Jacqueline Hassink - Projectomschrijving

Jacqueline Hassink
The Table of Power 2

Project: The Table of Power 2
Photographer: Jacqueline Hassink
Medium: Book

In the project The Table of Power (1993–95) I was searching for a table that symbolized modern society’s most important value: economic power. Industrial multinational corporations are the most powerful commercial institutions of our time (the top ten in Europe had, at the time, a combined revenue of $524,731.8 million). I tried to map European society by photographing the most potentsymbols of power , the meeting tables of the boards of directors of Europe’s forty largest industrial multinational corporations according to the 1994 edition of Fortune’s Global 500 (Fortune’s Global 500 is a ranking of the top five-hundred corporations worldwide as measured by revenue, published annually by the American business magazine Fortune since 1990.)I approached these forty industrial multinational corporations to request their cooperation, contacting them first by telephone and then by fax between July 1993 and July 1995. They answered by letter. Nineteen of them refused, for a variety of reasons, while the remaining twenty-one eventually allowed me to visit their headquarters and photograph their boardroom tables. By photographing the most important corporate tables in Europe, the meeting places of companies’ boards of directors, I began mapping the centers of economic power. 

The Table of Power 2 (2009–11)

In late 2007, with the start of the Great Recession, the economic situation in the world changed dramatically. The largest financial service companies in the United States,  including Lehman Brothers, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, crumbled in a short period of time. Lehman Brothers did not survive. Major banks and the car industry followed. General Motors, for years the largest company in the world, filed for bankruptcy in the spring of 2009 but survived with financial help from the American government. The economic situation in the United States affected the whole world. The economic crisis put many corporations into trouble, with global sales dropping 40 percent. It was the worst crisis since 1930.In the spring of 2009, I had the idea of revisiting The Table of Power to look at Europe’s current economic landscape. It became my main motivation to see how the economic situation had changed fifteen years after the first project. I was interested in seeing if the previous top forty European industrial multinational corporations were still present on the new list and how boardroom design, revenue, and employee numbers had changed. Europe’s forty largest multinational corporations according to Fortune’s Global 500 list from 2009 were the basis for the continuation of this project. Since major banks and financial service companies had played an enormous role in the economy’s downward spiral and thus our immediate social coexistence, they too were included in The Table of Power 2 alongside industrial multinational corporations.Eleven corporations refused to participate in the project while twenty-nine agreed. 

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