“The fall of the Soviet Communist party and the unconcealed rule of capitalist-democratic state on a planetary scale have cleared the field of the two main ideological obstacles hindering the resumption of a political philosophy worthy of our time: Stalinism on one side, and progressivism and the constitutional state on the other. Thought thus finds itself, for the first time, facing its own task without any illusion and without any possible alibi.” Giorgio Agamben1

We are living in a time when states are losing their power. The expansion of political and economic communities like the European Union or South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, International trade agreements like the WTO and NAFTA, military alliances such as NATO or CSTO; even educational agreements like Bologna accords left very little independent decision making to nation states. If states have very little authority to make decisions about their economy, military and defense, borders, immigration and even education, what is left in being an independent state?

Intellectuals first propagated nationalism through the means of language and culture; today we are seeing this original development of nationalism rising again. When so many expressions of sovereignty are coming to the fore, the importance of national culture also becomes stronger. So we look for our culture identity, seeking protection from the overwhelming power of global capitalism that is ‘making the world one’. Sustaining languages, returning to religion and traditional values as well as exploring expressions of our culture as identifiers, is the choice of many who fight for a rightful place in an otherwise globalized world.

It’s interesting too to observe the Zapatistas who function in quite a different way. The Zapatistas went public on January 1, 1994, the day that the NAFTA agreement went into effect. Zapatistas do not call their autonomous communities objects, or utopias, but ‘method’. There are 1200 autonomous communities in Chiapas. They run parallel to government structures, but are not interested in secession. The Zapatistas refer to autonomy as an entry point into democracy. The reclamation of dignity, control and (political and ideological) independence, rather than strictly territorial independence, is considered necessary for the creation of the relational structures and organizations that would constitute ‘freedom’.

In August 2003, a summit of micronations named Amorph!03, took place in Helsinki at the site of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). The summit was attended by delegations of the Principality of Sealand, the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland, NSK-State in Time, Ladonia, the Transnational Republic, and the State of Sabotage and by scholars from various academic institutions.

The summit highlighted the phenomena of micronations and the alternatives that these projects were suggesting. Many of these nations were dependent on art and we can see them as art nations. A lack of reality was an obvious observation to the projects, yet we should not pay attention to this aspect and rather focus on the fascinating debates that their structures and suggestions raised.

Ladonia was founded in 1996 on an area of one square kilometer, located on a nature reserve in the south of Sweden. It started as a work of art until the artist decided to announce the founding of a new country. Recently, Ladonia began to receive many requests for citizenship from Pakistanis looking for a place to live that might enable them to improve their circumstances. Through media attention and the sheer scale of Ladonia itself, word got out and thousands of applications for asylum and citizenship were received from India, Vietnam and Nigeria among other countries.

While the state of Ladonia in no way restricts its citizenship, it did explain why the applicants misunderstood and misinterpreted the art project. The promise of a new state sparked by the concept of Ladonia in the minds of many living in poorer (non-European) countries is an indication of the quest for a better state many people still hold. Migration is playing a major role in the re-nationalization of Europe and even art projects need to take this into consideration when trying to redefine states through the means of art.

Each of the micronations that participated in Amorph!03 is worth a closer examination and a place to analyze their practice. However, the building of a state, with its diverse structures will be the next phase to be completed for Medinat Weimar. Currently the focus is on the formation of a movement, and we wish to relate to the artistic and political act of movement creation.

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1 Giorgio Agamben, Notes on Politics, in  Means without Ends (2000), p. 109

COMMENTS / ONE COMMENT

I have nsk passport form but i want ask maybe i can send the form and the payment after ur independent

Oladapo added these pithy words on Jan 08 09 at 21:17

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