GoldenNFT. Freedom of Movement is a Capitalist Right

If you are from a non-European state, own a small fortune and wish to live in the EU, you can purchase the right to do so thanks to the “golden visa” schemes. In many cases, it won’t matter much whether you’re an honest citizen or a criminal. Countries like Portugal, Cyprus or Malta will offer you Golden Visa programs at different price points. Usually, you have to invest into the country, by buying a property for example. Just hand over the cash and you can skip the standard requirements asked of other non-EU citizens to migrate legally.

The Peng! Kollectiv, GoldenNFT. Freedom of Movement is a Capitalist Right, 2021

Nadine Kolodziey, Sweating 2021, 2021

The Peng! Kollectiv decided to take advantage of the controversial programme to short-circuit capitalism and help refugees in dire need of a safe place to live in Europe. The group decided they would buy a family of refugees from Afghanistan one of those golden visas. All they need is small fortune. They estimated that in order to bring the plan to fruition, they would need roughly 630.000 €. The sum includes the real estate investment, the costs of the visa, various taxes, the fees of international tax lawyers and accountants, some “welcome money to Europe” for the family, etc.

The artists plan to raise the funding by tapping into the highly lucrative NFT art market. With the complicity of international artists who each donated an artwork, they would trade the money earned from the sale of NFTs for EU Visas. A simple, slightly provocative strategy to help refugees and to show how deep inequality runs when it comes to having access to a decent life in the EU. As the artists/activists state:

We live in a world where, on the one hand, billions are invested in financial products and, on the other, people are fleeing war and hunger. Capitalism and nationalism form the pillars of our political systems, the cause of ever more escalating injustices.

If everything goes according to plan and Peng! sell NFTs worth 628,453 Euros, a family of five from Afghanistan will be able to start the visa process in Portugal. The first family is that of Milad E., a photographer, filmmaker and citizen journalist.

As for the artists who donated their work (the entire proceeds from the sale of the works will be used to buy the Golden Visas), they are: Nora al Badri, Sibylle Berg, !Mediagroup! Bitnik, Liat Gravyer, Nadine Kolodziey, Felix Kosok, Gretta Louw, Rui Major, Volker Behrend Peters, Tayyebeh Rasouli, Milat, Yaser and Mahmoud from reFOCUS medialab, Jill Senft, UBERMORGEN, Nushin Yazdani, Yes Men and Laura Zalenga.

You Make Profit, Refugees can travel: The GoldenNFT Project

I discovered the project while visiting Beat the System! at Ludwig Forum in Aachen. It’s a rather interesting exhibition and I’ll get back to you with review as soon as things are quieter over here!

Beat the system! Provocation Art, installation view, Ludwig Forum for International Art Aachen, 2021/2022, © Photo: Simon Vogel

Beat the system! Provocation Art, installation view, Ludwig Forum for International Art Aachen, 2021/2022, © Photo: Simon Vogel

GoldenNFT is part of Beat the System!. The exhibition remains open until 30 January 2022 at the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, Germany.