Exodus 2048

Installation view, “Museum as Hub: Be(com)ing Dutch at a Distance,” New Museum, New York, 2009. Photo: Benoit Pailley

Exodus 2048

Artist: Michael Blum

(b. 1966, Jerusalem; lives and works in New York)
Exodus 2048, 2008
Mixed-medium installation
Courtesy the artist

The year is 2048. Global politics have changed dramatically and the U.S. no longer plays such a prominent role. One effect of this new development on an economic and a political level is that they have stopped giving aid to Israel. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are at the point of exploding because of the enormous growth of the Palestinian population. The pressure on the Israeli Jews is so great that they are forced to leave the Holy Land. A boat with 4,500 refugees is adrift in the North Sea and after a heated debate in the Dutch parliament the refugees are accommodated in various public buildings throughout the Netherlands. The Van Abbemuseum is one of these and provides temporary accommodation for 113 Israeli refugees in the clock tower while they await their asylum application.

Here in the New Museum, this “what if” scenario, as imagined by Michael Blum and presented in the clock tower of the Van Abbemuseum, is re-created. We have selected this project to represent the “Imagined Future,” which addresses ideas of the future in speculative and provocative new ways. Blum’s project, when situated in the Netherlands, directly addressed the role of the host and the refugee far into the future. Of course it also referred to the past, with its hidden “Anne Frank-like” scenario, as well as the present, by questioning how the Netherlands deals with asylum seekers from the heart of the fortress of Europe. The U.S.’s own particular history in relation to emigration and its strong relationship with Israel are reflected upon in the installation of Exodus 2048 in the New Museum.