to my original point, should someone get paid for creating division, instigating prejudice (as I have explained the way it starts) and insulting whole countries.

    Bulgarians: it is okay to be angry by this - assert yourselves as EU citizens! It is necessary for equality!****

    Finally, somebody with an insight into inter-racial/-ethnic relations. I was beginning to lose hope for the good British public.

    Thanks for the post and the time!

    Apparently, the Bulgarian representatives in Brussels sent a second letter of protest yesterday and we expect the Czech Presidency to remove its garbage ASAP.

    Will keep a vigilant eye on this...

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  • 267. At 08:31am on 16 Jan 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    SB2 what are you talking about? You're too random..this discussion has nothing to do with The BBC Napoleon article.

    Ozmichka, I think most Europeans can agree with your statement, once they leave Europe, including me.

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  • 268. At 08:44am on 16 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    King George re your post 240 and your claim that the only person you were castigating was me, sorry I obviously misinterpretted you when you said at post 207 -

    "Sorry also for the people in this blog who have said the thing which is supposed to 'art' is somehow good and continue to insult you. They are the dregs of our western European societies, but we have to tolerate them because they were not eliminated by dictators in the past and can say what they want, and this is one of the drawbacks of the democratic ideal. They are small in number, but there a lot of them in the UK unfortunately who are loud. ...
    If this work is xenophobic as many here attest and borderline xenophobes have been attracted to side with this fool from the Czech Republic, then shouldn't those arguments above in support of xenophobia, essentially, be removed? In order to be objective and impartial, you also have to be brave, but then, I forgot, the bbc had the frighteners put into it to such an extent by Big Daddy Blair that it will genuinely entertain and help masquerade such obvious xenophobic drivel as art and draw obscure extreme right-wing europhobe supporters from out of the woodwork"

    Read it again and it does appear to refer to more people than me?

    Also find it rather narrow minded and possibly bigotted of you to suggest that to dicriminate against some one because, for example they come from France, is worse than to discrimiate on other grounds. Are you saying discrimination on areas such as religion or sexual preference is some how less painful to the victim. Or are you saying they can and perhaps should hide their religeous beliefs to avoid being discriminated against. Perhaps sikhs should not be allowed to wear a turban, Jewish men should not grow beards etc.. Islamophobia and anti-jewish behaviour, for example, can be just as bad for the recipient as calling some one names because of the country they come from.

    I am sure you are not homophobic, anti-islamic etc, but you need to be careful what you write, as you can offend you know.

    But as my previous post, and to get back to the point in hand, still do not see the original art piece as racist - but again that is my opinion, you are entitled to yours - take care

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  • 269. At 08:50am on 16 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    daring_one ,
    I am proposing a better solution. Let the Czech Rep. is pictured as toilet (modern one) and Bulgaria will be presented with EU skeptical quotes of Bulgarian politicians (there are a lot, believe me).

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  • 270. At 09:02am on 16 Jan 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    King George, re my post 268, it is of course tongue in cheek and hopefully highlights the issues of being over sensitive.

    If we are not careful we will be afraid to say anything about any one, some people are becoming afraid to voice an opinion for fear of being branded racist. The discussion on this thread, I think, has been healthy and it is good to bring the issues out in the open rather than let them fester. I am sure you are a good person -

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  • 271. At 09:26am on 16 Jan 2009, hadrunek wrote:

    Respecting bulgarian concerns, I must observe two things

    1) apart from the sensitive symbol comprised, bulgarian piece of puzzle is one of the most visualy impressive from the point of horizontal composition, vertical relief and colour composition.

    2) regarding squat toilets itself, it is important to notice, that they are much better then traditional european toilets from the perspective of human physiology, intime hygiene (if equiped with the hosepipe with cold and warm water like in Turkey itself) and time economy.

    Everyone can adopt this positive interpretation, if he is willing enough, especially in light of german calm reaction to their "swastika -highways".


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  • 272. At 09:43am on 16 Jan 2009, tbalbone wrote:

    I'm kind of in two minds about this one. I fully back the Czech stance of there being "no censorship in europe". However lampooning national stereotypes and dredging up evils of the past are two completely different things.

    As a British person, I find the representation of the UK quite funny. It's contempary, modern and lightly tackles a relevant subject.

    However from reading the description of Germany's representation (Motorways slightly resembling a swastika), I feel that some of them were done in bad taste. The rise of the Nazi party is hardly something to look back and laugh about.

    I think this would have been a little funnier if the artist would have not simply picked the first thing that came to mind when thinking of the different countries and then simply giving the age old excuse of it being 'Art'.

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  • 273. At 10:17am on 16 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 274. At 10:35am on 16 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    I do remember using these Bulgarian/Turkish toilets on trains in those countries in 1968.

    It is good training for skiing.

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  • 275. At 10:39am on 16 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    It is quite clear from interviews with Czerny that it was not his intention to offend anyone. It is also clear that he was given a fairly free hand to coordinate the project as he thought fit so neither is he guilty of fraud.

    He is not mocking the countries concerned, he is mocking the stereotypes and those who have drawn from it racist inferences have fallen for the joke hook, line and sinker. Those who can distinguish between humour and prejudice are the ones with the problem

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  • 276. At 10:52am on 16 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Yet more claims of police brutality in Vienna. Newspaper report indicates that they are not proven but probably true.

    I do not want continental police officers arresting people in the UK.

    I do not want to be in a political union with the continentals.

    I want to be friendly with them and co-operate with them.

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  • 277. At 11:12am on 16 Jan 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To SuffolkBoy2 (276):

    You could have at least continued your commenting about the topic in 'End of the British carrot?' were you initially made the same comment, and were I replied to you.

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  • 278. At 11:14am on 16 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Can we stop with the 'Turkish toilet' issue now? Yes, they are a bit old-fashioned but they seem to work. If people do not like them, they should not use them. Beats me to know why Mr Cerny was so impressed by them, to consider them important enough to put on an art instalation. May be he fell in, who knows? But If people get offended by his art- tough luck. I get offended by people who are easily-offended, however that is my own problem.
    I also do not like the ugly metal things with a rubber band nailed to the rim of the seat coverd in urine, that you find in quite a few British toilets (not to forget the walls covered with pedofile notes and offers for sex). I would not have thought them worthy of being put on a painting, but what do I know? One certain 'unmade bed' covered with filth was celebrated as one of the greatest pieces of contemporary art. Obviously art is not to everybody's taste.

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  • 279. At 11:15am on 16 Jan 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    SuffolkBoy@276, endlessly citing "Austrian press" in matters completely unrelated with the thread's subject:

    Surely, police brutality (and killing the odd innocent darkish Brazilian) is completely unheard of in the UK? Anyway, the much-maligned European Arrest Warrant does not mean "Continental police officers" arresting people in the UK.

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  • 280. At 11:16am on 16 Jan 2009, Palomaaa wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 281. At 11:46am on 16 Jan 2009, Ivi Tagata wrote:

    Well, as a Romanian, I have to say that 'we' got off easy! Given what I've heard travelling through Europe and the US about 'our' national stereotype of being nomadic-unwashed-stealing-gypsy-orphans...The British press has an article on Romanian beggars every week! Honestly, if the intention was to get people in those countries to react and to think about national stereotyping and branding angst, I think some countries were spot on (i.e., funny and jabbing enough to be thought-provoking, such as the Netherlands, France, UK, Latvia), others insulting but not funny or particularly enlightening (Bulgaria - although they are taking it a bit hard and that shows they have a big inferiority complex), others funny but not sure how it relates to EU (e.g., Italy), and others just hard to figure out either way (Germany and Spain and Finland and most of the others). True enough, the artist helped out his own people, there too a few leggy blonde cheap porno stars wouldn't have hurt, but hey...Next time, let Bulgarians do the mocking! :)

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  • 282. At 12:16pm on 16 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #278 - Isenhorn

    "Turkish toilet . . . If people do not like them, they should not use them".

    How does that work if you are taken short in Bulgaria?

    My step father was an amputee and he remarked that if you have ever tried to use a squat toilet with only one leg, a sense of humour was essential.

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  • 283. At 12:50pm on 16 Jan 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #282
    threnodio,

    If you are taken short yoou can use one of the other toilets. There are plenty of those around.
    Your point about the people with disabilities is true, though. That is one thing which is not at all sorted-out in Bulgaria. If we consider that respect and add a wheelchair to the Bulgarian piece, then it is going to be a spot-on.

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  • 284. At 1:38pm on 16 Jan 2009, bbony wrote:

    Is it art? What a question. Michelangelo used to look from the distance of a shelter at the public which was observing, admiring and criticizing his work. He didn't have high opinion for the artistic taste of the cardinals and bishops. Is it for the EU administration, some officially appointed art critics, to decide?

    The right question is, in fact, is that the emperor, Joseph itself, raising from the ashes again?

    Czechs are certainly as one light in this difficult ages of EU. They've been being inspired for centuries with the powerful bureucracies, for mocking them and, of course, for making good art. They were not impressed with the imperial powers.

    The Good Soldier Schweik, Der Prozess, Taking Off - are excellent examples. I really don't care if somebody calls it an art or not. I enjoyed reading or watching it. Is Milos Forman's Amadeus a piece of art? There are many elements diplayed in this film of a satire directed to the Austrian enlighted absolutistic glory.

    on the other hand, where is the grave of great Mozart? Don't ask the Austrians. Instead of answering, they would offer you Die Mozart Kugels. Is this art, a cultural phenomena?

    The irony is now displayed at the very door of those ironized. The piece is for sure of human origin, if not a masterpiece of art. The question is how long it could withstand?

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  • 285. At 1:40pm on 16 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To suffolkBoy2 #274:
    Mark, it is obvious that the discussed topic will do a real favor to us, the Bulgarians. I can say that this time we are definitively welcome by the Europeans as a nation which deserves its adhesion at the EU… Because all these people who switched to this blog proved to be definitely on our side. Mark, Grand Merci!
    A little history won’t do harm: In 1978 my country obtained its independence thanks to the priceless Russian help (more than 200000 Russians died for us). The Bulgarians are not ungrateful. They still preserve a sharp feeling of recognition for the Russian people (not for Putin). At that time (1878) the Czechs were subjects of Austria-Hungary. The Czechs were the first ones to welcome us in Europe. The writer Constantine Iretchek paid several visits to Bulgaria and devoted to the new Slavic principality a whole series of articles and news. The painter Markvitchka declared Bulgaria as his second fatherland and left us in heritage all his masterpieces (Markvitchka was in good terms with Shille, Kokoschka and Klimt). In fact, the Czechs of the time envied us a little bit because we were Slavs like them and we had our own state. Therefore, the sincere friendship between Czechs and Bulgarians was a normal thing for more than 80 years. During the Twenties and the Thirties many Bulgarians were educated in Prague, and a good many Czechs (and Slovaks) went in Varna and Bourgas to spend the holidays on our Black Sea beaches. (My mother remembers how the Czechs came, in their elegant Skoda, in Bourgas in 1937 – 1939 and how they learned quickly our language). I overlook on purpose that Czechs and Bulgarians were always allies during the wars and after the wars. It was the choice of their Politics, not of the two Slavic nations. And everything was OK until August 1968 when the Bulgarian army, being an ally of the Soviets, occupied Bratislava and some suburbs in Czechoslovakia. Of course it was a brutal act on our side. It was a humiliating and incomprehensible scene for the Czechs to see their alleged friends, the Bulgarians, armed to the teeth, walking in their country as if they were on their premises… Unfortunately, there were casualties on both sides. It was a war without mercy between two different worlds for the future of Europe….
    In the light of the above, I think that Mr. David Cherny, not deliberately maybe, expressed in a funny, artistic way, the Czech assessment of those horrible events. Because one can easily forgive an artistic blunder like that of the Turkish toilets, but one cannot forget an insult so quickly.
    David Cherny can come to Bulgaria as a friend. Who knows, he will do us the same favor just like Constantine Iretchek did in 1889…
    Sofia, Bulgaria, January 16th , 2009

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  • 286. At 1:51pm on 16 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    to # 285: to read: In 1878 my country obtained independance...

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  • 287. At 2:54pm on 16 Jan 2009, ropedaround wrote:

    bonybbony wrote:
    "The question is how long it could withstand?"

    That's right!... A piece of dried poop on a canvas (with or without a frame) is modern art if placed in a museum - it will stimulate discussion, emotions, etc. Written satire does the same thing, so whether it's art or not it will be for later generations to decide, as bonybbony stated. Michelangelo's David also generated a lot of controversy, but it remained as art through the ages.

    Satire can be very enlightening, if done properly. If an entire country takes offense at the piece of "art" displayed, then satire failed, and most probably, the artist just proved its own ignorance with regard to the collective soul of the respective country. He needs to travel more, talk to more people (not just Czech, by the way), and generally, snap out of his own fixed ideas.

    The question of fraud is interesting. If he was chartered (and agreed to in writing) to bring other artists into the exhibition besides organizing it, he should be prosecuted for not keeping his end of the bargain, give the money back, and extra fees if the contract stipulated any. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or the offensive nature of some of the displays - just contract law. If I'm buying tickets for Beethoven's 5th, and they give me Barry White, I'd ask my money back!

    All on all, the Czech presidency put the foot in the mouth from the start-up, since hiding behind the "art" label isn't enough, with all political correctness that has coated various responses to this. If this is not pursued further, you have the Czech presidency that used their own funds on a hoax that they heavily sponsored. In a way, Mr. Cerny did good for himself as far as fame and name recognition (so important with nowadays artists); on the other hand, I bet that the next EU exhibits will be reviewed and occasionally censored in the future.




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  • 288. At 2:59pm on 16 Jan 2009, avivson wrote:

    Amazing !!! This man made people to speak about EUROPE, to argue, to write, to discuss, to laugh. What a guy !!! He deserves another 350 000 of Euros, or more.

    Art, ha...

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  • 289. At 3:05pm on 16 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I have only one minor objection to the British portrayal. There should have been instead of an empty space, an outstreached hand forking over money. That's the one time they are present and accounted for, when it's time to pay their "dues."

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  • 290. At 3:39pm on 16 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    ropedaround @287 wrote:

    "Cerny did good for himself as far as fame and name recognition (so important with nowadays artists); on the other hand, I bet that the next EU exhibits will be reviewed and occasionally censored in the future"

    Let's hope, then, that this puts an end to all EU sponsored 'art' and/or 'exhibits' and other sub-standard propaganda.

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  • 291. At 4:06pm on 16 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    JBasset - this interesting, but it hints at the underlying argument, but is something most people are afraid to say for obvious reasons. It is important to remember that all forms of discrimination are wrong. Firstly, I am not religious. However, one could say I was brought up as a Christian. Therefore I chose not to believe in that religion. You said that I imply that some kinds of discrimination are not as bad as others. However, before that you wrote that you can hardly compare discriminating against Germans (i.e. the Schwastika motorway part of the thing) with discrimination of the racist or homophobic sort. Now you say that all discrimination is wrong.

    You can't have it both ways mate!

    The reality is we accept and reject different forms of discrimination according to our social and political development.

    As an atheist, and don't think for a minute that I think what happens against religions is right - I believe in tolerance which is sadly lacking from this thing in the European Council - it's intolerance with a smile if you like - but the fact remains is humans can choose, to an extent, their religion and even nationality, but they can't change their ethnicity ie the colour of their skin or sexual orientation for that matter. Just to illustrate how random this is, we discriminate, actually, through the law in all kinds of ways, then change our minds as a society when we change the law yet again.

    You said be careful - I am. I am not using a blanket definition, but looking at each aspect of discrimination case by case, if you like, and I am saying that a crude insult is an insult. I am no fan of any of these countries by the way, but I have noticed that no one likes to be stereotyped and regard it as ignorant and often xenophobic. There are potential conflicts waiting to happen, not necessarily military ones, all over Europe, but the EU is a force for compromise and understanding. The only reason UK is often exempt from that is because it is an island, let's not fool ourselves.

    Europeans, as you will agree, are not just all white anglo-saxons. I don't want to go into cliches, but the EU wants to unite our differences, because its history of war has taught it that this is a good way of stopping simmering hatred.

    i can't remember what I wrote before, who castigated who, I am just looking at the different arguments.

    So going back to the Cerny thing. If you analyze it, it is an extraordinarily simple piece of RUBBISH which has one sole consequence, if one takes a liking to it, which is to stir up prejudice. To borrow a Chomsky allegory (as I remember) What would the Martian make of it arriving on planet Earth for the first time? Humans go to the toilet in a place called Bulgaria, Britain has been exterminated or doesn't exist, French are lazy, Germans are still fastidious Nazis, Italians just play football, etc... This 'artist' has not offered any other way or margin of interpreting it and the reason why everyone focuses on Bulgaria, as one contributor was wondering, is because it is incontrovertibly, undeniably and directly saying Bulgaria is nothing else but a big toilet!

    Assuming you are British or European, take a look at the thing - well done if you can take it in your stride and can take a joke - I can, because as I said it doesn't affect me - but sometimes it is necessary to speak out against something and not be afraid and worry about people saying you can't take a joke or don't understand art.

    Someone mentioned the fact I mentioned Damien Hirst. If I didn't like his work I would say so, regardless of how rich he is.

    I digress, but I don't see how questioning cultural constructs (Hirst) is the same as questioning Bulgaria over toilets or Germany over its motorway network and past which we all know, as well as they do only too well, is humiliating and painful.

    Why hurt people unnecessarily who are weaker or have done nothing to deserve it?

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  • 292. At 4:14pm on 16 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    Ropedaround - why go dissing Barry White now? The man was a genius! Have you any idea what he did for population growth in the US???

    But you are entirely right. However, I suspect that Cerny will find difficulty in finding funding for his superficial eye-candy from the more respected sources of cash, because anyone with an iota of a critical eye for art will see right through his work from now on. It won't be fear stopping support but embarrassment.

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  • 293. At 5:43pm on 16 Jan 2009, politejomsviking wrote:

    Government art! What a horrid concept, the government uses the threat of inprisonment or violence to forcefully take away the fruits of some working mans labor, so it can pick some friend to throw money to,

    We are living in an age that any peasant can stack trash up and call it art. Perhaps, if we encouraged everybody to create something that advanced the human condition instead of appealing to our baser instincts, we would have a more universal definition of art.

    I enjoy this as kitsch, I like it as satire, I love it as a poke in the eye of an ignorant buraeucrat, I admire it as a recovery by working men of money stolen by a government that obviously did not need it, I can even salute it as bathroom level humor.

    I greatly admire Andy Warhol's work, find Michael Kustabi's very appealing and fun. I positively envy the Enger brothers , both Matt and Mark's ability to express themselves and think them possibly America's greatest artists along with Frederick Remington. That said Matt Enger did the the Art for the Henry rifle boxes and although quite wonderful it is obviously not as important as his Lincoln pieces as it is trade work. Remington and the Enger's capture the real America, so I would not expect the rest of the world to understand it.

    I do like the disneyesque quality to the paint, it has a commercial quality to it that fits right in to whole national myths thing.


    Real Art should be made by the artist for his needs, when it becomes a contract piece the peasants have too much imput and it starts to look like a comercial. That said this guy turned that on it's head, obviously the Bozos supremo who did the buying had no ability to censor.

    He should be congratulated.

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  • 294. At 5:58pm on 16 Jan 2009, kiwi2ladner wrote:

    I am Bulgarian and I think its a great artwork. After all we should be able to laugh at ourselves ...

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  • 295. At 6:27pm on 16 Jan 2009, Samantha Martin wrote:

    Wonderful ! Anyone who can get one up on the self-serving, unelected, plutocratic lunchocrats of the EU should be eulogised. As an expat living in Brussels I loathe the ostentatious new palaces they have built for themselves, although any sub-saharan dictator would be proud of them.

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  • 296. At 7:54pm on 16 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    Bulgaria exists at that place with that name for 1328 years (681 a.d.). So, thank you Mr. Cerny that the toilet is at least clean. It could have been far more realistic. Which, of course, again will be considered as art.

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  • 297. At 8:03pm on 16 Jan 2009, Cacadores wrote:

    Re: Humour and Integration

    266. At 07:57am on 16 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    'Trust me, I know a lot about racism and it starts in the most unexpected places with small digs, jokes and stereotypical representations which this undeniably is. ..... Gollywogs for example, were regarded as harmless fun - indeed the uncle Toms of that day had no choice but to laugh along as well. Look at how the Nazis came to power - the same thing. Need I go on?''

    A logo of a black-skinned soft toy helped the Nazis into power? And you'd rather ban it and have only white soft-toy logos? I think you're a little out of your depth on this subject.

    There are many models of integration and forced censorship of comments on differences is not one of them. The US deals with ethnic diversity by strong adherance to the covering flag, the 'dream' myth and open but somewhat false ethnic categorisation ('Irish'-Americans etc).

    The UK dealt with massive (Asian and Carribian) immegration in the 70s to 90s by strictly outlawing discrimination, promoting role models in the professions, suppressing all official ethnic categorisaton and, in the media, allowing ethnic humour. The result is a pretty well integrated country, with black people mixed up with whites in schools and at work and race reduced to a largly irrelavent issue (despite the efforts of the BNP).

    And we're talking people who are identifiable by the colour of their skin here.

    Meanwhile, nearly all European countries continue to lable their own (white) peoples by national ethnicity: ethnic Hungarians living in Romania, for example, have that fact on their state documents: something most Britons would be truely horrified to hear. Let them put their house in order.

    So please don't tell us what works and what doesn't, please. Humour works.......and the British (despite their faults) proved it.

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  • 298. At 8:49pm on 16 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Europe says it believes in freedom of speech...until it hears something it doesn't like. Then it shows its true colors.

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  • 299. At 9:35pm on 16 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    ****297. At 8:03pm on 16 Jan 2009, Cacadores wrote:
    Re: Humour and Integration

    266. At 07:57am on 16 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    'Trust me, I know a lot about racism and it starts in the most unexpected places with small digs, jokes and stereotypical representations which this undeniably is. ..... Gollywogs for example, were regarded as harmless fun - indeed the uncle Toms of that day had no choice but to laugh along as well. Look at how the Nazis came to power - the same thing. Need I go on?''

    A logo of a black-skinned soft toy helped the Nazis into power? And you'd rather ban it and have only white soft-toy logos? I think you're a little out of your depth on this subject.

    There are many models of integration and forced censorship of comments on differences is not one of them. The US deals with ethnic diversity by strong adherance to the covering flag, the 'dream' myth and open but somewhat false ethnic categorisation ('Irish'-Americans etc).

    The UK dealt with massive (Asian and Carribian) immegration in the 70s to 90s by strictly outlawing discrimination, promoting role models in the professions, suppressing all official ethnic categorisaton and, in the media, allowing ethnic humour. The result is a pretty well integrated country, with black people mixed up with whites in schools and at work and race reduced to a largly irrelavent issue (despite the efforts of the BNP).

    And we're talking people who are identifiable by the colour of their skin here.

    Meanwhile, nearly all European countries continue to lable their own (white) peoples by national ethnicity: ethnic Hungarians living in Romania, for example, have that fact on their state documents: something most Britons would be truely horrified to hear. Let them put their house in order.

    So please don't tell us what works and what doesn't, please. Humour works.......and the British (despite their faults) proved it.****


    Actually, you misquote me. The passage about the Gollywog is by kingGeorge 2010 but I do stand by his opinion.

    I can't remember who it was that said this but Nazism started with a few "innocent" jokes in Yiddish. Jokes about allegedly poor Jewish hygiene, apperance and morals were a skilfully wielded weapon by the Nazis...

    So far, the majority of British people writing on here have proved one thing only, namely, sheer ignorance regarding their fellow Europeans.

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  • 300. At 9:42pm on 16 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Interesting that this post is getting even more activity than Robin Lustig's controversial Gaza conflict discussion...

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  • 301. At 10:01pm on 16 Jan 2009, venilc wrote:

    I think it's great the artist came out with this idea. It's a great way to ridicule the whole bureaucratic system and the inane and stereotypical notions of patriotism and national identity nations display. Congratulations David Cerny!

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  • 302. At 11:05pm on 16 Jan 2009, jimdot wrote:

    Well done Mr Cerny you managed to be offensive to a country that is not even in the EU - namely Turkey. It is clear that many of Cerny's share this attitude towards Turkey. I know everyone is bleating on about poor Bulgaria but they should realize that a percent of there population do have ottawan heritage. But as with Spain they refuse to accept this.

    Is is obvious that some countries take the jokes better than others but it rubbish to say as an British Person that you dont find anything offensive in any of the depictions. Because the UK state is larger and more powerful than most in Europe and that cause the British people who replied to this posting to be confident in the non depiction of there state. However I think Cerny missed a trick here, he should have shown the UK minus Wales - just so we could hear the cries from the valley's.
    All in all - very poor production of a good simple idea.

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  • 303. At 11:09pm on 16 Jan 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    300. lordBeddGelert wrote:

    "..more activity (here) than Robin Lustig's controversial Gaza conflict discussion.."

    Robin's blog now at 286 so it is a close run thing! Also I thought Robin Lustig's initial piece was fairly even handed and not essentially controversial - some of the anti and pro views of contributors are not, but that is just the same as here.

    Much of the discussion here is just people airing their long held views and simply using the topic started by Mark as an excuse to repeat their rather boring and repetitive daily 'rant'. Whereas some of the contributions on Robin's blog are seeking a way forward and to understand and explore what can be done in the awful situation.

    Robin's blog deals with life and death - by the way what are the odds on an Israeli nuclear bombing strike on Iran on Inauguration Day or am I too too cynical! (Was that why Tzipi Livni was in Washington today?) People seldom die for art. Over a thousand people have already died for Gaza.

    Being a little bothered about an artwork needs to be put into perspective and you are right to do so.

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  • 304. At 00:06am on 17 Jan 2009, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    I agree with David Cerny that people (and nations) should be able to laugh at themselves, as that is a sign that they have confidence in themselves that others can't easily get rid of (I'm not sure if Cerny meant the second part).

    But I still think the Bulgaria as a toilet part was pretty rude. It isn't surprising that Bulgaria seems to be the one most offended. Not only is it depicted as a toilet, but it is the poorest EU state, and hence the one most prone to suffer from national low self-esteem.

    Interestingly, Central Europeans seem to be made of pretty tough stuff (including the Czechs). I remember Poland responding to the idea Polish plumbers flooding Western Europe upon accession to the EU with the 'hot' Polish plumber ad. When life gives you lemons (or your neighbors hurl insults at you) make lemonade.

    On the flip side, France seems pretty sensitive about American anti-French insults, even though the insults are usually in retaliation for anti-American insults and France is wealthy and developed, and has a rich and powerful history.

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  • 305. At 02:01am on 17 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    The installation, or rather the sculpture (isn't Cerny known as a sculptor, first of all?)
    speaks about him, not about "Europe".
    You see the thing is a kind of a bas-relief, with parts protruding from the "wall" etc.
    I am intrigued still (Loch_Nessy mentioned it, i think) with "Entropa" title. Did he think about the second law of thermodynamics, or just called it so out of hand?
    Those complex ununderstandable laws I mean, where is always mentioned an "isolated system". And tricky processes that take place in it.

    Does he view the EU as an "isolated system" - it isn't. Is it? with so much in-flux, LOL

    or the EU constituencies as "isolated systems". must be this.

    I looked up in wiki thermodynamic laws, didn't understand anything. How to relate this to the "a EU of isolated systems".

    What's the forecast for the processes to take place in it? How will it end up, I mean, like what?

    The 2nd law is an expression of the fact that over time (to ignore the effect of self-gravity) differences in temperature, pressure and density tend to even out in a physical system that is isolated from the outside world.
    Entropy is a measure of how far along this evening-out process has progressed.


    So far so good. Excepting the effect of self -gravy-ty ;o) all those differences "in density", "temperature supplied by our Gazprom" etc. - will even out.
    Provided that Europe is viewed as a separate own system and is isolated from the outside world.

    So, if not very well isolated - don't even hope! it follows. there will always be "differences", inside it.

    OK, then there will always be differences btw the constituent parts of the EU, unless it's made EUSSR behind an iron curtain. There won't be no homogineous "homo Europicus". Acc. to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Unless somebody cancelled it?

    Next,

    As long as we don't rigorously define the entropy in terms of the microscopic degrees of freedom in the system,...

    No, this piece I'd skip as too pathetic.
    "microscopic degrees of freedom", what do they mean! those scientists. Too scientific, we won't think this over.

    Spontaneous, unexpected changes tend to average out differences in temperature, pressure, density and chemical potential that may exist in the system. Entropy is thus a measure of how great the unexpected changes will be.

    This makes sense. It is a warning. That in that isolated kind of system you may wake up one morning and understand you are a ?say , a Czech. Someone like David Cerny. Yesterday you were your old self, a good Spanish cabbaliero or whataever - and today you take a bucket of pink paint and go colour a Soviet tank! The change would occur spontaneously and average out the diff in the French and German chemical composition.

    Heat generally cannot flow from a material at lower temperature to a material at higher temperature (this is irrelevant in our case. it simply means it is strange that Russia at -20 is expected to deliver energy to Italy having +10. Will write to Barroso he has to cool down first and then expect gas).
    Heat is a type of energy in transit Same.

    Energy of all types changes from being localised to becoming dispersed or spread out, if it is not hindered from doing so
    Golden words! "hindered", exactly.

    In a system, a process that occurs will tend to increase the total entropy of the universe

    This is also a warning. Entropy being chaotic movement of molecules, as all of them start dashing around like blind moth-s, basically, Entropy equals Chaos... must be an advice to keep in mind how one influences the Universe?

    Clean forgot about the Universe! Will go think about the universe a bit. ;o)

    For the beg. - it has no end.

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  • 306. At 02:38am on 17 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Back to simple. I think my first idea was simple. David Cerny's production speaks volumes about him, not about Europe. Don't all artistic types work to express themselves?
    _____

    Piglet comes to see Winnie-the-Pooh, "Winnie! Winnie! I've got a portrait of myself done!" (shows to him a large paining in a frame).
    - No? Let me see... Wow! ... sure it is you? a bit weird.... this must be a side view of you? those strange partitions drawn.. all marked... numbered...?
    - Well. To be honest, this was painted by a butcher. He is an artist now, says - that's how he sees me!


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  • 307. At 03:18am on 17 Jan 2009, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    Here's one link, with two PDF links to the Entropa artwork (I'd consider it to be art), in case one has not been provided yet.

    I've only got(ten) to the UK part on the first PDF (I guess it's what is being referred to as the 'brochure' here on the blog). I'll admit that a lot of it is funny, even if at the same time some is a bit mean.

    For the ideas about Germany with a swastika, and Denmark depicting Mohammed, they don't look that much like either to me. However, reading the brochure does seem to be that Cerny is hinting that Denmark should be looked at in a Neo-Impressionist way, in which case it might be depicting Mohammed (I still don't see it). Germany's description mentions movement and cycling. If a swastika is supposed to depict something cyclical, then maybe Cerny did intend the motorways to look like that (I can see the swastika easier than the Mohammed).

    Is Poland supposed to be trying to copy the United States because the fake Polish artist chose to emulate the Iwo Jima photograph (a staged one about liberation)? And is Sweden supposed to be absorbed with the United States, too, since so many of the fake exhibitions of the fake artist are in the United States (compared with the other artists).

    All of the British exhibitions are located in the UK, further suggesting the insulated nature of Britons (by American standards, British people aren't that isolated), and point to a hostile attitude (I wonder if the name, Khalid Asadi, is suggestive of something), such as Us v's Them and DO NOT REMOVE (sovereignty or EU membership?).

    I don't get the Slovakia one - or the one with mountains (Latvia? one of the Baltic states) and I was hoping that one would provide insight. Slovakia and the Czech Republic were once Czechoslovakia, after all. Their stereotype would probably have been more informed.

    The brochure's description for Bulgaria says that it's supposed to be offensive.

    And is Portugal more focused on colonialism and post-colonialism than France, the UK, Spain, etc.?

    The guy seems to have put a lot of effort into the project, and a lot of it is humorous.

    As for the idea that some getting offended by the stereotypes is proof that the EU can't unify: if something similar to this happened in the United States, the reaction would be much the same; the wealthier states would probably not get criticized as harshly even though they're more prepared to handle the insults, while Appalachian states (the American Bulgaria, I guess) would likely get a load of offense although they're the most beaten down.

    It goes for individuals, too. If you're on the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, you'd probably be more prone to being insulted; if you think highly of yourself, you could probably take plenty of insults and they'd bounce right off.

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  • 308. At 03:28am on 17 Jan 2009, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    The previous link doesn't link to the actual art exhibit. Contrary to what MaxSceptic's #125, finding pictures of the whole thing is not easy.

    This is the best I've gotten so far, from Wikipedia: here. It has the entire piece; it's just that the countries are so tiny it's pretty useless.

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  • 309. At 05:23am on 17 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Here's some European art? from Belgium that might have gotten overlooked;

    Cloaca, a working model of the human digestive tract that is fed food every day and processes it as a human would with the expected result.

    http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/reviews/fiers/fiers1-9-01.asp

    And here it is in action;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdlLBWymnUA

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  • 310. At 06:09am on 17 Jan 2009, politejomsviking wrote:

    MarcusArellius II,

    this is the purpose of large federal (or as we say in the US, Feral Government)governments to fund things so ridiculous on their surface that no local official would ever dare to ask for money for them. Ever since people stopped tarring and Feathering politicians in this country, we have been on a steady downward sloap. Were is a drunken mob when you need it.

    Civic pride and social responsibilty almost demands a law that the politicians be forced to wear clown suites and walk backwards to prevent children from going down this anti-social wayward path.

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  • 311. At 06:44am on 17 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Mr.Mark Mardell of BBC
    Mark, it is obvious that the discussed topic over the “Turkish toilet” is going to do us, the Bulgarian people, a real favor. I mean that maybe this time we are definitively welcome by the Europeans as a nation which deserves its membership to the EU… Because all these people who have switched so far to this blog proved to be definitely on our side. Mark, Grand Merci!
    A little course of history won’t do harm: In 1878 my country obtained its independence thanks to the priceless Russian help (more than 200000 Russians died for us). The Bulgarians are grateful folk. Many people of my generation (I’m 60) still preserve a sharp feeling of recognition for the Russian people (not necessarily for Vladimir Putin). At that time (1878), the Czechs were subjects of Austria-Hungary and they were the first ones to welcome us to Europe. The notorious writer Constantine Iretchek paid several visits to Bulgaria and devoted to the new Slavic principality a whole series of articles and novels. The artist Markvitchka declared Bulgaria as his second fatherland and left us a precious heritage of all his masterpieces (Markvitchka was in very good terms with Schille, Kokoschka and Klimt). In fact, in the old days, the Czechs did envy us a little bit because we were Slavs like them and we had our own state. Therefore, the sincere friendship between Czechs and Bulgarians was a normal thing for more than 80 years. During the Twenties and the Thirties many Bulgarians were graduated from Prague high schools and a good many Czechs (and Slovaks) went to Varna and to Bourgas to enjoy their holiday on our Black Sea beaches. (My mother recalls of the Czechs who would come in the late thirties, in their elegant Skoda, and who learned quickly our language). I overlook on purpose the fact that Czechs and Bulgarians were always allies during the wars and after the wars for it was the choice of their rulers, not of the two Slavic nations. And everything went O.K. until August 1968 when the Bulgarian army, being an ally of the Soviets, occupied Bratislava and some suburbs in Czechoslovakia. Of course it was a brutal act on our side. It was a humiliating and incomprehensible event for the Czechs to see their alleged friends, the Bulgarians, armed to the teeth, marching like SS in their countryside as if they were on their own premises… Unfortunately, there were casualties on both sides. It was a war without mercy between two different worlds for the future of Europe….
    In the light of the above, I think that Mr. David Cherny, not deliberately maybe, expressed in a funny, artistic way, the Czech assessment of those horrible events. Because one can easily forgive an artistic joke like that of the Turkish toilet, but one cannot forget so quickly an insult like that of 1968…. Alas, it can take the time of two generations.
    David Cherny can already come to Bulgaria as a friend. Who knows, he will do us the same favor just like Constantine Iretchek did in 1889…
    Sofia, Bulgaria, January 17th , 2009

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  • 312. At 07:57am on 17 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    The Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Bulgaria, Martin Klepetko, received a toilet as a gift during the official presentation of the Czech Presidency of the EU in the Sheraton Hotel in Sofia on Friday.

    The toilet was presented to His Excellency by the Discussion Club for Social and Local Policy.

    The present alluded to the depiction of Bulgaria as a toilet in the Entropa Exhibition in Brussels, which has sparked an outrage and a great deal of debate in the Bulgarian media and society.

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  • 313. At 12:37pm on 17 Jan 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Dear Vazlav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic,

    I read somewhere that the Lisbon Treaty would be rejected byt Czech voters if there were to be a referendum on it.

    I suggest that you should insist on a referendum on it before letting the Lisbon Treaty pass.

    I regret that the British did not support the Czechs more against the Third Reich and against the USSR.

    We must all now resist the latest megalomaniac monstrosity - the "EU".

    SB2, part Czech.

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  • 314. At 12:44pm on 17 Jan 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #313 SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "We must all now resist the latest megalomaniac monstrosity - the "EU"."

    Are you unable to comprehend that by leaving the corridors of power, and intrigue, of the 'EU' you will remain subject to its actions, but without any means of ensuring that you have any say at in their decisions?

    This is absolute logical contradiction at the very heart of your position.

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  • 315. At 12:57pm on 17 Jan 2009, Martin wrote:

    "There is no such thing as art, there are only artists".
    Thus spake the great Ernst Gombrich, the author/editor of the seminal book on art, "The Story of Art". This work in Brussels would appear to fall into that category. Imagine Marcel Duchamp being commissioned today to provide a work to commemorate the French presidency of the EU!! I suspect he would just produce his famous urinal and merely add a few Euro banknotes disappearing down it! What more need be said?

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  • 316. At 1:22pm on 17 Jan 2009, bbony wrote:

    @ropedaround (287)

    Your's saying that "a piece ... is modern art if placed in a museum" is striking. Not a few believe that the art better fits in its original place, canvases in churches, marbles on acropolises, etc. I could not enjoy more seeing Tizian's Assumption on its place, in the ambient of Venice's St Rocco. Italy is abundant of such in-situ arts. But modern architecture is the only proper frame for modern art.

    So called controversy with Michelangelo's David was in fact a bad taste of a cardinal, who had a request of implementing his vanity by modifying the sculpture. The way artist satisfied his demand has still been famous.

    It is hard to imagine any sort of censorship being in action during Renaissance, certainly not in Florence, during Medici period. The real controversy was about to come later, with the naked bodies painted in the centre of the most catolic city, covered with the strips of colors, nearly destroyed, to have been revealed again only in our time. Even the masterpieces were not immune from the censorship, and many of them have surely been lost.

    History of art is full of Chernies and cardinals with the scissors in their hands.

    I don't think the satire of Mr Cherny addresses any particular nation. If anybody should be offended, it is the bureucracy so discerningly revealed. It is more about the purpose, position of each country in a bureucratic structure. The real kitsch is behind the door, in the form of a huge and stiff parlament resembling perhaps the central committee of some former communist mega-states. No wonder Czechs are being sensitive. That piece of art in the front at least dilutes a little this hard structure of the inside, making it more fluid and acceptable to the people.

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  • 317. At 1:41pm on 17 Jan 2009, no monkeying about please wrote:



    w H a T


    i S


    a R t

    ?

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  • 318. At 2:28pm on 17 Jan 2009, kingGeorge2010 wrote:

    re 299 and 297 and more

    Thanks Daring-one for pointing out another example of severe naivity of the worst kind by Casadores - you quoted me! Why is everyone one doing that to me!?? Well, just to repay the favour -

    'A logo of a black-skinned soft toy helped the Nazis into power? And you'd rather ban it and have only white soft-toy logos? I think you're a little out of your depth on this subject.'

    Just to clarify before JBasset gets back on here to catch me out - With all due respect Casadores, I am right on the ball with this one. Golliwogs were inspired by black minstrels - you know, the slave-owners who blacked up their faces and impersonated their slaves? Well, I would be hard pushed to find an Afro-caribbean or American, whose descendants were slaves, that wouldn't be offended by this. Generally speaking, if someone says they are offended, they usually are, unless clinically insane. One could argue that Afro-caribbeans have been offended in that most of their descendants were were raped or forcefully separated from their parents and sent to work on a plantation without pay. One could also argue that the consistent under-performance of Afro-caribbean boys at school and later their unbelievably high numbers in prison and mental hospitals is a result of this anger and lack of reddress to this terrible part of our history by European colonial powers.

    The most alarming part of what you say is this -
    'The UK dealt with massive (Asian and Carribian) immegration in the 70s to 90s by strictly outlawing discrimination, promoting role models in the professions, suppressing all official ethnic categorisaton and, in the media, allowing ethnic humour. The result is a pretty well integrated country, with black people mixed up with whites in schools and at work and race reduced to a largly irrelavent issue (despite the efforts of the BNP).'

    We shouldn't flatter ourselves too much. Yes, we are ahead of Europe in our understanding of immigration, but we conveniently forget documented pieces of evidence of disappearances of ethnic minorities when in police custody during this period, signs in shops or hotels saying 'no blacks allowed', discrimination at work - it was a racist society. Only last week I think there was an investigation done into work agencies discriminating against non-white employes and most of them were prejudice - it is searchable on the bbc I believe. This is not to mention the constant news reports about low minority numbers in the police, judiciary, teaching... need I go on? We are great at highlighting the flaws of other countries (eg racism towards the Roma is a good example), but it is always much more difficult to look at oneself. Casadores - purely speculation, but perhaps you are not British but you are impressed by our 'living togetherness'? So am I at times, but how do you think British citizens from Leeds and north England came to bomb other British people through terrorism? One can't just shrug it off by saying, oh, it was terrorism and they were invited foreigners - they were born here. If you like Britain so much, as we all do, do some research and look at it objectively. When you say I am out of my depth, do you mean I should be quiet and not complain? This argument might work in other parts of Europe where there have been more brutality in the past, but it doesn't wash here I'm afraid.

    I am not worried about rocking the boat because debate and tolerance is the British way and that's how we move forward - that, although you might not be aware, is why our society is freer in terms of prejudice (we have more minority politicians than anywhere else in Europe), and that is why we welcome other Europeans, even if they don't get their facts straight regarding our social history.

    More to the point, there is a connection between 'harmless fun' and tangible racism. It is good that the Jewish community, since the WW2, do their best not to stand for such propaganda or suggestions for a minute. You could argue that the black community in Britain should have pushed Blair further when he said he 'regretted' slavery. Sometimes I honestly don't know if it is better to laugh things off or to speak up against things. It depends on how much power or confidence you have - look at all the forgiving Bulgarians on this page. In this case, it is better to highlight the worst aspects of this thing in the E Council because we can.

    Perhaps you should listen to Daringone when he says jokes in Yiddish led to persecution of Jewish people.

    Tolerance is different from satir. I think humor can actually act as a barrier to understanding what is going on - again, Cerny's expression exemplifies this in that he doesn't know what he is talking about. I am for freedom of speech and admire English wit and our ability to turn the other cheek. Czech people have an element of that too, if you read Soldier Svejk for example it is all there. Now, there are a lot of people unsure about how to react and looking around to see if anyone else is laughing to what seems to be out-right offensive. In fact it is and is not in the Szejk tradition at all because Svejk was reacting to oppression.

    Unfortunately Cerny has gone way off-message with this and has exposed his own ignorance, because the best satire - Monty Python, Eddie Murphy (in the early 80s mind), Ricky Gervais, seeing as we are all name dropping anyway here - the best satire points at the everyday ridiculousness of our lives and is accurate. None of this is in this work and that is why it simply is not funny in the least.

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  • 319. At 2:48pm on 17 Jan 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    is this the thread with most comments, Mark?

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  • 320. At 2:51pm on 17 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    More comment from the excellent Marina Hyde.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/17/david-cerny-entropa

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  • 321. At 3:46pm on 17 Jan 2009, politejomsviking wrote:

    I think the most noticeable thing about this display is the way that it essentually targets the powerless. Bulgaria is portrayed as a toilet, but France is just "on strike" something that they are no doubt proud of. Italy just soccer. Germany condemmed for great roads and her ability to terrorie the world in the past. Certainly Bulgaria's swipe was a lot worse than the others that were kind self-promoting.

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  • 322. At 5:08pm on 17 Jan 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    politejomsviking @321

    According to those able to observe the kinetic and sound effects that accompany Entropa, the Italian footballers are indulging in self-abuse - engaging amorously with their footballs to the sound of an applauding crowd.

    I guess that's better than rolling around on the ground pretending to be injured....

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  • 323. At 6:16pm on 17 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    May be I had other ideas of Czech Republic before, but since we watched on Rus. TV the ad of their beer a 100 times a day for a year, I have only one idea -
    "Velkopopovitsky Kozel" (a goat. from Great Monks smth city.)

    Given that the word goat is quite an offensive term in Russia (no idea why. simply "a goat" seems a stupid animal to Russians) - could never figure out how did anyone plan this ad to work.

    Anyway, before an angry Russian would replace "a fool" with "kozel"; now it is longer - "You're a total Velkopopovitsky Kozel!" ;o)

    The ad goes "we, monks, traditionally check the strength of our beer by pouring it onto a bench and sitting down in leather pants.
    If the bench gets glued onto the pants and you stand up and walk with the bench behind - the beer is good. Footage to illustrate a happy drunken crowd of monks with benches stuck behind.

    The end result is most Russians now think that all the Czech folks do is walk around with benches glued onto their pants.

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  • 324. At 9:10pm on 17 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Dear David Cerny. No apology needed old chap. That the Czech artist has the decency to leave-out the UK entirely from the catastrophe of the EU is something to be celebrated. His comedic artistic-structural observations on the rest of the misbegotten new soviet is so starkly appropriate to the true feelings of the huge majority of enslaved Citizens it must chill the marrow of every MEP.

    Were these not such straightened times I would suggest UK purchases it immediately. It is an ideal structure for the 4th plinth in Parliament Square: Only stipulation, we can rename it.. MonEUment to FEUlly.

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  • 325. At 9:34pm on 17 Jan 2009, virtualtest12 wrote:

    Although it is constantly mentioned that Entropa portrays stereotypes, considering the actual messages encoded in this artwork one has to recognise it is rather devoted to nations’ traumas:
    -Denmark as a picture of Mohammed created out of Lego
    -Austria obsessed with protests against nuclear energy with cooling towers on a meadow (while importing electricity indirectly from the nuclear power plant Temelin)
    -Slovakia presented as Hungarian salami referring to increasing tension between these two countries
    -Netherlands insecure about Muslim community
    -Poland with its parliament assessing whether Teletubbies are gay
    -Sweden as an Ikea box with a small piece of Saab Gripen aircraft referring to bribery scandal
    -Italy as a football match between the north and the south
    -Luxembourg with Russian phone number on a “for sale” sign
    -Germany is quite self-explanatory

    Therefore, it is underestimation of the artist to focus on toilets. The issues presented are more than worth of contemplation. Finally, the argument about wasting EU money is completely rubbish – it was paid for mostly by Czech billionaire and partially by Czech government. Bravo Cerny!

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  • 326. At 10:15pm on 17 Jan 2009, zmeevolibe wrote:

    304. At 00:06am on 17 Jan 2009, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    "I agree with David Cerny that people (and nations) should be able to laugh at themselves, as that is a sign that they have confidence in themselves that others can't easily get rid of (I'm not sure if Cerny meant the second part).

    But I still think the Bulgaria as a toilet part was pretty rude. It isn't surprising that Bulgaria seems to be the one most offended. Not only is it depicted as a toilet, but it is the poorest EU state, and hence the one most prone to suffer from national low self-esteem."

    It is widely agreed in Bulgaria that as a nation we have a low self-esteem. And it is not as simple as "the poorest in EU". It also has to do with several lost wars and two national catastrophies - and that only in the 20th century. We are also overtly sensitive about our image abroad - aware that when the western media writes about us it is either bad or nothing. At least for the British newspapers I can vouch this rule applies. We seem to belong to a select group of countries - with Romania, Serbia, to some extent Russia- where, whatever happens, is given a negative slant. And I don't talk even the usual suspects like Daily M***, but the esteemed liberal paper where Martina Hyde writes. My theory is that we are just about the only places that for the journalists are still fair game. Any country closer by and the negative light reflects back. Any country on a different continent and it is racist, not to mention the colonial guilt. Interestingly, the attitude does not stretch to say Croatia or Poland.

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  • 327. At 10:51pm on 17 Jan 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #326 - zmeevolibe

    I stress that I do not have too much local knowledge and this may be entirely unfair, but there is a perception that Bulgaria is still a country that is rife with corruption. It was endemic in the communist years, not just in Bulgaria but throughout eastern Europe but the sense is that, while the central European states and the Baltic Republics have addressed the problem, Bulgaria and Romania have a way to go. Fair or not, it takes a while for these reputations to go and you will have be reassuring and a little patient.

    Quite what this has to do with Turkish toilets and Czech art, I am not sure but I think most right minded Europeans wish you nothing but goodwill.

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  • 328. At 11:44pm on 17 Jan 2009, zmeevolibe wrote:

    #327 threnodio
    Just trying to explain the Bulgarian reaction on this occasion. And when talking about media attitude I didn't mean only serious political stuff like corruption etc. That is fine, and probably correct. It is the negative stereotyping about women with moustaches, spies with umbrellas, children in orphanages, old Russian cars on the potholed roads etc. And there is nothing else at all worth writing about in that part of the world.
    What we need is a good PR, not yet another squat toilet.
    When writing about chalenging stereotypes, Cerny got it right, but I am afraid it is more of a confirmation of stereotypes.

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  • 329. At 01:21am on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Bulgaria! 4 o'clock in the morn. Moscow time. The gas deal is done!

    Cheer up. What inferiority complex?! forget about it. three ha ha.

    Deal done - transit will be restored.
    Transit restored - Gazprom survives as a company.
    Company afloat - they'll build up the South Stream, to you.

    Having 1/2 of Russian gas arriving to Bulgaria - ho ho.
    Start developing superiority complex, high time to start to be ready!

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  • 330. At 01:46am on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    threnodio, what is it, ab "corruption in Bulgaria" ?! LOL.

    I am even offended for our, Russian, corruption! I understand we've got one great, Georgia does, Ukraine - but - Bulgaria?!

    They are yours, EU, what corruption in the EU?

    Besides, may I remind you, Russia thinks there are only two honest places in the whole of Europe. That can be trusted with money. With Russian key, gas, revenue.
    We plan to trust our future well-being into 2 safe hands - German hands and Bulgarian hands.
    For a sec.



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  • 331. At 02:16am on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Peace in the world? Epiphany night. Will go swim in the ice-cut in the river tomorr. ;o)
    The original baptising standard way of celebration. People say you don't get a pneumonia if you dip yourself for a sec into the river on Epiphany. Dozens of thousands of Russians will tomorrow.
    Hasn't tried, LOL.

    Gaza cease-fire.

    and the Gas war cease-fire.

    a blessing?



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  • 332. At 03:21am on 18 Jan 2009, BakerStreetIrregular wrote:

    I do think that this is art. This having been said, I also think that Mr. Cerny has a huge responsibility as an artist who was commissioned to do a piece of work that would stir a lot of interest. This is about stereotypes and some are more "harmless" than others. For example, there is something romantic and funny in the French being "always on strike". However, there is nothing good about being associated with a low quality toilet. I can understand that some people have stereotypes of the French as "strikers", but I don't really believe that when you say "Bulgaria", people think of toilets. I don't know what made the artist choose toilets, especially since that type of toilet is quite common in other, Western countries, like France, for example. If he had chosen corruption, then Bulgarians wouldn't have much grounds to protest, but I believe that with these toilets, they do.
    There is also something irritating in how many of the former Communist countries that are today doing better than some other former Communist countries try to show their superiority at every step. Just 15 years ago they were all in the same boat and now it's about differentiation. The Czechs are especially arrogant in this respect, I find. It just shows that they still have complexes that they haven't cured, which is particularly manifest in their hatred towards the Russians. That doesn't really support their claim that they are so democratic and tolerant today.

    P.S. I am neither Bulgarian nor Czech, but know quite a number of people from both countries.

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  • 333. At 04:25am on 18 Jan 2009, i_amchilipalmer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 334. At 11:19am on 18 Jan 2009, Plamen_Nikolov wrote:

    Hello!

    I am a Bulgarian and kind of find it a bit funny.
    I am surprised that people from other countries associate us with the turkish toilet. I would rather think corruption could have been better choice and we- bulgarians were going to accept that better. I think those arts were not equally done to all countries. How about the minarets- ain't that offensive? I associate Netherland more getting stoned not with the mosques. Is it not the same in UK? Would you laugh on this being done with Uk?
    Brittan missing from Europe is funny though.

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  • 335. At 11:33am on 18 Jan 2009, bbony wrote:

    @ whitelady (317)

    Is your's saying an art? Ask the art critics!? Are they doing their job? Why we don't believe in the art critics? Is it really the people don't know any more what is art?

    In the case of Mr Cerny's work, the method could be as simple as watching Chaplin's "The Great Dictator", or listening modern electronic music. A piece of art simply helps us to withstand the notorius automation of our time. No art critics could prevent me to enjoy what I feel is art, including the mentioned parody of priorities of our modern bureucrats.

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  • 336. At 1:21pm on 18 Jan 2009, BakerStreetIrregular wrote:

    I think this goes further than being simply art that plays around with existing stereotypes. Namely, in the case of Bulgaria, it is more an instance of creation, rather than "mimesis". There are many Europeans who have absolutely no opinion or prejudice about Bulgaria because they know nothing about it. Therefore, rather than playing around with a stereotype that was already there, perhaps Mr. Cerny just CREATED a stereotype about Bulgaria. Think about it.

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  • 337. At 2:11pm on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    BakerStreetIrregular, the problem with this is it is big. "Small children - small problems; big children - big problems."

    If it were a normal studio size, with rare occasional visitors, taking the trouble to walk up the narrow stairs...

    Aren't artists supposed to sit hungry in some upper attics?! stacking their easels at corners, with a lonely stale brioche for breakfast, lunch and dinner... Surely many now wish David C. would go exactly to such a place! Where the light from the window - is good!

    And this megalomania; this down to the ground monetary approach - this is what? ugh
    This way he won't become Picasso or anything, someone ought to warn him! like, how about working for eternity?

    Hermitage would never buy such a thing!
    And none of the Russian oligarchs would.

    Both kinds of buyers (though acting from different reasons, LOL) would still arrive to the same conclusion. That is (good for eternity OR good as a money deposit - in the oligarchs' case) the key thing that characterises GREAT things is - humanity.
    Is it human. Appealing to the best in humanity.

    I don't know about other countries, here we had a similar kind of "disturbing" art purchase occasion. When nobody in the world was yet interested in the Impressionists, 2 Rus. merchants - Shukin and Morozov were buying them like mad.

    Which eventually resulted in Pushkin museum of Fine Arts in Moscow being full of them, and the whole 3rd floor in the Hermitage. Merchants' collections were grabatised by the state after revolution and split 50/50 btw the 2 museums, half went to Moscow and half to St. Pete.

    The Rus. merchants, when buying impressionists, were scared to tell anyone they do. hilarious "blue" periods and ugly "cubistic" peasant women and overall hell knows what. Of course there were pleasant to the eye pieces as well, vraious "ponds" and "lilac bushes", "gardens" or "harbours" of pointelists or whatever; still most of the paintings were clearly violating peace of mind and all decency parameters possible.

    However their business feeling led them to the conclusion it is a good buy. Impossible to show to friends and acquaintance and boast about - but - a good investment. Why is so? Because even ugly - they appealed to the best in people. You felt pity for various "absent" drinkers, ugly naked prostitutes, was getting kind of sorrowful and thoughtful in the result.






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  • 338. At 2:25pm on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And other offended countries - ha! they simply hide behind the Bulgarian toilet! happy someone took the fire onto itself, and chicken-ing out to speak their mind!
    Sit hush-hush kind of down; whereas I am sure the Italian bit is - ho-ho! many Italians would gladly choke Cerny if he gets into their hands.
    The Dutch as well; but they are more self-turned, like, intraverts, their unhappiness will be ripening in them slowly, but will show itself, at some stage.

    To Belorussia, towards which the peeing boys of Lithuania are addressing - I simply don't recommend Cerny to go ever!
    Better even - not to approach the borderline at a shot distance!
    Lukashenko the Belarus president does not understand any jokes; especially such ones.

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  • 339. At 2:35pm on 18 Jan 2009, kosmosgirl wrote:

    As a Bulgarian I feel deeply disappointed and insulted, by the fact that my tax money are spent in such a vulgar way. I am also very sad to see that negative image is being created withouht any reason. I believe this arrogant behaviour is anti-European and anti-Bulgarian. One would have thought that for the 4 years of EU life, the Czech government would have learnt a few lessons in multi-cutltural communication, tolerance and thinking "out of the box".
    Luckily for Bulgaria, the country is rich with very gifted and successful young people, just as Berbatov, who consider themselves lucky and proud to be Bulgarians.

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  • 340. At 2:38pm on 18 Jan 2009, kosmosgirl wrote:

    As a Bulgarian I feel deeply disappointed and insulted, by the fact that my tax money are spent in such a vulgar way. I am also very sad to see that negative image is being created without any reason. I believe this arrogant behaviour is anti-European and anti-Bulgarian. One would have thought that for the 4 years of EU life, the Czech government would have learnt a few lessons in multi-cutltural communication, tolerance and thinking "out of the box".
    Luckily for Bulgaria, the country is rich with very gifted and successful young people, just as Berbatov, who consider themselves lucky and proud to be Bulgarians.

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  • 341. At 4:36pm on 18 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    to Alice #331, on the occasion of St.Epiphany celebration: I had a godfather from Krasnoe Selo. His name was Cyrilles Bogoyavlensky. He died in 1993 at the age of 87… He was in very good command of six languages…
    You may go tomorrow down to the Neva and dive for a minute… And be aware not to hit and awake the “Avrora” ‘cause she may start again shelling on the Zimniy dvoretz. We know the rest of the horrible story… (Putin is from St.Petersbourg and know how reshape it either).

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  • 342. At 5:51pm on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Vladimir, yes, I mixed it up. Today all carry stocks of holy water from churches, in bottles and containers of all sizes. Mum went but returned back, too long lines.
    And tomorrow - we are supposed to dive into the rivers!

    The Aurora cruiser old liner still there :o) anchored, a museum belonging to the Navy cadet school on the embankment. The boys are supposed to climb around the ship and feel heroic. They stand there "on sentry" on the decks and overall have fun with it.

    Before she fired a blank shot at Hermitage to command the start of the revolution, she was fighting in the Japanese war, and other navy battles, so the ship is now politically correct again, in spite of her revolutionary backgrounds. The museum on board tells a bit of this a bit of that, but mostly about the conditions of living for the sailors, those hanging hammock beds and all.

    So Aurora is doing allright.

    Where did you happen to get a godfather from Krasnoye Selo, it is now inside the city, was a village but now inside St. Petersburg. A real god-father, like, he was in the church when you were baptised, or he agreed to be one when you grew up a bit?

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  • 343. At 6:46pm on 18 Jan 2009, tediouslybrief wrote:

    white_lady #317 asks 'what is art?'

    there are several feasible answers - some better than others.

    but a piece which gets people thinking, and - even better - talking, will nearly always fit the bill.

    czerny has done this with 'entropa' - as indeed he has done with dozens of other works over the last twenty years or so.

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  • 344. At 6:56pm on 18 Jan 2009, pato10 wrote:

    BakerStreetIrregular, your comments at 332 and 336 are 100 % spot on!
    That's been my complaint about Cerny's installation as well. Most people have no opinion of Bulgaria since it's a small country. We have had lots of bad press recently, some of it richly deserved, of course, some of it quite random. This is an example of the latter.
    If Cerny had done something about corruption, Bulgarians would have applauded him and laughed. We know best our weaknesses as a nation and are incensed and amused by them in equal measures. The toilets he chose are just insulting.
    Your comments about the Eastern Europeans from countries which are more successful economically, looking down on their poorer neighbours are also unfortunately quite true. This national trait is nothing new, though. I spent my early childhood in the Czech republic and in later years saw a lot of my parents' Czech friends. There is a certain arrogance that the Czechs share with the Germans which allows them to point out exactly how badly other people do this or that, and how much better it would have been done in the Czech republic. Despite this, I find Czechs generally very likeable.
    On that last note, I suspect that everything that could be said about this topic has been said already. I appeal to other angry Bulgarians to cool off. The artist had his joke. We objected. The Czech government and Cerny have both appologised. In the grand scheme of things, this little dig at our country is insignificant and, I suspect, not done with malice. Wining on and on about it is getting boring. Let us all move on.

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  • 345. At 7:39pm on 18 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    Alice, it’s not at all compulsory to be a seven days’ baby in order to get baptized by the priest of the wall. However, I appreciate your efforts to present the saga of the cruiser `Aurora' for that of the cruiser `Variag', though I presume that it’s a very, very difficult thing to do…
    The topic has nothing to do with that of the Turkish toilet...

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  • 346. At 8:00pm on 18 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    As if any topics here else have much to do with what Mark Mardell starts about!
    (I am one of the worst ones in this respect, deviating to the sides).
    I took it a rule to not post in the every beg. of any thread., to let normal people discuss what it is suggested to be discussed. And only when something is about to expire (not much to lose :o) I feel I have a moral right to join up. LOL.

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  • 347. At 00:20am on 19 Jan 2009, SyDyMo wrote:

    As a Bulgarian I feel a bit bewildered by the "Turkish toilet" that is meant to be Bulgaria simply because I don't understand what it refers to. Granted, I do not live there now and I'm not sure of the current political or living arrangements but the last time I was there everyone had a toilet with a seat on it. The more I contemplated it, the more I think"No publicity,is bad publicity".
    Is it art? I believe so. It's sensationalism and it made a household name of the artist thus ensuring that his other work's price will go up tremendously.

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  • 348. At 00:34am on 19 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I wonder how he would have portrayed Russia. A big bear's paw on a gas shut-off valve?

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  • 349. At 01:12am on 19 Jan 2009, the-real-truth wrote:

    Mark

    I understand that a number of countries in the EU are ablaze with riots following the 'global downturn'.

    Also that a number of EU states (including some EU members) are verging on bankrupcy.

    Does the BBC have anything to say about this - or is this "quirky bit of art" the limit of your journalistic ambition?

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  • 350. At 01:14am on 19 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    He would. But not before the transit is restored.

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  • 351. At 01:55am on 19 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    my 350 referred to 348.

    another thought, if David C., say, slips on a banana skin in the street one of these days... who will be the suspect?

    _______

    On riots know for certain started in Latvia, Riga.

    Now in Lithuania. Vilnius and Klaipeda.

    Economy-related demands only.
    Taxes, pensions, social payments other, all the benefits they had until the crisis but that were cancelled since the fin. crisis began.

    Police arrests them, and they try to break Parliament windows and break in through the doors. Some casualties. Many arrests.

    But no armoury applied and overall the main armament is snow-balls!

    Still all agaping because traditionlly these countries are very very quiet by nature, the head of Riga even decided to abdicate seeing own population in such an abnormal condition.
    You would never believe to see people turning over cars and setting them on fire in Riga central square, to say nothing of Vilnius. These are the quietest towns in the world.

    My friend is Lithuanian, she just returned to St. Petersburg, flew as worried for her mum there in "revolution". Brought 3 kilos of Lithuanian cheeses and the local gossip. (The riots themselves we watch on TV non-stop.)

    She says it is incredible how price-tags are re-written, absolutely all 1.5 times higher or even twice, within a short time.

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  • 352. At 02:48am on 19 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    For the record.

    In 1955 an official delegation from WestBerlin went to Siberia to look at the gas reserves discovered. Then they sent own gas folks to make trial shafts together with us.

    Nobody noticed. Only USA suggested trade embargo on the USSR.

    In 1970 the world gas forum was held in Moscow. All went well. Pipes from Siberia were built to the West Berlin, the first joint gas consortium was made. We announced we begin the supply of the Western Europe with gas.

    All were seemingly happy. That West Germany is able to work with Russia. No future wars in view.

    One country stood up at the conference and introduced a new term, hearty concern for the "energy safety for Europe." And proposed another embargo on the USSR.

    And thus it continued. For 38 years we supplied Europe with gas. Every new pipe - every new embargo. Some were voted for, some - against.

    We got used that America keeps a jealous eye on Russian-European co-operation.

    The European energy safety worries USA so much.
    Of the latest practical steps, that Bush undertook to ensure the "safety" - the country co-operation deal signed btw Ukraine and USA. This fall. By the Energy chapter 4, paragraph 3 USA is to take care of Ukrainian gas networks reconstruction.

    Interestingly enough, having got the deal with US in hands, Ukraine lost any interest to sign the 250 dollars deal offered by Russia.
    Were interested in October - and aren't anymore.

    40 years. Such persistence. Admirable.

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  • 353. At 03:03am on 19 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Maybe it wasn't a bear's paw on the shutoff valve after all but an eagle's talon. Bonjour La France. Comment ca va? C'est la guerre! :-)

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  • 354. At 10:49am on 19 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Alice # 342:
    Good festival Alice! We celebrate the mass of St.Epiphany 13 days earlier. That makes us happy also. Mr. Epiphany (I mean my godfather) introduced many people to the Orthodox Church at the age of 40… He was the son of the last Russian minister plenipotentiary in Sofia, Serguey Bogoyavlensky. This last left Bulgaria on Nov 1, 1915 right after our entry in war on the German side... and he returned definitely to Sofia in 1918. He was from Krasnoe Selo…
    About the ‘Aurora’ case:
    With my respect, I prefer to cultivate my onions and to preserve the good memories of the Sixties, friend… It’s up to the Russian people to make the choice of the man of war they should exhibit as a symbol of the Russian glory…
    If I were you, I would rather prefer the other cruiser… (Ne skajet ni kamen, ni krest gde legli, vo slavu mi russkogo flaga…) I thing, that at the moment when any young soldier or rather any OS is lending sermon, kneeling and kissing the regiment flag, a verse like this one could sound in his mind for ever…
    The topic has nothing to do with the ‘Turkish toilet’ either. What a pity that many people here are discussing the ‘role’ of the toilet in art. Nobody remembers that there are more poetic symbols ever since the time of Catherine the Great: the birch symbolizes Russia; the red rose symbolizes Bulgaria, etc. Mr. Cerny is excused to have other ideas. He’s too young.

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  • 355. At 11:32am on 19 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Grizzly! Grizzly bear paw on the valve!

    Russian bear's best view is from the rear, with lumps of soil flying around.

    Like a hunting dog, hysterically excavating a fox's burrow. Digging in trenches, to lay his gas pipes.

    Whereas normally in winter it should sleep, cuddling in his cave, under the tree roots. :o)

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  • 356. At 12:12pm on 19 Jan 2009, bbony wrote:

    @MarcusAureliusII (348)

    The Americans, in the contrary, have already been sufficiently elaborated in the Czech's art. But you never know. Maybe in the next project! As a collectors of mushrooms?

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  • 357. At 1:33pm on 19 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Mark,

    I think you should have a weekly or monthly 'Entropa Watch' to ensure we can see whether or not any 'censorship' is occurring..

    To be honest, after 3 months I think the whole thing will disappear on a tour of many European art galleries, and possibly end up in the 'turbine room' at Tate Modern to draw in a few punters from the City on their 'lunch breaks' now that they are not so busy due to the 'credit crunch'.

    I can even see it making a 'transatlantic trip' to 'MOMA' in New York, or even have copies made so that each Guggenheim museum can display it and educate the masses / confirm their prejudices / re-inforce stereotypes.

    [delete as appropriate..]

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  • 358. At 2:13pm on 19 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    @ 354 Ironfranco

    Certainly the "Warjag" song (viking kind of warrior) (in the Rus. parlance of the 12 century) is still the colours and the song of the Russian Navy.

    But with making Warjag into a museum ship, ironfranco, there is still a problem, you know, he didn't survive very well ;o).

    "Neither stone nor cross will tell where we lay, for the glory of Russian banner. Only waves of the sea will tell you about
    the glorious perish of Warjag."

    Some say the main tune gives a wrong angle to the Rus. Navy thinking. That the very point of its existence is to drown heroically!
    :o)

    Without surrender, no no, out of the question, "Russian Navy Don't Surrender", but, how to say, not very much focused on
    beating up other fleets either!

    Aurora cruiser is more optimistic a symbol ship in this respect, as she still made it out alive of the war with Japan.

    But of course how can anything Navy that fought and won smth, be compared to the ones who went down "into the boiling sea, caught up in flames." !

    Warjag is everyone's darling, the idea appeals to masochistic Russians better. :o)
    "Without a second thought we'll go out of harbour to open sea
    Where yellow-faced devils await us."

    The monument to it is on the side of the Trinity bridge, by St. Peter and Paul Fortress, you simply skipped it.

    "In pre-death torture shiver the bodies, thunder of cannons, smoke and moans,
    Our ship is caught by the sea of fire
    Here comes our minute of Farewell:

    Farewell comrades, With God, Hurray!"

    A curious thing ab the 1904 song is the original is German poet, a very unti-militaristic chap. It was published 25 Feb. 1904, "Zeitschrift Jugend" , surrounded by symbols of the war crossed over and other caricatures at militarie forces of the world greedy for blood. Rudolf Greinz, the poet, was the first pacifist! His idea of the poem on Warjag's death was to explain the German youngsters how silly it is to die for abstract things like "banners", "Faterland" etc.

    "Auf Deck, Kameraden, all auf Deck!"
    Here comes our final Parade!
    "Heraus zur letzten Parade!"
    Our Warjag will never surrender to the enemy
    "Wir brauchen keine Gnade!"

    Rus. poetess Eugenie Studentskaya (unknown for anything else good done), translated the poem into Russian and Russians said "Wow!"
    What a good rhyme!
    It got equipped immediately with 4 diff, melodies, later settled into one, and began to be sung with all the seriousness on all the fleets from Baltic to Pacific.

    Nobody noticed here the original German intention to explain how silly it is to die for Motherland, and in effect this became the motto of the Rus. Navy song.

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  • 359. At 2:54pm on 19 Jan 2009, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    I think it's hysterically funny - and yes, it's art!

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  • 360. At 3:19pm on 19 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Alice #358: Well done. I have been told in 1974 that it was just a piece of folklore! All the guys of the promotion believed the legend...
    Whatever the truth, the song still sounds like pathetic piece of classic music... ever since 1904.
    Our promotion had another anthem:
    "In the town where I was born
    lived a man who sailed the sea...
    And he told us of his life
    in the land of submarines...

    So we sailed on to the sun
    Untill we found the sea of green
    And we lived beneath the waves,
    In our yellow submarine...

    We all live in a yellow submarine,
    yellow submarine, yellow submarine..."

    P.S. Why not to fix on the place reserved for
    the UK on David Cerny's installation in
    Brussels some good piece of wood
    representing a yellow sub? It won't do
    any harm. All of us love the Beatles...


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  • 361. At 7:36pm on 19 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    "But is it art?"

    Does it matter? What it most definitely is is a case of fraud and those that knowingly assisted this fraud conspired to defraud.

    I suggest a piece of performance art called "A Punch On The Nose Of Cerny From The 26 Other Artists Who He Betrayed"
    That would fill the gap and be an admirable and funny contribution from funny UK in funny Europe. Let's see if Cerny actually has a sense of humour.

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  • 362. At 10:00pm on 19 Jan 2009, artisticalexande wrote:

    OK the work by Cherny, The design is good and so is the workmanship performed, but was it his Idea? knowing his past I doubt this, maybe he was only responsible for each countries depicted theme which suits his character, He seeks publicity He would make a good critic but not an artist.

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  • 363. At 10:24pm on 19 Jan 2009, Petr_Podaril wrote:

    Almost everybody has simple associations in some areas, such as
    - blond lady = nice, sexy, ...
    - fisherman = quiet crazy guy
    - Prague taxidriver = stealer
    Well, here in Prague is lot of taxidrivers of this kind, but some of them are honest. They are also fathers of their familly, former pupils, Mac-Donald guests, e.t.c. And, maybe you know some blond lady, which is not sexy at all (if no, I can introduce you with her :-).
    This simple, instant associations are problem. But it is my own problem. If I associate any people, animal, car, word, ... automaticly to any idea in my head, I have wery narrow range of vision.
    In extreme (for somebody it is everyday extreme) if I see blond lady, I fnd my association in my head, then I mark this person with a label "nice and sexy" and then I stop think about her.
    This artwork is only about this kind of associations in our heads.
    Nothing else.
    This is not parodies of this countryes. In fact, this is not really joyful artwork (but also it is not sad).
    If you feel it so, you have stayed on the surface. Please, go ahead. Nobody can stop you, only yourself.

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  • 364. At 11:31pm on 19 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    ironfranco and the 'Yellow Submarine'...

    Please please please - "Don't even go there" as the Americans are fond of saying....

    There has been a debate going on for years and years and years about what to put on the 'empty fourth plinth' in Trafalgar Square...

    Here's an idea - try nothing !! These are the sort of people who, if they have a 'space' in their home have to 'fill it' with some clutter or new ornaments until even the most spacious house will induce claustrophobia...

    So I'm afraid my concern is that thousands of column inches will be filled by people debating what to put in the place of the missing UK slot.

    'Mind the Gap', as they say....

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  • 365. At 02:00am on 20 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    The problem with a string of thought terminating cliches cobbled together is they are merely that.
    The Life Of Brian by the Monty Python team is still a much greater and funnier work of art than than this pile of postmodern five minute wonder. (ok half a minute)
    See if Cerny still laughs after a piece of performance art called "Cerny Superglued To The Evidence In A Fraud Trial" by 26 other artists who were never paid for their contribution is performed.

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  • 366. At 08:53am on 20 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    #336.
    For me, as a Bulgarian, there are 3 conclusions:

    1. BakerStreetIrregular, you are completely right - "Mr. Cerny had just CREATED a stereotype about Bulgaria."

    2. On the other hand it is also true that if Cerny had chosen corruption, then Bulgarians wouldn't have much ground to protest.

    3. And finally - I had not seen the Bulgarians (in the country and abroad) so united regarding something which is not related to football. So, who knows, entropa could be the beginning of something positive in Bulgaria.

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  • 367. At 11:05am on 20 Jan 2009, Plamen_Nikolov wrote:

    Totally agree with you N 366.
    Maybe few people were associating Bulgaria with a turkish toilet.
    Most will now and that is sad about it. I truly doubt Cerni had consulted with any bulgarian artist doing that controversial art. And i will be glad if the true about the whole project comes to be known. And if any wrongdoing were done- i think the people commissioned for this work to take responsibility and be punished.

    Greetings from Bulgaria,

    Plamen

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  • 368. At 12:43pm on 20 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    In Germany they started by burning books...

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gN2q5hPtw3jT4znt4op7jPXoH_wQ

    Is this what we have come to now in Europe?

    Censorship of artistic free expression ?

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKTRE50J2PI20090120

    Won't this make people want to see what is behind the screen all the more ? Or will the next step be to 'screen' the minarets and the lego to avoid Islamic sensitivities ?? I have a feeling this is the thin end of the wedge to booting out this installation altogether, which tells you everything you need to know about the EU's autocratic authoritarianism and cultural imperialism.

    You can watch whatever you like, as long as it is approved by us. 'The Lives of Others' here we come...

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  • 369. At 1:50pm on 20 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Wht is "empty fourth plinth" in the Trafalgar square? Plinth of what, the column basement itself?

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  • 370. At 4:00pm on 20 Jan 2009, daring_one wrote:

    Finally, the Czech Presidency covered up the offensive image Bulgaria!

    Victory is ours :)

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  • 371. At 4:01pm on 20 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:


    I think that the debate over the ‘Turkish toilet’ seems to be over, and, I would invite this lovely audience to switch to the next subject, namely:
    “What is the height of the Mosques in the British Isles? If the UK is totally submerged in the Cerny masterpiece just like Holland is, it is worth debating it”.
    (There is at least 6 % of Turkish minority in Bulgaria, so they need accommodations of special design, but how about the Pakistani minority in the UK, the Turkish minority in Germany, the Algerian minority in France, etc., etc… Just imagine the disastrous consequences for the environment in the UE if every minority refuses to use the local design… )

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  • 372. At 4:29pm on 20 Jan 2009, brightworld_citizen wrote:

    Sure, I'll give you that the Czechs aren't boring, and that we should be all able to laugh at each other. But it's one thing to laugh at the fact that France is "On strike" or Austria has nuclear power plants, or Romania has vampires - it's quite another to put a toilet on a country's map. I would want it down too if I were Bulgarian. If you're going to poke fun, poke fun somewhat equally. So much for EU equality and unity!

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  • 373. At 4:33pm on 20 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Ironfranco, Britain can't submerge ;o)

    They are a rock in sea I think, very cliffy sides. Don't know how it is on the left side, but on the right side - quite above the sea level. They'd go down to the beach from where they live. Looks like Crimea to me.

    Rocky things don't go down I think. They all consist of something incomprehensible under that makes their water very hard.
    If you put a mug onto a table with water in London, there then stays a white ring on the surface. And if you leave a tea cup for the night - the tea itself would look ugly in the morning. Total Crimea, 100%. Same film on the tea by the morn.

    I think that's why they invented coasters. And must be those washing machine additives to soften water. And have to wipe the bath-tub from water, otherwise it dries up and leaves a white kind of tricky stuff.

    But then these strange chemical effects looks curious may be only to me, used to normal water. Well, soft water, in our case. That seems to have an opposite drawback - contains no minerals.
    The Brita water filter is German, after all. So then Germans have hard water as well?

    Somebody in the world does buy those anti-build up wash mach additives?

    (Never get tired to wonder how they try to market them here, those pretty ads for which billions are paid. Marketing to people whose water is same soft as rain water. ;o)

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  • 374. At 4:46pm on 20 Jan 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #368

    'I have a feeling this is the thin end of the wedge to booting out this installation altogether, which tells you everything you need to know about the EU's autocratic authoritarianism and cultural imperialism.'

    Does it? The fact is, the installation is still there and 1000's of people who wouldn't normally venture near the building are flocking in just to see it. The fact that part of it has been covered up is really just about one Member State (the Czech republic) wanting to keep on good terms with another (Bulgaria), nothing to do with so-called EU 'autocratic authoritarianism and cultural imperialism'

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  • 375. At 5:26pm on 20 Jan 2009, James Clarke wrote:

    A wonderful, funny, piece of art: laugh! laugh! laugh! £50,000 over budget, IMHO.

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  • 376. At 6:27pm on 20 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    368. At 12:43pm on 20 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert

    "In Germany they started by burning books...
    Is this what we have come to now in Europe?
    Censorship of artistic free expression ?
    Won't this make people want to see what is behind the screen all the more ? Or will the next step be to 'screen' the minarets and the lego to avoid Islamic sensitivities ?? I have a feeling this is the thin end of the wedge to booting out this installation altogether, which tells you everything you need to know about the EU's autocratic authoritarianism and cultural imperialism."

    Might be true but for the fact that the Cerny has apologised for his fraud and insults and is fully cooperative with censoring his own "work".

    Methinks the anti European lobby doth protest too much.

    Would you be happier if a Bulgarian artist was allowed to contribute the map of Bulgaria? And a Bulgarian artist was allowed to receive money for said artwork as per the commission and original contract with commisioners?
    Seems the thought terminating cliché of the Bulgarians all being thieves or toilet like is rebounding on a particular Cerny (who happens to be a Czech) Does that mean all Czechs are fraudsters?
    I think this artwork is deliberately offensive and made by a fraudster who censored 26 other artists contributions and stopped 26 other artists their living.
    And all the people who gazed in wonder at it... emperors new clothes.
    I have seen funnier more inspiring great and beautifully thought provoking work from children.

    There is still time for the commission to be completed. An artist from each nation could cut away the dross and place a contributory work within the frame.

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  • 377. At 6:45pm on 20 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    My fellow bloggers,

    So did everyone listen to the Obama speech, any impressions?

    I think wonderful scenery; audience, the delivery and the content - all very powerful.

    Bothered of course with the address to the corrupted of this world ;o) (clearly, us), that he sent these "to the other, old, side of history" ;o)
    But here what can you do, corruption corrupts, I also wish it is written off away done with.

    The suggestion to "un-clench the fist" I'd also take personally, if I were in Kremlin.

    Here alas can't agree with Obama. US fists are 20 times more in budget, LOL, and no prospects of the US doing its familiarisation tour of the world with empty hands.

    US military bases were set up in 150 world countries one after another from 1945 to 2008.
    A very very bad record IMHO.

    Given that alltogether there are? 228? countries.

    Sure Americans are all empowered with CHANGE prospects, so this venue they might wish to abandon. But notice what drives them.

    Not only the necessity to fix money by ensuring demand for armament in the world. This would be a half-trouble.

    Look how convincing Obama sounds when he addresses the world. Dear "the world". "From big cities to tiny villages like the one I came from etc."

    "we are ready to be leaders again."

    He believes this. The audince clearly believes this. All faces lightened up.

    Can't imagine our Putin, or Angela Merkel Save God, or any other country President addressing the world in his/her inauguration speech. The very fact. Normal presidents are satisfied with being presidents of own country. For USA not enough, other ambitions.

    Clearly the USA are still on their maniacy track "to improve" the world. Feeling there is a special mission bestowed on them by God. As the base and ground for action.

    The scary thing is they all believe it.
    I find this worrying, kind of fanatical attitude.

    Oh Americans. What can you do with them.;o)

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  • 378. At 9:54pm on 20 Jan 2009, shavitz wrote:

    I find it quite sad how many of those who applaud the artwork think that there is 'just a little bit of truth' in the representation of the states and their people. If there is any sense in this artwork, then it is to show that it is that this perception sadly exists. I am neither 'white' nor do I want to be depicted by a toilet or a swastika, yet my mother gave birth to me on this continent, of which I am a citizen. People should consider tackling their personal issues when criticising international collaboration and applauding a return to a comic-book representation of the world.

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  • 379. At 10:52pm on 20 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 380. At 01:38am on 21 Jan 2009, nik wrote:

    This is probably the most significant piece of modern Art I have seen in my lifetime. The artist calls it a joke - and it would be, if Europe lived up to its aspirations of a democratic superstate full of self-confidence and harmony. If Europe lived up to its own dreams, there would be friendly smiles and a pat on the back for the artist.

    But the reactions to the artwork have shown us all how far Europe really is from this dream. And that's just the reactions from the friends of the EU. Never mind the EU sceptics: With friends like this, you don't need enemies.

    Quite honestly I believe the idea of the EU needs to be restarted, and it needs to be restarted by the European citizens.

    PS: To the petty penny counters above: David Cerny knew that he had breached his contract by doing this on his own so he has stated that none of the public money was used, and that the money will be returned. Check out the wikipedia entry on Entropa. So there you go - you are unwilling to pay for a mind-blowing piece of work, and you didn't. Happy now?

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  • 381. At 01:42am on 21 Jan 2009, nik wrote:

    As for censoring his own work: Of course David Cerny is very happy to do this, it fits perfectly with Entropa.

    The statement that is made by a censored (blacked out, of all things!) country is harsher than anything that he could possibly think of. Most countries got that, except, apparently, Bulgaria.

    Is a censored squat toilet really better than a squat toilet? I don't think so, I think it's much worse. And I am sure David Cerny would agree.

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  • 382. At 04:46am on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nanotchka, god is not merely on America's side, now he lives in our White House.

    If America has bases in 150 countries and there are 228 countries, that means that only 78 can be targets. If on the other hand, we pulled all our troops and military machinery home, we could target all 227 foreign countries. By having an American military base in your country, you can feel safe that America won't attack you. Perhaps Russia would like an American military base on its soil. Then it could take all of that military money it spends on useless arms and gamble it away in the stock market.

    Americans have to be fanatics. If it weren't for fanatics, there wouldn't be an America. We'd still be tied to Mother England's apron strings. Americans are the original revolutionaries, didn't you know? Except maybe for some obscure Greeks somewhere lost in time. We revolted because we got tired of paying King George III taxes so that he could buy snuff and other stuff. We told him to get stuffed. America fought two wars with Britain, the Revolution and the War of 1812. If it wasn't for that second war, Johnny Horton couldn't have sung "The Battle of New Orleans." I don't think it made the charts in Britain.

    So you listened to the Obamanation oration. So did I. Barack Obama is going to solve all of the world's problems...and then America's. He's leaving the hardest job for last. Jesus Christ reportedly fed 5000 people with two fish and five loaves of bread. That's childs play compared to the miracle Barack Obama and his friends in Congress will have to pull off if he's going to get America out of the financial hole it dug itself into.

    We don't need to worry about when the second coming of Jesus Christ will be anymore. Not when we have Barack Obama here right now to tide us over. There's an old saying in these parts that has it that god looks out for drunks, fools, and the United States of America. Maybe the truth of that is our only real hope.

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  • 383. At 05:22am on 21 Jan 2009, newshappy2009 wrote:

    I do believe Entropa is art, but that does not mean that it is appropriate as an EU display. Portraying Romania as a Dracula themepark or Italy as a football-loving country is much easier to chuckle about, whereas a swastika-like highway and religious tensions in the Netherlands is not. Why did Cerny choose the swastika highway for Germany, when there are dozens of other German stereotypes which can be more widely appreciated by all (such as lederhosen, beer-drinking, wearing Birkenstock sandals with socks...). And why not simply portray the Netherlands as a country under water (without the minarets)? Cerny claims that Entropa is meant to be fun, but if this is the case then maybe it would have been wiser to choose themes that a wider audience is able to appreciate. If his intention was not to make political statements, then he should have chosen other stereotypes. It’s not about censorship; it’s about sensitivity and that is something we should all have more of if we want EU countries to really be a union.

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  • 384. At 07:23am on 21 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    380. At 01:38am on 21 Jan 2009, orthorim wrote:
    "PS: To the petty penny counters above: David Cerny knew that he had breached his contract by doing this on his own so he has stated that none of the public money was used, and that the money will be returned. Check out the wikipedia entry on Entropa. So there you go - you are unwilling to pay for a mind-blowing piece of work, and you didn't. Happy now?"

    Penny pinching? Say that to the artist/worker who lost his job to the Cerny fraud. The money would have been split 27 different ways, minus the art bureaucrats go-between cut, to 27 different countries. I call a donkey a donkey and it is still art fraud and monetary fraud. Failing the commission is still failure no matter who pays for the insult. If Cerny couldn't take a joke he shouldn't have agreed to the commission. The Commissioners should have the matching spheres to take the offending article down and demand he completes the commission agreed or pays for someone who can.

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  • 385. At 10:31am on 21 Jan 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    No, of course "Entropa" isn't art; nor is its originator an "artist." This vile little prank is on the level of a stunt by a clever 12-year old in school. The worst part of the incident is that sophisticated, intelligent Europeans insist on clinging to the politically-correct delusion that anything created by anyone is art. Consider graffiti. You refer to Putin's charity donation "painting" as "his debut into the art world" (cf. The Guardian). Pavarotti's & McCartney's hobby is treated as "important paintings." Would you do the same to medical quackery, 'architectural' experiments by elephants, practicing law without a license? What about journalism? Even a blogger needs to know grammar and have the capacity to string words together into coherent messages... My wish for 2009, honestly, would be for people with a public voice to end the charade that any charlatan or mountebank who chooses to apply for 'arts funding' is, in fact, an Artist, or that any accumulation of rubbish is some great 'objet trouve' or sculpture and any amount of paint smeared any which way a painting. There are, in fact, professional, trained, skilled, intelligent artists out there who have something of value to say without insulting anyone, and who really could use the commission, publicity, support. How about some real substantive Change, o great arbiters of public opinion?

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  • 386. At 10:42am on 21 Jan 2009, saragoldberger wrote:

    The problem here is surely that this display of public art is hidden from the eyes of the public?

    When trying to see this display I found that it is hiding on the back yard of the European Council, a yard you do not have access to unless an EU official.

    I still wonder why.

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  • 387. At 1:46pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Funny when those EUers who vehemently defended the rights of Danes to free speech during the Mohammed comic incident or who rail against the United States when they don't like its policies are outraged when their own ox is gored, especially by one of their own. (That's one reason I enjoy doing it so much, it brings out the hypocricy in them.)

    As for whether or not Entropa is art, you'll have to take it up maria-ashot with the art critics, collectors and curators of places like the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. From some points of view (mine) so called "modern art" is a way to rationalize patronizing people who cannot paint a recognizable image with paint, brush, and canvass but then who am I to challenge art "experts?" Art like beauty appears to be in the eye of the beholder.

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  • 388. At 3:28pm on 21 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA no time to reply properly now, only yes first thought is it is really a choice of housekeeping standard.

    Either we entertain our 400 dollars per month salary and spend the rest on "Bulava"-s... and other equipment drowning from time to time...
    And not only that. Also entertain excellent economic and political ties with every country where USA holds its base.

    Glamorous future, in other words, for any Russian export. even if we ever have a tiny left-over from military spend to produce something exportable...

    I continue to read on BBC the type of announcements, like today's Gazprom began pumping gas into Ukraine on Tuesday morning from the Sudzha metering station on the border LOL

    as if we weren't doing this, from the same Sudzha station,since the previous Tuesday

    And the interesting thing one can't even object to what BBC says! one Tuesday, another Tuesday - what's the difference? surely - Tuesday

    anyway noo "boo" to Ukraine from BBC and won't ever hope! how can one blame, own revolutionary darlings? on the right track to become a US military base No 152

    (No 151 will be Georgia, they signed the deal with you providing 3 places for US bases, in case you don't know. 2 weeks ago)

    OR Russians get 1,000 dollar salaries, stop building "Bulava-s" and drwning things. well more likely, continue together with the US in the same mode but on JV basis,
    my hair doesn't raise up when I read about ourseselves on BBC, Russian exports become exportable, anyone kicking tricks a-la recent Ukraine gets a combined "boo" from the whole EU

    and the only minor thing required from Russia is become good white people finally and allow for a US base here and there.
    As if we are in any lack of place!
    Heaps can be accommodated comfortably, say a couple facing China, one facing Afghanistan, a dozen along the Muslim belt, 2 in the Arctic etc.

    What did Socrates say, grabbing his jar with poison. Something like, "let's have it done over with, prankers, show me, where is the cliff here or anything? Ah. it was

    Where is the abyss here, for the free people?

    damaged its relations with the two countries.

    The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said it was "utterly unacceptable that European gas consumers were held hostage to this dispute between Russia and Ukraine".


    See map of countries hit by gas dispute

    Gazprom began pumping gas into Ukraine on Tuesday morning from the Sudzha metering station on the border.









    "Russiafight PR campaign on BBC
    useful in the housekee
    and hold a US base on the Russian ground. Here and there. From border with China to Arctic.

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  • 389. At 4:22pm on 21 Jan 2009, Smartination wrote:

    The installation has spurred a debate in Bulgaria and, evidently, in other countries too - just look at the sheer number of comments under this article! In fact nowadays Bulgaria is a major manufacturer of contemporary sanitary faience sold all over the world. Even some of the sinks and toilets in the European Commission premises are made in Bulgaria. No offence at the installation, though. Yes, it is art, technically speaking. The reaction to it should have been reciprocal for now, after the official protest against it, the artist covered it with a black cloth resembling a Muslim burka or a veil typically worn at funerals. However, some enthusiasts did originally respond adequately by giving the Czech ambassador to Bulgaria a toilet as a gift. Silly as it may seem, this is a really mature response. Fight laughter with laughter!

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  • 390. At 8:48pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nanotchka, my only regret about the gas shutoff is that it didn't affect the rest of Europe. For years those jokers screamed one minute that the earth was warming because America is burning too much fossil fuel (the sky is falling, the sky is falling) and the next they are worried about where the EU will get its gas and oil from. You don't hear much about the environment from the Euros anymore. They are worried about their collapsing economies and China has passed the US in CO2 output. They don't dare make China angry and China has already told them they aren't doing anything. Neither is India. I look at the shutoff as forced compliance with Kyoto. Meanwhile, windmills are going up everywhere in America. It's starting to look like Holland in some places around here.

    BBC did a report on Gazprom. Their finances aren't so rosy. They could use a few tens or hundreds of billions. They can't raise gas prices in Russia because your $400 a month income would not allow you to buy food if they did. I understand there is no thermostat in Russian apartments. The heat is always on all the time full blast. You even have to open the windows when it's too hot inside. At least that's what they said. Nobody pays over $50 a month for gas, many much less.

    China is not thrilled with Obama's election. They liked Bush. He was a man they could do business with. Still they want closer military cooperation with the US. Their only problem...they don't like the US selling arms to Taiwan. Just think how a small thing like an island with I think around 26 million people can be a big problem for relations between the richest country and the one with the largest population and 3rd largest economy. China has now passed Germany.

    If China is not thrilled about Obama, Russia does not like him at all. So you think he was referring to Russia when he talked about a clenched fist. And here I thought Russia was the subject when he spoke about corruption. Maybe THAT was China.

    What Russia needs to import is pornography. With a falling birth rate, Russians drink too much, smoke too much, and have sex too little. What a sad place to be. Do people not have sex because they drink and smoke or is it the other way around, they drink and smoke because they don't get enough sex?

    Russia is at war with Britain now in every way but militarily...and Russia is winning. China on the other hand is at war with France. France is not very popular now in China. Who is shorter, Putin or Sarko? Watch out for those little guys, they can be very sneaky.

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  • 391. At 9:40pm on 21 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA @390, I am back from my 400 work, can write a bit. Funny you think in parallel with Ukraine:

    "Money can't buy you friends. Can only help to obtain more or less decent enemies.

    Look at rich Russia! (well, "rich" - I leave it a Ukr. website concience ;o))
    They've got 2 enemies - Britain and United States. And we, poor Ukraine, who were we able to afford? ugh! Russia only."


    Gazprom yes, stretched its expenses line, during the hey-hop period finished recently. By acquisition. If you look at their site, "companies Gazprom has ownership of", mamma mia. They were buying left and right, page after page listing "ownership more than 50%", "less than 50%", exact numbers aren't given, only pie charts. And other companies' names.

    Gas prices here though 25% up same as all the rest monopolists' charges. Own population always at the state disposal at difficult. monetary times. Mind it we are a dream of any world government, a nation that doesn't revolt any more by definition.
    So you can do whatever, and equal apartment bill to the pension 1=1. It's in Europe when people hear "5% more" they go on strike and to protests. Russians got 25% more news on all bills without exception with a shrug of the shoulders.

    Though certainly there is a line monopolists can't cross, I'd say each wanting double for their seaparate service like phone or water than the average salary.

    At least unemployment isn't a problem here
    because the minimum wage per month is 80 dollars so thick weekly newspapers listing un-filled vacancies and absolutely noone willing to take them as it's cheaper to stay at home. Bus trip to subway 1 dollar. 1 return. And subway. Really, cheaper to stay at home.

    Anyway, re your Obama. Our Jewish think-tank of high foreheads and big heads :o) (Echo of Moscow radio station which I think I mentioned sev. times already, the site, as the last media bastion un-surrended yet) have made their verdict.

    (When I want to get a pessimistic forecast about us - I always look at the Echo of Moscow site. And when I want cheerful news I look up Izvestia or places).

    So the wise men with literally long beards, their analysts said "the problems US faces are the same as at Bush; the means to handle them are same as had Bush, nothing new can be invented in this respect.
    Obama will have to scale down his rhetorics and will come down to the same solutions. On words he'll keep it going for a while, but gradually you'll hear the difference. Really we sympathise with the guy.
    Keep in mind his key figures all from the previous campus, they'll do as they are used to, implement known solutions."

    "Charming of course all these changes and Perestroyka type hopes, oh naive folks, I feel young again looking at them."

    The good news for you MA, from our Echo forecast, is they don't think this crisis is end of the world, that the fin. sector blasted is half the trouble, US still has strong economic venues, healthy production and population, lots of resources, and the main thing - is their military-industrial pillar is un-affected. "The end for the world would be if THAT goes blasted, because that is what US gets energized with. Kick out military-industrial sector - nothing would save the US economy and int'l dollar, and mind it, we'd go down together with them to the bottom."

    Well, an un-orthodox approach, I always thought that you have rich military and are the top arms' trader in the world is bad, but Echo has a diff. opinion.
    May be they also think it's bad (given Russia's sales of armament worldwide are secondary to the US only, we compete directly) but somehow Echo thinks that this is that line of your income that is better to be kept high ;o) Otherwise the world shake-over of real US collapse would be too much for this imperfect world to stand.

    Crazy news you hear here and there, for ex. Rus. Foreign Affairs minister, Lavrov, have been heard said "USA fights in Afghanistan for our interests; we have been supporting them as much as we can and will." Otherwise, smth, like "Islamization belt - from Taiwan to Serbia."

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  • 392. At 9:49pm on 21 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    "Even a blogger needs to know grammar and have the capacity to string words together into coherent messages... "

    Dearie me, maria, you're new to this internet thing aren't you ??

    As for policy on art vs graffiti - check out this article...

    http://www.crp-news.com/htm/n20080527.998898.htm

    Just as this thread was winding down, MA2 appears to do some winding up..

    Fine work !!

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  • 393. At 04:16am on 22 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nanotchka, America is the biggest arms dealer in the world. We don't like arms smugglers. They cut into our profits. We don't like drug smugglers. They cut into the profits of our drug companies. Legal drugs can probably produce any high, any halucinogenic effect street drugs can...only the government makes profits from the tax it collects from the drug companies. The radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, that right wing crusader for all that is good, just and fair and against all that is evil, bad, and mean got caught illegally buying and hording oxycontin, a legal drug similar to heroin. His excuse. Back pain or something. We'll make a lot of money selling tobacco too. Sure fire disease and death from emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer among others but we make a lot of money out of it so it's okay...at least to export. Funny, China exports its poison to us and we are ready for a trade embargo. We export cigarettes to them and they can't get enough of them. Eventually we will export heart disease and cancer drugs to them to treat the diseases the cigarettes inflict.

    Britain bribed Saudi princes with 2 billion dollars for contracts to sell them 40 to 50 billion in military hardware. We didn't say anything even though we have a treaty with the Brits. But when EADS underbid Boeing for 9 billion in air refueling tankers, Congress exploded at the prospect of the Air Force awarding that contract. I hope they don't. I'd like to see EADS go broke where they should be. I've flown on an A340 and it was scary. Of course it's probably safer than Russian planes, at least according to their reputation. Talk about Russian Roulette, flying in one of those Illyushins is well, risky. That's what we hear anyway.

    Now our new found saint is going to save America and save the world. I can sleep easy knowing he's on the job. America has a secret weapon. It's called a government printing press and it's kept in the basement of the United States Treasury. With it, the US government can make all past debts seem to evaporate, disappear, shrink into insignificance. We use it about once every generation. Last time was in the 1970s during Carter's administration when the bills for the Vietnam war came due. Time to take it out of mothballs and fire it up again. In a few years you are going to see inflation like you've never seen before. You won't earn 400 dollars anymore, or 500 or 1000 but maybe 3000 or 4000. But then a bus ride will cost you 10 dollars each way. So what's the point? The trillion dollars the US government owes China will be paid back in dollars worth 200 billion in today's money. I call that Americanomics. Das Vadalia Nanotchka.

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  • 394. At 08:02am on 22 Jan 2009, BG_revenge wrote:

    Prosim Te Pane Cerny, don`t you weep nostalgically about your childhood vacations in sunny Bulgaria. All you need is http://www.naturesplatform.com/
    :p

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  • 395. At 09:12am on 22 Jan 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #386

    'The problem here is surely that this display of public art is hidden from the eyes of the public?

    When trying to see this display I found that it is hiding on the back yard of the European Council, a yard you do not have access to unless an EU official.'

    I don't think you need a badge just to go into the yard. You just need to go through an airport-style security check to make sure you're not carrying anything to blow the place up. Not that anybody on this forum would consider such a thing.

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  • 396. At 09:32am on 22 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    iantownhill - I wouldn't be surprised if Eurostar advertise some 'Entropa' packages now to whisk Londoners to see this and go back in a day, with a brief stop for a light lunch at a lovely Belgian cafe.

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  • 397. At 09:40am on 22 Jan 2009, Oriana_Pelli wrote:

    This thing is NOT art! Art is something that demands spiritual effort and in this particular case there was NONE! I spotted only arrogance and self-sufficiency - two things that can only destry art, but never create it!

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  • 398. At 5:47pm on 22 Jan 2009, EuropaOne wrote:

    I don't think jesting about People's nationality and homeland is acceptable in polite society even in the name of Art and the ever so precious freedom of expression....

    It's degrading both to the Bulgarians and Czechs - an unfortunate incident. I fail to see the humour. Sorry! Perhaps I've lost my sense of humour!?

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  • 399. At 9:39pm on 22 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Maybe if the mountain will not go to Mohammed, perhaps Mohammed can be brought to the mountain, by marketing Entropa to the masses ?

    Possible idea - Entropa advent calendar [there are over 25 countries so enough 'doors' on the calendar, even without the UK]

    Maybe Malta and Luxembourg would be a bit small for chocolates - but maybe whoever gets Denmark gets a slab of white chocolate, or Poland would be a chunk of dark chocolate.



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  • 400. At 10:21pm on 22 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Much as I loathe Melanie Phillips, and while I'm not the biggest fan of Geert Wilders, this article does raise some important points about freedom of expression in Europe..

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3277841/a-defining-moment.thtml

    I may not agree with what they say etc. etc.

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  • 401. At 10:43pm on 22 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    lordBeddGelert, from the mrkt. point of view this thing is a Paradise, once you secure rights and legal etc. with the Black beard.
    The Advent calendar wonderful idea, fits Rus expression to be wholesome "v shokolade", tip-top. I'd keep a window for non EU members as well, to add thrill to the opening the window' exercise. Like you open one oops no chocks a bear's muzzle.
    And what's the problem with England? Simply a hole through the calendar, like - a view! to the outside world!

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  • 402. At 10:44pm on 22 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    So presumably those who are now paying for the offending article are anti Europeans. The bureaucrats who commissioned it should have the guts to take it down.
    Hanging the Anarchist flag in front of Bulgaria appears completely out of context.
    Anyone have any idea why the Anarchist flag was put in front of Bulgaria?

    And by the way when the artist condones "censoring" i.e. altering the artwork it is called either altering the artwork or editing it. Not censorship. Censorship is what the Cerny did to the other 26 artists who he sidelined to take all the self publicity in exchange for providing the anti Euro mob a few political points.
    And fraud is what he perpetrated regarding completing the commission.

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  • 403. At 10:44pm on 22 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Only I'd of course put nice things inside the "apartments".

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  • 404. At 11:28pm on 22 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Nice being from Latin nescious means ignorant and a string of thought terminating cliches is extremely ignorant. So the "apartments" are already nicely "filled".
    The art commissioners obviously find it really painful to admit to themselves they have been badly fitted up.
    Still that is exactly what a con artist banks on.

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  • 405. At 00:26am on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Doctuer_Eiffel, so you think no need for the EU to get equipped with common art-work, or may be not yet the time? Something, OK, "nice" appears to be a wrong word...

    Whatever you put "positive", in the "apartments", yes indeed will be "thought terminating" and "cliches".
    So what to do? Never to get anything combined, like a symbol of every country, all of them put together?

    It is kind of natural to wish to counter-oppose "bad news" about countries with "good news".

    Well. That's too straightforward an idea, may be ;o)

    Let's say "To put together something EVEN WORSE, for every country's "apartment"!
    How about that? LOL

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  • 406. At 09:08am on 23 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    WebAlice- Superb !! you make me smile !!

    You really should be working in advertising or maybe you really do live in Wonderland..

    Send us a postcard..

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  • 407. At 10:57am on 23 Jan 2009, michael_76 wrote:

    # 399. lordBeddGelert wrote:

    "Maybe Malta and Luxembourg would be a bit small for chocolates - but maybe whoever gets Denmark gets a slab of white chocolate, or Poland would be a chunk of dark chocolate."

    Chocolate shaped as a squat toilet would be a marketing disaster.

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  • 408. At 12:04pm on 23 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 409. At 1:40pm on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    lordBeddGelert @406, "a post card"! LOL

    Yes I worked in mrkt, that is until var. home troubles made me to leave full-time employment, and settle on small jobs. So it is easy for me, I view the problem with a trained eye! ;o)

    Centuries ago a company I worked for had operations in 12 countries, all ex-USSR, and run the bsnss from Moscow head office. Now imagine what it is a headache for a marketing manager with advertising to be placed in local tongues and in local liking, one budget of course for all and all countries try to pull the blanket onto their side, and whoever you pumper more, others get unhappy and say Moscow doesn't see local demands and urgent requirements. Very tricky to keep the balance, then once a year comes the Christmas time! when all get concerned about gifts and souvenirs for their respective customers, and Greeting cards granted.
    Meanwhile this all should be common for all and still kind of reflect it is one and the same company even that in different places. Because the business was inter-connected, each country depended on each other (courier services).

    So one Christmas time I stare silly again at a blank page thinking what the hell to invent this year? We had it already all, scratch cards under Santa's boxes of presents, for the customers to discover prizes, and magies in all the shapes, and crowds of local Santa-s in diff. clothes, overall a nightmare because all have own ideas of how their respective Santa-s look and just try to print one with wrong looks! Countries would eat you alive. Still, it is cheaper to make bulk orders, so every time something one should reflect interests of absolutely all, and not leave one offended.

    That New Year it ended up with greetings in 18 local languages, some insisted they have more than one, and the printers got cataleptical as they didn't have the fonts. Georgian and Armenian curly hierogliphs, as if some knitted a phrase, and Tatar, and, I mean, a disaster.
    But overall looked very picturesque and educative ;o) because no body could understand the other 17 greetings. Including me. To this day don't know what various greetings actually say! Hope nothing bad.
    BTW at that time had great printers, NB Print, don't know if they survived. Not one person there could understand a word in Russian and still they printed my brochures and tariffs and newsletters in the languages I wanted without a mis-spell.
    And Russians, even marketing managers, are the most disorganised folk in the world, to be honest, the poor chaps never had a warning of me in advance what orders I'd like to place, rather "let's do it in 6 languages and by tomorrow and send this to those 4 cities yourself, and what pictures inside I wish to have - no idea, don't you have designers - recommend me some options quickly re the style. I'd like something mad, but not very mad, but interesting, you know. Just don't forget to keep the corporate colours right!"

    How did they not kill me in these years no idea, but we developed mutual understanding they'd know what I like and I'd know what they do there thousands km away without looking.
    So, "a post-card, from Wonderland!". LOL

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  • 410. At 2:32pm on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    What I mean in the EU Marketing manger, does it have a marketing manager? has similar problems now.
    27 countries worse mine-field than 12.

    On the other hand - high time for the EU to get equipped with common memorabilia, as an organisation, long due.

    Stars yeah of course, but that's say, a logo.
    You can't keep customers excited about your business by making them stare silly at your logo only. ;o) Well, not for longer than 5 minutes max. LOL.

    The first attempt you can't call very successful either... ;o)

    Surely the straightforward way out is to ask the constituencies next time. Everyone knows for themselves what they think they are. For example Bulgaria said they'll be happy with the red rose, Holland would not refuse a chocolate tulip, Germany - a small chock black BMW once you open their window on the map. And on top an aerial view of Europe. View from space above down is objective for all, we all agree. France's window got a bottle of Moet and Chandon etc. Lithuania - a piece of their cheese.
    Even that I wouldn't risk without consent of the countries.

    Still the products' based approach is simple and understandable by ordinary people who are supposed to buy those "Advent" calendars. You look at the map (already educative). You might read the day when the country joined the EU marked as well. Though makes the thing may be too loaded with info. Then you open small windows and get your tiny chocks shaped as above.

    "Objective: During the time of recession to boost the sales of key products within the Euro zone AND build morale level with the message "see? you are not alone with your problems; there are key base products in the common market; somehow we will survive". "Life is sweet!" LOL.

    I'd sell this under the title: Europe. An optimistic view. (Second attempt.) LOL.

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  • 411. At 2:54pm on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Really, if I lived in the EU I'd speed now with the offer to one of the two places:

    EU some marketing office or whatever it's called

    Any Belgium chock factory

    If one wouldn't express the desire to cover by chocolate own mistakes, the other might just like the business idea to do it on its own.

    Ideally of course to secure own rights before, and register a tiny but own business. In Russia it'll take a year of paperwork and billions in bribes, but you all live abroad and supposedly can register small private companies easily?
    Likewise a bank loan abroad or a credit card won't be standard 36% per year in roubles as it is here, about dollars and euros - simply forget at the moment.

    Chocolates of course would be cheaper Russian, I'd go to Krupskaya factory only. But theirs will have the same defect as Belgium, real chocks - melt and don't keep long. Live only in foil or waxed paper around, as well. A Belgium factory or Krupskaya factory will have to do smth to spoil their chocolates! to place them into an "Advent-type" packaging.
    Chinese chocks are out, melamine and things.
    Well, someone in Europe knows which chocks are normally inside Advent calendars, I think I tried German-make.
    Someoe ought to be able to make an un-melting one.

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  • 412. At 3:24pm on 23 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    Docteur Eiffel # 376: You say you have seen funnier and more inspiring works made by children. I entirely agree with you because in terms of moral and expressiveness, there is little difference between the genius and the child. Unfortunately David Cerny does not make part of the company...

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  • 413. At 4:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nanotchka, if you suddenly materialized in the EU like you had been dropped in by parachute from an airplane or beamed down from the Starship Enterprise and went looking for a job in marketing, assuming you could speak the local language, you'd find yourself on the unemployment line. For one thing, European firms tend to hire people at the bottom who then work themselves up through the ranks. Unless you were a high powered exec in Russia and had some special talent they wanted, that IMO is where you'd land. And even if you got a low level job competing with the locals, the last hired are the first fired. During this depression, advertising and marketing are among the first departments or outsource expenses that get cut. I know you dream of Paris, London, or even New York City at about $200,000 a year but it's just a fantasy. Still when there is nothing else, we can enjoy our fantasies. They can't take that away from us too, can they?

    As for chocolate, I'm sorry to tell you that expensive chocolate is also a luxury most people forgo during hard times like we are entering now. Well you do have good taste though. IMO, Belgian chocolate is the best I've ever tasted. You can keep your Lindt, Toblerone, Suchard, or whatever. And at times and in certain places it can be quite a bargain in the US. Costco, a large national discount retailer sells a kilo of really delicious Belgian chocolate (must be about 80% butterfat but what the heck) for around $12 at Christmas time. Usually I'll buy a few kilos but not this year. Got to watch my slim girlish figure you know, I'm not getting any younger :-)

    People who run chocolate factories, retailer candy stores, and bakeries know that the best policy is to let the employees eat as much of the product as they want. Within a week or two, they can't bear to look at it or smell it anymore. In the long run, that's the cheapest way.

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  • 414. At 5:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA I am not parachuting anywhere in Europe. well. unless I sell house here and buy there in Central/Eastern parts. but you don't do this in crisis.
    and for jobs - never entertained the idea, just forget it. LOL, silly MA, well, not silly, but think yourself - isn't it far better to have $200 per year marketing job in Moscow.
    many reasoned it is.

    Now we seem to have cost of living higher! than abroad! so may be marketing folks' eyes would turn to the West, instead of own Moscow. But again in crisis, unlikely, with fortune-searchers. Again, tax on income in Russia is still charming 13%.

    I paid 36% before, but then Kremlin fortunately decided it is very unfair to the rich folk, to have a ladder of income tax, and reduced it down to the lowest - 13% for all!
    Whether you are paid a million or a hundred roubles.

    The thing is Western companies still have market here, and growing, at better rate than at home. Locals can do same marketing as foreigners, don't have to be insured, better fit to know the market, etc.

    Anyway all this useless, chocks Belgian are nice indeed. Must be as you said, because lots of milk and fat and things and fresh, melting in hands. I am rather paranoid about chocolate, eat one-two a day as min.

    My Krupskaya (wife of Lenin, for a sec! LOL) factory still stands up to expectations. Save God will be bought by a foreign company, and turn into standard foreign chocolates. Must support them! Eat more.

    I think with chocolates it must be a law - not more than 5-7 ingredients listed!
    When the list is longer - granted some crap is added on top of the key things (sugar, cocoa, cream, flavour thing and/or nuts).

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  • 415. At 7:56pm on 23 Jan 2009, oliriki wrote:

    I still think it's debatable to call this sort of thing art. If the marketing of it weren't so intense and controversial I wonder if anyone would have cast a second glance.

    I like mikewarsaw's definition above best - I'd much prefer to call it visual satire.

    Olga (Czech in Africa blog)

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  • 416. At 8:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And no, MA, I have no specific skills, same as majority in marketing. Even worse now, as out of practice.

    Re the airplanes, you've mentioned scare to take Russian. I agree, we haven't built a single one new since USSR times, so it's all the old fleet flying around plus the second-hand foreign foreign that local airlines buy cheap.
    All used over-used like hell.

    A very small amount of new foreign airplanes is bought, not enough for all airlines.

    Before it was state-financed, worked; now Russian companies have to buy own planes and they seem to be saving money on us!
    Rather, can't afford.

    Still, Iliushin-86 knock knock knock on wood
    continues to show excellent performance.
    If absolutely cornered to fly I'd see it is going to be Il-86.

    It is similar to Airbus-300 or DC-10 thing.
    DC though is long-haul, and Iliushin only at home in Russia short flights, or nearby abroad, below 5000 km.
    350 people big slow and comfortable.

    The key thing about it old planes fly around non-stop round o'clock, with as defective airport technical service as we have now; on as defective airline benzine it's possible; with as low technical security check-ups and control, and deficit of good pilots. I don't think rich on spare parts either, LOL.

    And IL-86 does not have accidents.

    In fact, nothing would compare to it in the world, until 2002 when it took off in Sheremetevo luckily without passengers, a trial check-up "technical" flight after repairs, and smashed into pieces in take-off.

    Still, zero passenger victims in 28 years, which you'd agree is a good record for a plane.

    Had happenings, of course, once your Boeing-737 fell on it from the skies! while Il stood peacefully-quetly in the Deli airport.
    8 Indians dead who were on the ground, servicing the Il. Smashed our dear Il, etc.

    Another time Russian crew forgot to let the wheels go out at landing, and landed without! Bang! It is really big and heavy fat plane. There was a fire but noone wounded.

    So we keep fingers crossed for the old fat Iliushins, and watch it carefully, I was very disappointed in 2002, that "technical" take off in Moscow, because I counted on it as my last safety resource.


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  • 417. At 8:37pm on 23 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    405. At 00:26am on 23 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "...So what to do? Never to get anything combined, like a symbol of every country, all of them put together?

    It is kind of natural to wish to counter-oppose "bad news" about countries with "good news".

    Well. That's too straightforward an idea, may be ;o)..."



    Why not 27 different views (As originally intended. As originally promised.) instead of the now anti EU lobby sponsored stale beer atrocious banality?
    Cerny may have returned funding to the commisoners of the artwork but how is he going to pay the 26 other artists he ripped off who were prevented from their freedom of expression by Cerny's greed for personal attention seeking?
    What would Cerny's atrocious banality have looked like at only a 27th of the budget?

    5000 pathetic plastic kits of Europe?
    (I see it coming... limited edition, limited attention span, limited intellect.)

    The real Europe has more to offer than 5000 banally flat Cernys.

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  • 418. At 05:36am on 24 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nanotchka, I have a rule about chocolate. I never eat more than one at a time. One kilogram that is :-) Once you start, it's hard to stop.

    We have lots of domestic chocolate most Europeans don't like. Hershey bars, Nestle's bars, and one very popular one, M and Ms. These are not fine chocolate in the European sense but most Americans like them anyway. We have lots of brands of chocolate bars. I once read that after the end of Communism, for a while anyway, an American candy bar Snickers was the most popular candy bar in Russia. True?

    Europeans have chocolate with liqueur inside them. It's illegal here, too great a risk children will eat them. We expect children to get drunk by drinking alcohol when adults are not around, not eating it. Speaking about liquor, I understand the Russian government has cut the taxes on vodka to make it competitive with all of the low cost adulterated stuff people are buying and getting sick from.

    OK, here's a thing I read in a cd liner notes about Russian vodka drinking habits, tell me if there is any truth in it. This comes from a Denon CD of Valery Afanassiev playing Mussorgsky's Pictures (Tableaux D'une Exposition.) He'd written some sort of play about Mussorgsky and a pianist in 1991. He has an actor say;

    (The Pianist) "Drinking for ever and ever....Sitting and drinking in his eternity....Looking sideways...Not at us...sideways...As if loath to look at the world, at thefuture...(Manipulating Mussorgsky's hands in such a way as to make him drink vodka. Mussorgsky gulps down three glasses in a row) That's how he drank, how Russians usually drink...The process itself doesn't count. (The pianist cautiously picks up the wine basket) Petrus 71. (He pours himself a glass of wine. He looks at its colour, rolling it along the inner side of hte glass, stirs it, smells it) Blackcurrants...velvety flavours...(He slowly takes a sip, rolls the wine over his palate, as if rinsing the mouth.) That's how the French do it. They enjoy the color the bouquet-the process, not the result. (Mussorgsky gulps down another glass of vodka.) Russians wish to pass into another dimension, to get away from their normal state of mind, of life...As far away as possible...It's the result that counts. They don't notice what they drink. They pass into another dimension.

    So any truth in that? What do you think?

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  • 419. At 10:53am on 24 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, so scientific and it's still too early in the morn. for me to think I'll think later.
    So that you have food for thought as well:

    "Americans invented a new super-computer that worked excellently well until it began to be "suspending" then some smoke appeared from it and then it broke entirely. When it was errone? erroneniously err anyway by mistake asked to translate a talk of two Russians:

    - Are you going to celebrate the Old New Year?
    -Yes no likely. ("Da niet, navernoe")
    - Why?
    - Under-up-to-over drank. ("Nedoperepil").

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  • 420. At 3:10pm on 24 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    OK.
    Snickers was very popular in ? 1992 plus-minus, young Perestroyka times, yes, very true. It is still here, in every 24-hr kiosk by subway stations, never went off the stage since appeared. And M and M's, and Kittie-Kat-?s red ones, don't know whose are these?
    But these days it's a pale copy of the previous Snickers' glory, because in Perestroyka I think there were only 2 products in every kiosk: 1./ Snickers 2./"Spirt Royal" - don't know whose country, may be Polish - 1 and 2 litre spirit bottles. 70% alcohol. To be dissolved and made back into vodka. Extraordinary cheap and awful stuff.

    These were the times of the old joke, someone comes to the supermarket and says "Sell me please half a kilo of food."

    So Snickers was food; of Royal I was also able to make use once, had a knee infection, scratch dipped into Danuba river (I thought it's supposed to be clean river) got in and to the bone and overall the surgeon in Moscow said: One or the other.
    Either we operate tomorrow, or you go to the nearest kiosk, and buy 10-15 litres of Royal. Pour it into a bucket and put your leg there and sit the whole night. Read or watch TV but don't get your leg out. Vodka won't do, 70% is weaker than needed, but it worked on several patients already. 97% medical spirit would be a sure thing. But where to get it that much.

    Until spirit penetrates through the skin, through the leg, gets to the bone, your leg becomes totall frozen through and numb and you don't feel a thing. Either this spiriting throughout 2ndWW times method kills the infection in 4 hrs - which you will see it will stop swelling and the red spots won't creep further. Or it won't, and then we put you under general anaesthesia and operate and all, come to the hospital with passport, clothes and things to check in tomorrow.
    __________________

    If your Snickers, Mavrelius, was ever close to be same good...

    Now, ab drinking habits of Russians, written volumes, I am not an expert, it's a separate culture surrounded by legends, songs and folklore and who only not wrote on it.

    Overall roughly the approach will be spotted correctly. Keeping in mind Afanasiev emigrated young, and his memoirs are at best early Brezhnev era. And he couldn't possibly become an expert when at home, because too young. And overall too busy studying in the music school to experiment.

    In Sov. times mostly cheap Russian port-wines for wines, who in his right mind would try to get the taste and nuances in the "bouquet" of them? To swallow as quickly as possible NOT to notice tints and shades. LOL.
    The other option vodka which by definition is the best the least taste it has. If vodka has a taste it is a very alarming sign. It shouldn't even have the alcohol taste at all, but to be very mis-leading - like you have nothing in the mouth. Only effects immediately after! LOL. Now, how can you possibly taste smth which ought to have no taste, be like air?

    All this leads us to the conclusion that yes - nothing to try the taste of, for one reason or another. Your next action depends on your intentions. Polite drinking to become slightly happier at a birthday party, by small tiny glasses, or radical desire exactly to get vanished from reality ASAP. Or not ASAP, but with the intention to suspend in this ? tricky condition for a week or two. Called in Russian "zapoy". Some risky individuals kind of plan it in their schedules, like "Jan-Feb I drink nil, in March it seems there will be a break at work, or my wife will go away on holidays, and I can allow myself to go into "zapoy". Other, less patient ones, don't plan for it ;o)
    Simply dive into when they feel like it. And it is easy to start, as I heard, and hard to get out to reality after.

    Russians go into "zapoy" like to a risky military expedition, understanding the risks they are taking, LOL, and, like, say to their family members: Allright, I'm leaving, don't worry for me too much. See you in 2 weeks'. We all hope." ;o)

    There are lots of definitions and standards, complex culture developed. A science!

    That "nedoperepil" condition mentioned above is a complex tricky border state of an individual, who intended to get switched off, but somehow didn't reach the desired condition. may be his money ended. or friends to make him company. if he intended to have a company at all and not to drink "looking into the mirror".
    That "nedoperepil" state is said to be very depressing, as there is no clear way out. To add more vodka to fix oneself or to not at all and leave it as it is, with some worrying under-lying complex psychological reasons still with the man. That's why "under-over-drunk" condition.

    Sure the arts and crafts were blossoming in Brezhnev "bez-vremenje" / no-time-li-ness, when nothing happens in Russia years.

    Now we mostly read in books about glorious and varied approaches to getting drunk, or interview rare survivors.


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  • 421. At 3:39pm on 24 Jan 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    WebAliceInWonderland...

    Sounds like there will soon be the demand for your skills in another multi-ethnic, multi-lingo, multi-culture part of another 'union' not a million miles from where I live...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/betsanpowys/2009/01/the_powers_of_language.html

    And the spirits can run just as high...

    Toodle-pip..

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  • 422. At 4:12pm on 24 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Thanks for your insight Nanotchka. I always felt vodka should have no taste of its own. A mildly sweet taste of alcohol which is technically a sugar and a slight stinging sensation. This makes it a good base for mixed drinks as its own flavor doesn't clash with whatever you put it in. We like screwdrivers (mixed with orange juice) and bloody marys (mixed with a tomato juice/tobasco sauce concoction.) Also black Russians mixed with Coffee based liqueur, usually Kahlua. Add some cream and it becomes a white Russian.

    Vodka acts pretty quickly. Tequilla (made from cactus juice) in a way is more interesting. You can drink it and drink it and nothing happens. Then all of a sudden without warning, KERBLAM, it all hits you at once.

    So soaking your leg in Snickers is a more powerful antibiotic than vodka. In years past when Americans liked to repaint their own cars, they knew the best way to get the old paint of was Coca Cola. Apparantly very corrosive. My grandmother told me that when her grandmother in Roumania had an eye infection, she used urine. Urine is sterile and a very good topical disinfectant. I wonder if it also ward off vampires (wurdulak to you, I remembered. Boris Karloff in Black Sabbath. Isn't educational TV wonderful?)

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  • 423. At 9:14pm on 24 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    LordBeddGelert, thanks for inviting, I tried to get the angle, but having no touch-base I mean, field knowledge, kind of afraid to comment not to ruin smth good ;o) with my very opinionated opinions.
    If I will get a clever thought into my head on that, I'll join in. You are so controlled society, all by rules, what can you do anyway only fulfill the rules. Ah well I forgot unlike us you can sometimes influence change of rules! so may be, yeah, well. If I have an idea I'd join.

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  • 424. At 9:15pm on 24 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PS Russians can't influence Government rules creation or change. Only violate when they are ready.

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  • 425. At 10:28pm on 24 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    "But is it art?"


    But is it advertising for Russian Vodka?

    Does Europe want Russia in the fold in light of the Putin mafias recent gas saga, Russian "businessmen" employing mafia like expensive assassination methods using polonium 210, and the continual human rights abuses up to and including assassination of members of the press.
    Above all is this blog an nice advert for the Russian Vodka industry?
    Or is WebAliceinwonderland merely using this blog to write a novel as a smokescreen and distraction from the international incident that a con artist provoked with an offending work of "art"?

    Come on Mardell get a grip on it or it will become WebAliceinwonderland's Euroblog.

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  • 426. At 04:56am on 25 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Come on Mardell get a grip on it or it will become WebAliceinwonderland's Euroblog."

    Eiffel Tower, you're a bit late with your advice. It already has....a long time ago.

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  • 427. At 05:27am on 25 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nanotchka;

    "You are so controlled society, all by rules, what can you do anyway only fulfill the rules."

    Those rules are the laws. We elect people to pass them and enforce them....except when their friends break them or they are paid to look the other way. You know, like in Russia. We call it the rule of law. The alternative is the cult of personality. You know that too, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Bon Jovi.

    "Ah well I forgot unlike us you can sometimes influence change of rules!"

    We call that democracy. We have the best democracy and politicians in America money can buy. Our new President is the world's leading expert on soliciting money on the internet. Nobody else comes close. He spent more money to buy his election than any other politician in history. Other politicians will study his successful techniques for decades to come.

    So Russia is not governed by rule of law and is not a democracy. Now tell me something I didn't already know.

    Is Russia dying? One million fewer Russians every year. In 150 years there will be none left if this rate holds. Who will live in Russia then, the Chinese? Who will stop them? If you are going to die, I think it is best to die in your sleep. If you can't die in your sleep, it's best to die drunk, stone drunk, zapoy, zapped.

    Ever think of becoming a "Zapatista?" Those are the rebels in Mexico.

    http://www.zapatistarevolution.com/

    Would you become zapoy on tequila in Mexico? You could be a zapoy Zapatista. Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico. Probably on Stalin's orders. If he was lucky, he was shot during his siesta. Better to die in your sleep, even in Mexico. Time for me to go to sleep now. It's the middle of the night where I am. Besides, I'm zappoy on 1990 Chateau Meyney. I didn't rinse it around my mouth too much. Mostly I drank glass after glass...for the effect. Z-A--P----P-o......................................:-) Das Vadalia.

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  • 428. At 1:10pm on 25 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Doctuer_Eiffel,

    You have a choice of 10 themes open, of which politically incorrect Russia in on 3.

    Still too much? I take myself off here and leave the floor to you.

    I honestly thought no amount of deviations can harm a thread nearing 500. Unless it's about Germany, discussions normally don't spill over half a thousand posts.

    But as you complain to the daddy.

    Who will you complain to in non-virtual life, BTW? Where there is no Mark Mardell.
    To Jesus Christ Allmighty, "take Russia off away from the map?"

    Apparently you think the best way to keep comms with a nasty neighbour is by exchanging notes btw Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

    Kremlin plotting, aha, to screen vital EU Art discussion by "a smoke screen of Russian vodka." I simply answered a question of another blogger. No, don't recommend you or anybody to drink Russian vodka. It's alcohol, bad.
    And even Russian vodka is in a way, like Nokia, - connecting people! which you can't say about all art.

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  • 429. At 8:45pm on 25 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    So I was correct
    It was just a marketing ploy
    And Russian vodka, as we have seen reported, unites people in death.
    So thread-crapping (an internationally recognised term) is popular with you...

    Methinks the Russian marketing department doth protest too much. You, Russia, are not in Europe for good reason.

    P.S. do you advertise noodles? And does Cerny's "art piece" look like radioactive Russian noodles? Anyone for a nice cup of tea?

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  • 430. At 9:09pm on 25 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    And MarcusAureliusII the USA is not in Europe for good reason too so your nice thread-crapping (an internationally recognised term) fest with our nice Russian marketting pro is manifest.
    Perhaps the Czech Republic really wants to become merely another state of the USA and Cerny is merely now sponsored by that political direction.

    The interesting politic behind anything Czech is that Kafka's entire collection was not published in the Czech language until about two years ago. Maybe the Czech bureaucracy is not as savvy as it could be and SOME foreign interests might be tempted to exploit that to drive a wedge into Europe. i.e. those not in Europe.
    As for anti Jewish interests appearing in Europe? Well some (no not all) Jewish people deliberately confuse the difference between religion and nationality.
    And there is good reason why Israel isn't in Europe either.
    So you see your divisive comments don't phase me in the least. And your deliberate nicely nice thread-crapping (an internationally recognised term) is wide open for all to see.
    Your nicing off of the topic is an elaborate thought terminating cliche.

    American Abstract Expressionism was sponsored by the CIA.

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  • 431. At 01:09am on 26 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    The X-Files
    Top Secret
    (on reading to be burned)

    Nana Scully to Centre.

    Mulderius, roof blown. Dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit.

    The plot to replace gas with vodka in Gazprom tubes void.
    Operation "Wedge into Europe" busted.

    Dr. No says No. (Attest to his high spirits and relaxed manner).

    Confirm attendance at the other meeting thread. The usual time, the usual place.

    Start collecting data for the file "Sobriety as the key to undestanding Abstract Impressionism".

    PS Running out of Ceylon Orange Pekoe, repeat, Ceylon Orange Pekoe. Bring 2-3 kilos. Recalibrate.

    Password: Russia is not in Europe for good reason.
    Reply: USA is not in Europe for good reason too.

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  • 432. At 07:15am on 26 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    Docteur Eiffel # 429 & 430: “Allez France!”. However it is my duty to remind you that 20 millions of Russians died in WW2 for the allies’ cause… You say ‘Anyone for a nice cup of tea’. But how about the hundreds of thousands of Algerians who perished until ‘les accord d’Evian’? Or you prefer to read the European history as it is written after the year 2000?

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  • 433. At 10:04am on 26 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Alice 431: Alice, this discussion is useless thought I fully accept your argument about the reasons why both Russia and the US cannot be members of the EU. However, it is your privilege to remind to our friend Dr. Eiffel that until 1917 St.Petersburg was just another decent European capital where it was quite normal to meet people coming from all the royal families of England, of Prussia, of Sweden, of Denmark, of Austria-Hungary and of France… While at the same time, our ‘new big brother’, coming from beyond the ocean, was rather seen as a riding, smiling and good intended chap until the moment he met some resistance he quickly eliminated with a pair of Smith & Wesson… God bless America! Let’s hope that Barrack will try to alter a little bit the picture …
    I just remind you of this well forgotten story, because if our ‘new and priceless’ big brother could present us, say ‘just one notorious and well appreciated George Gershwin’, here in Europe, just one country like Russia, could be proud of at least twenty geniuses like Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Khachaturian, Shostakovich, etc., etc…. Not to speak of colossuses like Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hertz, Belinsky, Turgenev, etc., etc…. Not to speak of artists like Leviathan, Malevich, Kandinsky, etc., etc…. Not to speak of poetry…. where Russia has never lost his privileged place…ever since ‘Ya pomnyu tchudnoe mgnovenie…’ was written…

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  • 434. At 11:21am on 26 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Actually...

    432. At 07:15am on 26 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    Docteur Eiffel # 429 & 430: ?Allez France!?. However it is my duty to remind you that 20 millions of Russians died in WW2 for the allies? cause? You say ?Anyone for a nice cup of tea?. But how about the hundreds of thousands of Algerians who perished until ?les accord d?Evian?? Or you prefer to read the European history as it is written after the year 2000?

    ... how many were put to death by Russians for a Georgian's paranoia? How many were starved to death by their own bureaucrats?
    AND as for fighting for "freedom" I have it on the best authority that any soldier is far too busy fighting to keep his skin on his/her back, and fighting for an ideal is furthest from mind.

    You presume I am French how quaint of you.
    I am human from the planet Earth and I call a donkey a donkey.

    The same people who ran the Soviet Union are running Russia.
    And the real thousand year Reich will be celebrated quietly in 2066.

    And back on topic
    "But is it art?"
    Yes but it is mostly politics and the Czech bureaucrats should have spotted that and not used arts funding to promote a politic.

    OK so you may call it art but what is it good for? What does it do? And how does that compare to the artists intentions?
    To me Entropa is the promotion of entropy, particularly neurotic nihilism which is fashionable to the postmodern arts junta.
    Heartless scab picking.

    So ironfranco you advocate thread-crapping (an internationally recognised term) You see a Snickers Bar is a confection just like the old Topic. Incidentally made by the same company named after a family named after a planet. And our Russian and American friends have been driving the thread well off topic. They are busy using this thread to advertise yet more heartless scab picking. Avoidance of the very real issues the thread title implies.

    And ironfranco your "duty" to inform me? You work for a govt.? Which one?
    Please save your patronising for the arts.
    Perhaps some suprematist gulag art for you to look at with your cup of tea. One spoon of 210 or two?

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  • 435. At 1:31pm on 26 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    433. At 10:04am on 26 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:
    "To Alice 431: Alice, this discussion is useless thought I fully accept your argument about the reasons why both Russia and the US cannot be members of the EU. However, it is your privilege to remind to our friend Dr. Eiffel that until 1917 St.Petersburg was just another decent European capital where it was quite normal to...."
    spit on beggars and kill "slanderers" and engage in assassinations. Sounds like only yesterday/today/tomorrow.

    Hey WebAliceinwonderland enjoy your privilege... ha ha
    Pour yourself a couple of fingers of Victory Gin Winston. Be careful you could get used to that "boot in the face of humanity forever".

    Art transcends borders. The planet is under our feet. Nationalism is in your head together with the scissors of self censorship.

    More people by far on those wagon trains heading west (young man) shot themselves dead and wounded themselves in accidents than did the American Natives. The reservation gulags and diseased blankets killed many many more people.

    Lets hope President B.Ob' halts the arms aid to Israel which is used to bomb the aid provided by the U.N. The same U.N. the U.S.A. govt. refuses to pay money into because American tax payers money is already being paid into by way of a military contribution. So European tax paid aid is being bombed by USA tax paid arms aid. Too complicated for you? The USA economy is at war with the European economy and right now that is very visible.
    The atrocity can be best spoken about by the persecuted themselves.

    All the more reason for more compassion and less arrogant nationalism and downright thread-crapping (an internationally recognised term) distractions.

    P.S. Malevich was a pompous twit. So too is that Cerny.

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  • 436. At 2:28pm on 26 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 437. At 3:40pm on 26 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Doctuer Eiffel, @435. Wow! Such hatred? Oosing from the pores.
    Images of beggars, that Russians spit on.
    in 1917. sick methaphor, though. never met in writing before.

    poisoned blankets dancing in your head.
    that you repeat "internationally recognised" every second line.

    Can I allow myself not to reply to the list of accusations? I think I can. LOL.

    The problem may be you somehow managed to hate Russia and USA simultaneously. Now, each separately, would be to load onto yourself a gargantuan task by itself, LOL, and the two combined... Short-cuts and black-outs in interaction?

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  • 438. At 3:58pm on 26 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Doctor Eiffel 434:
    Dearest Doc, I’ll try my best to satisfy your curiosity, as the Brits would put it “step by step”
    Primo: the casualties, on both sides, in the Russian/Georgian conflict amount to several hundred (though those of the Georgians seem to make the double of the Russian ones)
    Segundo: The “starved to death” in Russia in the 20s of the last centuries are believed (according to Russian sources) to amount to several millions… The same people who have run the USSR still run Russia maybe, but they are compelled to obey the class of the oligarchs… (What is an oligarch in your opinion?)
    Terzo: Your statement that “any soldier is far too busy to keep his skin on his back” is really funny. One cannot win a victory without some notion of courage and sacrifice in his mind. (It seems that these euphemisms are totally unknown on your planet)
    And back to the topic: there is good art we are used to call “Masterpiece”, and there is bad art which is the case of the “Entropa” installation (I guess this is the only point where our tastes coincide…)
    Quattro: I certainly am not a lawyer to advocate whatever “privilege” to “advertise yet more heartless scab picking…” But it is my privilege to make some comparison between some evident discrepancies in terms of cultural achievements in Russia and in the US… and, last but not least,
    Being a free citizen of the Pluto planet, I take my daily pleasure in having two or three cups of highly enriched plutonium tea. As to the gulag art “I am supposed to look at” , one of my favorite authors, Alexander Soljenitzine taught me how it looked like when I was 15…
    Satisfied?

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  • 439. At 11:43am on 27 Jan 2009, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    Per Entropa, is it a commonly held stereotype that Latvia is mountainous, or that Hungary instantly brings to mind an Atomium ?

    Yes to Russia in the fold !
    Long live smokescreens and distractions !
    All praise to Mardell's grip !
    Let's succumb to marketing ploys !
    Noodles for every pot !
    USA needs more states !
    Divisive comments - connecting people !
    Additional CIA sponsoring now !

    You can lead an elaborate thought-terminating cliche to water, but you can't make it drink vodka (an internationally recognised term).

    I have read that pouring inexpensive vodka four times through an activated-carbon water filter (such as a Brita) will detectably improve the vodka. As I still struggle to understand abstract impressionism, though, I have not yet tried this for myself.

    But is it art ? I agree with the last sentence of comment 387.

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  • 440. At 12:41pm on 27 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    the last sentence 387:

    "Art like beauty appears to be in the eye of the beholder."

    Art is not a hammer or a mirror it is BOTH

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  • 441. At 1:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Errorfranco

    I was talking about Russias favourite Georgian Stalin. Not on your list of famous Russians naturally.
    How many did he have done away with out of that 20 million who threw themselves into war just for my freedom? The word conscript is a fancy (nice) word for slave.

    "One cannot win a victory without some notion of courage and sacrifice in his mind."

    You are in dreamland. Courage and sacrifice have no place in prolonged utter fear, complete exhaustion and conditioned response mixed with a substantial dose of barbiturates. You have been watching too much Hollyweird.
    People without sleep for 6 days are dehumanised and capable of anything. Including, and not limited to, laughing while they commit the atrocity.

    Webalice: No not hate.
    The reality of what is done inside the parameters of the "art world" and a dose of realism not niced up for the dumbed down is worth facing.
    This economic downturn, recession, oops! actually it IS a crash, will make those economies run by height challenged politicians yet more desperate and as has been shown before and proven the art world is not immune to political interference. There are the power games of SOME artists also to be considered. Such fragile inflated egos. Just like the politicians who are also into making an exhibition of themselves. Pop goes the movement when it becomes establishment unless enough money can be thrown at it.

    Cultural imperialism is retarded as is all imperialism.

    You see the thread title is asking

    but IS it art?

    Cerny is funded by who now to exhibit in what building to promote what?
    European humour? Cerny's humour isn't funny. He is a failed comedian. Gosh and we were led to believe he was an artist and not an artiste!

    So webalice who do you think is financing what for what with Cerny's offending article?

    Still no explanation as to why the Anarchists black flag is now flying over the Bulgaria insult.

    And as for "Art like beauty appears to be in the eye of the beholder."

    Excreta still stinks and a rose does not. The la la hysteria of some peoples post-modern nihilistic response to the politic and political narrative behind the production is proof of their analytically challenged ignorance and a willingness to accept any atrocity because of their careless stance.
    There is a grand narrative. You just don't get it.

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  • 442. At 1:45pm on 27 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Beauty - is a scary and horrible thing!
    Scary - because un-definable, and to define you can't - because God set us riddles only.
    Here river banks meet, contradictions live together.

    Some higher even, by heart, man, and with a mind - high, starts from the ideal of Madonna, and ends up by the Sodom.

    More scary, when who is already with ideal of Sodom in soul, but does not reject the Madonna ideal, and mind it, with Madonna ideal - burns his soul! indeed burns, like in the young sinless years possible only... Is beauty - in Sodom?

    What is awful is that beauty is not only horrible but a mysterious thing as well.

    Here devil and God struggle; and the battle field - hearts of people.

    Karamazov brothers

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  • 443. At 3:31pm on 27 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Doctuer_Eiffel,

    to deny sacrifice and valour?

    do you really.

    It's easy for me to say "speak for yourself", but don't believe you do really, deny it. there is something tricky about you can't understand what.

    war here proved us million times, sacrifice and valour exist. as if anyone had a doubt! LOL

    I think you can drive any man to animal conditions. or what is commonly called "beast" stage (because animals are IMO far finer than humans).

    However this will be the last stage, and oh so many died before - in valour. and in sacrifice, - before reaching that stage.
    How about that!

    In war you have plenty of options to die, and step to the front, and risk your life, or take somebody else's burden - save a friend with your own life, innumerous.
    No beastly state - mind it. You'll simply die before. As easy as that. !

    With Stalin. Are you a Frenchman? I doubted in 436, that was found violating the House Rules. I know, I know, citizen of the universe, of course, so well-being of France - an empty word for you?

    In 436 I wrote that's a strange Frenchman, who does not remember the metamorphose in the status of France. That took place btw May 7th and and 8th - Americans (and everybody else) taking the German surrender in Rheims and Russians (and everybody else) taking it in Berlin.

    The last country in the world to complain about Stalin I always thought will be France.
    Unless of course, as a citizen of the universe, you think it'll be right and proper if France who surrended to the Germans - lost its colonies post war to other "interested parties" as well.

    I looked up in sites, the places France owned in 1939, making for 27% of country's revenue. Mamma mia. I can't spell half of the countries.
    BTW - what did you write about "Russian Reich", LOL? With our poor 14 republics, by far and large - acquired in tsar times. That we let go 20 years ago.
    And - by the way - have "returned to the place" the Eastern and Central Europe as well.

    The list of fancy countries who still speak French in the world is fascinating! You had the 2nd Empire, after the British one. And tell Russians they own something that is not theirs?!
    Did people in these incredible places were born French? French Guinea, Djibouti, Cote d Ivoir, Mauritius, Haiti, Gabon, Rwanda, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Senegal, Dagomea, French Equador, Magadascar, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Mauritania, French Sudan, Upper Volta, Algir, Reunion, Martinica, Qadelupa, Cambodia Togo and Vanuatu forgot Algir and don't know who else.

    Who I miss in the "surrender" document, on the "victorers" side, the ones who took the surrender, not "everybody else who surrendered themselves" - is Jugoslavia.
    why not Poland, by the way?
    What is the diff. btw France and Poland and Jugoslavia?

    The only diff. - Poland and Jugoslavia were considered not worth of the glory as victorers, compared to France. Another weight in the world.
    Meanwhile, in civillian resistance and loss - these two follow Russia.

    German supplies to the Eastern front were hindered exactly by Jugoslavian civillians' resistance.

    You talk here about "sacrifice"! What prevented Jugoslavians occupied to sit hush and obey the orders? Meanwhile they were driving German trucks with war loads, on the way to Russia. Chained to the wheel. Because Germans didn't dare to drive those trucks, partisans sent them off mountain cliffs persistently. You know of a truck column, 30 drivers, chained to the drivers' cabin? When on top passing through the mountains - they all turned the wheels to the abyss, and went down, taking armament to the abyss with them.
    Ball of fire - that's what was left of the column. This is - help to the fighting Russians. This is - valour. First water.

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  • 444. At 3:59pm on 27 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Vanyucha #443: Bravo my brother! It seems some people did not read well the history!

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  • 445. At 8:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Again a pile of thread-crapping. What's the matter can you not make a point without going off on a tangent?

    There is a difference between tactics and logistics. Both are mutually dependent.
    As for history books I prefer to hear it from the people who were there. So please forgive me for reiterating the general opinion of old soldiers, old sailors, and old airmen. The number who spoke with me ALL said "well what was that all about!" regarding their experience.
    They understood the need for choreography before the act but inside they were a curled up child crying while their body automatically "performed". Fear.

    Only helpless people who want to be saved want heroes and it is an anti democratic concept.

    My informants tell me the knowledge of what was going on in Europe under the Nazis was known by the general populace of Britain and there was a general consensus that everyone would fight to the death rather than walk into a room to be gassed. Is that bravery or desperation? The secret units with secret dugouts ready to pop up with explosives after the wave of German army has passed to destroy as much logistics and military personel as possible before being "caught"...
    Suicide? bravery or desperation?
    I think they were more brave keeping their secret from family and community and facing the accusation/question why are you not at the front. Many were so indoctrinated by that desperate arrangement that they kept the secret and maintained the dugout secretly many many years later. Conditioning.

    So.... the sailor, the soldier, the airman, and the civilians who fought told me about their experience. They are the ones who scoffed at the word bravery. They were too busy being scared to be brave.
    These stories did not originate from only one side or only one war.

    AND...
    2066 - 1066 = 1000 years

    You really have no idea about the "heart of darkness" do you!

    Cerny has a tactic and he has resources. What are they and who are they supplying him?
    You continually refuse to consider the implications of his aims and objectives like all hysterical post-modern ostriches.

    So the invasive stance of forcing puerile humour on to the European art stage is not the human presentation which speaks of cohesion and peace which is neurologically proven to be our prime motivation.

    Finally

    My heart goes out to those, who once conscripted had an enlightenment experience, and had to dance the dance.

    I am growing tired of this mobbing and mutual back tapping going on now.
    I find your argument boring.

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  • 446. At 10:39pm on 27 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Doctueur_Eiffel.
    I am sorry I really don't understand what you wish to say.

    I will think overnight what you asked me, "who has financed the work of Cerny and what for."

    Isn't it all just a silly joke? You really think there is some will driving the project, other than artists' own desire to be a bit fussy?

    The only thing I understood so far is you might be an artist yourself, or someone related closely to the art world. therefore you care that we don't deviate and keep to the artistic value of the work, it is really important for you.
    I am sorry if it is so, and you really wish to discuss art. This I can understand, not many threads on anything artistic, kind of a one-off occasion. And if one is really interested in Art - indeed no more chances likely to discuss it here, on the EU cross-roads, kind of in the near future.
    Well then I am sorry.

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  • 447. At 12:05pm on 28 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    Dr. Eiffel, I apology for what I have just written about the way you read history. It was silly of me to mix moral values with politics (for any formal history book is written or rather dictated by the people in power).
    You say that only helpless people want to be saved by heroes and that it is an antidemocratic concept. You are definitely right! However, I would dare to develop your vision by adding that if the evil, as a social phenomenon, gather momentum and represent a danger for all of us, maybe we do need some heroes to organize the resistance (no matter whether they are in the parliament, in the trade union or in the police office)?
    I agree with your concept about the lack of morals in David Cerny’s work and about the evident substitution of the need of cohesion & peace by the invasive stance of forced and puerile humor on the European art stage. And I thank you for this valuable vision of how, we the European people should consider any important cultural performance in London, in Brussels, or say, in Sofia.
    And I shall remember your last message, namely ‘My heart goes out to those, who once conscripted had an enlightenment experience, and had to dance the dance…’
    Thank you Doc. Eiffel. Once again, I do apology for my silly behavior.
    Sofia, Jan. 28 2009

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  • 448. At 1:25pm on 28 Jan 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Alice #446: Alice, I think that I should leave this discussion and I invite you to do the same.

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  • 449. At 2:24pm on 28 Jan 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    See, Doctueur_Eiffel, we're nice people here. (even that you dis-like the word)
    We don't know exactly for what - but we apologise anyway! and you accused us of mobbing and back-patting :o)

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  • 450. At 10:15pm on 31 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland... What sense does it make to you in apologising if you don't know what you are apologising for?

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  • 451. At 10:20pm on 31 Jan 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    It is not reductionist to see the very clear choice between compassion and arrogance. It takes an appreciation and acceptance of the complexity within and without to be able to see it and make the natural choice.

    Ironfranco thankyou.

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  • 452. At 00:58am on 01 Feb 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I apologised in case you happen to be an artist or someone very interested in the field, who I distract from discussing art in this thread.

    "don't know what for" reflects 2 thoughts.

    1. Is it really worth to apologise to man who intentionally offends you and doesn't think of apologies.
    2. Are you interested to discuss art.

    I don't understand you and don't know what to think. In this mode every next post won't contribute to anything sensible. You clearly feel offended and about myself rest assured I am.
    So what to do, not all can talk to all. Let's leave it out.

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  • 453. At 7:34pm on 01 Feb 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    We... ? Pluralis Majestatis ?

    I am not interested in your conditional apology. Pathetic and cynical mannerism is merely passive aggressive patronising. What is your insecurity that you have to behave like that? A child can decript the cynical thrust of Cerny's playtoy for wannabe badboys. I have no reason to apologise to you.

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  • 454. At 01:49am on 02 Feb 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    My insecurity is that there are still too many words left in the psychiatric dictionary.

    Why do I like the Cherny masterpiece more and more, day after day?

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  • 455. At 09:11am on 02 Feb 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To Doctor Eiffel # 451:
    You are welcome. In art there is no place for irresponsible experiences.
    Once again I apologise for the "mutual back tapping going on"... I think Alice will share this comment.

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  • 456. At 6:25pm on 02 Feb 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Psychopathic bullies of any kind in art or elsewhere find psychology obnoxious. Wonder why?

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  • 457. At 6:54pm on 02 Feb 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Ironfranco

    Intelligent communication is always a pleasure and a delight. Cerny's attempt was limiting and not encouraging anything other than shallow thought terminating cliches.

    Monkey see monkey do. (a scientifically recognised process)
    Cerny is part of the dumbing down process.
    Who sponsors that?

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  • 458. At 01:25am on 03 Feb 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I planned to jump the ship several days ago. but my buddy forgot to flush medications down the toilet. again.

    Eiffel, without France. Doctor - and lack of patients? Phony, phony world.

    Ciao, Doc. One flew East, one flew West, one flew over the Cuckoo's nest.












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  • 459. At 07:55am on 03 Feb 2009, one step beyond wrote:

    Did not realise this was still going, yes it is next question :-)

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  • 460. At 07:55am on 03 Feb 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    To #457 & #458: Dearest Alice, before leaving definitely this blog (as well as the blog named EU-Russia tensions) I would like to thank you for the attention you paid to me (I mean your detailed comments concerning art and our mutual history). It seems that you make part of the old St.Petersburg intelligentsia that somehow survived after the Stalin purges and the Leningrad blockade. I thank you once again. If I visit your nice city some day, I will let you know in advance… However, I would allow myself to comment the last message Dr.Eiffel wrote to me, namely: “Cerny's attempt was limiting and not encouraging anything other than shallow thought terminating cliches”.
    You see friend, when somebody advances as arguments only moral values, there is no more place for bargaining or for additional discussions. Which is the reason why I left the blog a little bit ashamed…? And I felt encouraged at the same time because Dr.Eiffel’s comments about the Cerny’s installation sound like a final moral verdict over any attempt to substitute real art achievements for irresponsible experiences which would insult rather than inspire all of us… citizens of Europe.
    However, I tried my best to defend the place Russia deserves in terms of art not because I am Slav born and orthodox. I just tried to remind all these nice people who joined Mark Mardell’s blog that Russia is a first class power in terms of art achievements which make part of our common European cultural heritage…
    Sofia, Bulgaria, Jan. 27 2009

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  • 461. At 1:58pm on 05 Feb 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    459. At 07:55am on 03 Feb 2009, jordanbasset wrote:

    Did not realise this was still going, yes it is next question :-)

    What is the "next" question?

    Next... what usually happens when the economic cycle reaches the point we are in right now is a world war with millions upon millions dead.

    So Jordanbasset yes it is still going on and your imprecise comment is mere thread crapping complexity phobia because the issues remain the same. Your comment is pointless attention seeking. Not even as "elaborate" as Cerny's petty thought terminating cliche.
    What's the matter you only have the attention span of a Mayfly?

    Responsibility IS communication.
    You like Cerny have no story and nothing to say.

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  • 462. At 7:33pm on 04 May 2009, rugbyarts wrote:

    Of course it is art! Anything and everything by way of expression is art. Whether or not it is aesthetic is purely subjective. Art is communication. Nothing necessarily any more than that.

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