On the 1st of January 2011, Estonia will replace its existing currency, the Estonian Kroon, with the Euro. The European Central Bank (ECB) and Eesti Pank are carrying out a mass media campaign, including four TV spots, to support preparations for this changeover. The European Union's Minister of Finance has approved the official exchange rate at changeover to be 15.6466 EEK for 1 Euro.
Tallinn University of Technology’s Centre for Biorobotics has been working in cooperation with the Estonian Media Artists Union to offer an alternative way of changing money from Estonian Kroons to Euros. They will install a robotic Holy Euro Cow that will offer Estonian citizens the possibility to change 1 Kroon into 1 Euro at an exchange rate of 1:1, instead of the official rate 15.6466:1 for a limited period to exchange the money, the 1 Kroon coin has to be inserted into the cow’s mouth. After a short delay the 1 Euro coin will drop out from the Cow’s other end.
This interactive art project will be installed in downtown Tallinn, and is one of several cultural events of the Plektrum festival, celebrating Tallinn as the European Capital of Culture 2011. Through this public event artists, inventors and researchers aim to deliver a message valuing the old currency of Estonia and the fiscal politics of the Estonian bank. These have formed the basis of the fast growing Estonian economy since entry into European Union in 2004, while at the same time welcoming the Euro that has been the holy grail (or holy cow) of the official policy of the Estonian bank and government for many years.
The exhibit offers a memorable way to mark this historic event, by offering a symbolic currency exchange during the cold and dark Estonian winter.