Stefanos

Since when does currency show people fleeing buildings in terror?

Things have not progressed well for Greece since its former debt-straddled government took a second bailout in 2012. The country still owes some €317 billion to its creditors—an amount that "might as well be a million bajillion euros" given the likelihood it'll be paid back, writes the Washington Postand unemployment is at a shockingly high 25 percent.

Greece's leaders are in thorny talks this week to renegotiate the bailout before it expires at the end of the month. If a suitable deal isn't struck, some are speculating the dead-broke government will be forced to leave the euro zone. With such uncertainty in the air, and social unrest in the streets, it's no wonder that migrants who came to Greece for work now want to get the hell out of Dodge.

Those who actually have money might have noticed this doom and gloom reflected in the E.U.'s physical currency. A handful of euro notes have circulated depicting ominous events like people fleeing buildings, hanging themselves, and writing bloody-looking graffiti that reads, "THE END IS NIGH." Playing off the typical euro note's blandly interesting and politically approved historical architecture, this altered money strikes right to the heart of the crisis.

The bills are the work of shadowy artist Stefanos, whose project, "Euro Banknote Bombing," is spreading Greek strife all over Europe like a wallet-dwelling virus. Since 2014, Stefanos has drawn on euros and then spent them, an act he hopes conveys the "economic and social instability in Greece" to consumers. He explains more about the project:

observing the euro banknote landscapes one notices a lack of any reality, whatsoever for the last five years the crumbling greek economy has hatched violence and social decay—so, I decided to fuse these two things. through hacking the banknotes I'm using a european [document] that is in cross-border circulation, including greecethus, the medium allows me to 'bomb' public property from the comfort of my home.

Here's a selection of Stefanos' altered cash; some of the ones on his website get more graphic:

Stefanos

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  2. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

  3. A photo of shoppers on University Avenue in East Palo Alto, California, which is flanked by two technology campuses.
    Equity

    An Island of Silicon Valley Affordability Says Yes to More Housing

    East Palo Alto is surrounded by tech riches, but that hasn’t necessarily helped longtime residents, who welcome a state law mandating zoning reform

  4. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  5. A photo of single-family homes along a hillside in San Marcos, California.
    Equity

    The Political Battle Over California's Suburban Dream

    State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 50 would rewrite the state’s single-family zoning codes. What's wrong with that? A lot, say opponents.