Inquisitive Slaps
Rem Koolhaas Image of Europe 2001

Next, I am going to talk about this youtube video made by the Guardian in collaboration with the Dutch architects Rem Koolhaas and Stephan Petermann following the visual language of the “image of Europe” barcode flag of the European Union by Rem Koolhaas. First, I would like to quote the video description, it says, “In the week of the EU elections, the Dutch architects Rem Koolhaas and Stephan Petermann are working to create a new image of the EU, by moving it away from that of a faceless bureaucracy and considering its key achievements. With data sourced from the European commission, here are their nine reasons why EU membership, at roughly the same cost as a monthly Netflix subscription, is worth it”. This utopian portrayals seems problematic to me because the designers not only propose an identity for the Union which is solely based on a symbol of Capitalism, the barcode, they are also trying to sell the value of a Union by comparing the membership cost to that of a subscriptive product such as Netflix. I believe that this act not only cheapens the cultural and social value of the union but also shifts the focus on being able to sell as a product rather than standing for values like “Unity” which the original EU flag represents. I see nothing wrong with redesigning a country’s flag, but I believe that the flag should represent the people and not political agendas. This shift in meaning of flags from representing principles and value to representing a product is again a way of enticing and attracting consumers, in this case people purchasing a EU membership by manipulating them with a visual language that  they are used to. I have nothing against a country promoting it’s economic growth but, this culture of productising every little thing brings in a sort of mindset that is difficult to forgo and that to me is problematic.