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Face The Euro

“Face the Euro” deals with the relationship between man and money in our society.

It’s an interactive project, which takes place between the participants and us, the artists. If you want to take part in the project, you must have your photo taken and then have it printed on your 5 Euro banknote. This way every banknote becomes part of a growing work of art.We were working out the “Face the Euro” concept during the financial crisis, amidst the growing hysterical predictions of the inevitable collapse of the European Union. All you could hear was incessant talk about banks, debts and percentage. European nations began blaming one another, while their press added fuel to the fire, feeding its provocative headlines to the demotivated citizens. Prejudices, mutual accusations and fear were soaring, terrible scenarios of the coming doom were drawn, and at that moment we felt a desperate need to find something positive, some pivot in that sea of negativity.

What is a man’s role in modern society? What is the role of money? Does money serve me or do I serve money? What can I do for the world around me?

Every day, money passes through our hands. No matter who we are, whatever our origin or religion, whether we are men or women, rich or poor, young or old — money touches and unites all of us and is our most effective means of communication.

Money is impersonal; it can be used for any purpose. It’s up to us to decide how to use it. The actual material on which we print is neutral and has no special value. Its value depends on what we put into it.

The main idea of the project was that despite the economic and political situation, every person if he wants to, can influence the society and its development. If you feel personal responsibility you can make a positive contribution. People who wonder whether or not they should participate in our project, face two problems: they have to part with money and they must have their photo printed on a banknote (a symbol of power) and thereby damage it. Both problems are interesting; they demonstrate how a small piece of paper can influence our conscience and our behavior. Therefore, every participant makes two important moves: he gives away some money and he puts his personality above the money. It may be a trifle, but it has a great symbolic meaning. It helps give value to a banknote through a personal gesture, side by side with other individuals and their different motivations. This way every banknote becomes part of a growing work of art.

The reasons for participation in the project are as different as the participants themselves. The most important thing is that our project leads to communication. We made three stopovers – in Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Heerlen – and involved 269 people from Germany, France, Holland, the USA, Russia, Japan, and other countries in our project. We hope to attract more people, since we’ve decided to take our project to all the countries of the European Economic and Monetary Union and create a piece of art which stands for unity and diversity at the same time.

Face the Euro is a project by Daniel Zakharov and Sebastian Hennig

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