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Description of campaign/project

This project presents a series of graphic artifacts and interfaces that represent a new form of state. Presented as an application procedure, participants apprehend the ideology and conditions of membership and come to question and consider the possibilities of joining an alternative social/economic/political arrangement.

This imaginary "state" called "GRIC" (referring to BRIC, however GRIC functions as a financial alliance/new financial axis) is a hybrid of Greece and Iceland, two countries on the periphery of the developed West, who have demonstrated a capacity for the democratic subversion of the traditional nation-state form and the debt-forms (money) that reify their hegemony (through taxation [in reference to David Graeber]).
This hybrid arrangement comes as a response to the punishing demands of the global financial market, and speculates on a post-"Grexit" scenario.

The mode of the work is speculative, but as with all speculation, there is an implicit seed of possibility. By exercising the speculative mode, graphic design can be practiced as a way to critically produce blueprints for possible political programs and to examine existing ones.

To make visible and concrete abstract operations in order to make them vulnerable to critique and action.

Working on this project actually offered us a way out of the current rhetorics which is keeping Greece hostage at the moment. By redefining a new scenario for Greece/Iceland we found new tools to deal with financial crisis ourselves (being young Europeans/North Americans that are effected in many ways and feel solidarity for our generation in the PIGS, .......)

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

As a graphic designer, I can't help but love the idea behind this project. It instantly reminds me of the speculative work of Metahaven, and though this certainly isn't a criticism, it has become a bit of a barometer for this kind of work.

The core concept of this work is very strong, positioning Greece and Iceland as a new axis of economic discourse. The flipping of value and roles is quite insightful, and having this then contrasted by the "post-digital" nature of the applications, and the concept of a direct democracy platform is quite engaging theoretically as well. However, I feel like there have not been enough details provided, both in the submission text and image supplement to really judge the quality of this "experiment".

What is the functional basis of the GRIC, standing in opposition to the BRIC? There doesn't seem to be enough research done, or work produced, yet in order to really imagine this...

I do very much like your explanation of why this is "good" work; "because your enemies think it's bad." Unfortunately I don't think you've quite gotten there yet, it would need to be made much "worse", and much "louder" for your enemies to even care.

This seems to be a project in its early phases, and I do look forward to seeing how this will develop further. On an aesthetic level, I think there is an interesting direction (again, heavily influenced by the work of metahaven). I wonder if this is genuinely appropriate for the project though, or if you are just following their lead. If it is appropriate, perhaps it needs to be pushed even further, again, to piss off your enemies in the design world a little more.

View other works commented by Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo  ››

The makers of GRIC aim to create ‘A new form of state’. This could mean a personal/individual ‘state of mind’ – it could be a geographic/political one and it could be both. By proposing an optimistic and empowered alternate/alternative reality (through art), GRIC re-defines and exposes the on-going fragility of geo economic 'situations', like those currently taking place in Iceland + Greece. This project is revolutionary in its ability to undermine established norms and agendas that are solely being shaped, controlled and re-PRESENTED by self-serving government agencies, financial institutions and media corporations (entities which are the polar opposite of art – entities which claim to serve the individual, but are motivated by money, power and control at their core, vs. humanity, compassion or freedom of self).

By advocating for an alternative 'better' and socially-conscious system; and because GRIC's artists have chosen to appropriate and re-purpose the same visual tools and mechanisms used by those in power (websites, apps, identity cards, PIN #s, ads etc) - viewers quickly question and recognize the delicate nature of ANY actual economic 'reality' in our world today, even strong and ‘untroubled ones’ and how this could (and possibly does) personally affect any one of us. This idea becomes even more significant when we consider that our 'real' geo-political and economic systems are literally virtual now - and anything (money, credit, personal identity) that was once physically tangible and/or trackable has been electronically replaced and repackaged by a simulated version of itself.

The theory and approach of GRIC is reminiscent of the Fluxus movement (eg. Yoko Ono's on-going 'Give Peace a Chance' project), as well as the French Situationist art movement from the 1950-70s (Guy Debord etc), whose use of design, performance and revolution helped to globally re-envision a more caring and conscious societal reality and future - one that is still incredibly relevant sixty years later (significantly affecting the Occupy movement, inspiring publications like AdBusters etc). It is inspiring to know that art actually DOES have the power to change how we think and perceive ourselves in this world and encourages us to see and believe that there are achievable alternatives to those forced by advanced capitalism and the military-industrial complex. We need more art pieces that ignite social action and undermine the fabricated policies and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the defense industrial base that supports them. The beauty of GRIC is that it compassionately connects us with others (through performance, multiples, internet art and well-intended strategic implementation) and reminds us that we *DO* have the power to change and define our own self-determined future(s) together.

*Sidenote to the creators - It would also be interesting if you 1) formed real corporations (a bank, for example) 2) became a real political party 3) establish a (love) army to further push this compelling idea and be absorbed into actual society.

View other works commented by Katie Bush  ››

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This work has been commented by 2 curator(s):
Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo Katie Bush go to comments ›

Entry details




GRIC - New Alliance

Concept author(s)

Femke Herregraven, Chris Lee, Nina Støttrup Larsen, Henrik Van Leeuwen

Concept author year(s) of birth

1982, 1981, 1981,1981

Concept author(s) contribution

Design collaborators. Based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Originally from NL, CA, DK, NL



Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

We are a group of designers, who work in the grey-zone between design, art, writing, editing, programming. We are independent and work on both commissioned and self-initiated work. Previous projects conducted by our group are i.e.: The Art Reserve Bank situated in the heart of the financial district in Amsterdam, which was featured in the Dutch Financial newspaper and various other media. Another project is a special workshop on currency, which recently made Slovenian national television.