August 22 - September 29, 2007
Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre, Kingston, Canada
Gjen Snider, Guest Curator
Robert Jelinek (Vienna AUS) and Mark Prier (St.John’s NFLD)
NOMADSLAND Passport Office
September 14-16, 2007 - downtown Kingston, Ontario
September 17, 2007 - Wolfe Island, Ontario
STATE GREETINGS takes a platform to observe the phenomenon of Micronations: small entities that resemble, behave as, and sometimes parody independent nations or states. Impervious to their lack of recognition by world governments or major international organisations, micronational projects present creative, original and often opportunities for favorable consideration of alternative political policy under conditions made possible by unconventional forms of agency.
For this exhibition, two micronations - State of Sabotage and Nomadsland, are explored as both viable and symbolic representations of grassroots political ideals and artistic self-determination which also demonstrate clear relationships to contemporary global conditions. Visitors also have the opportunity to become citizens of the State of Sabotage and NOMADSLAND, complete with official passports.
The work of both Prier and Jelinek define ‘the state’ as a subversive idea with unique value to assess the effects of ideology on modern society:
“Nomadsland is an Independent State of Mind, existing as all states do: within the imagination.”
- Mark Prier, NOMADSLAND
Mark Prier, the delegate of the border-less, land-less NOMADSLAND state, welcomes all new citizens. To become a citizen of Nomadsland, you must take part in the official embrace (a hug), and repeat this Oath: Everything is going to be OK. From the welcoming address on the Nomadsland website we learn that “Nomads must be willing to think globally and act locally.” Enabling a network not bound by immaterial borders or boundaries, Nomadsland is made strong by a group of individuals acting within local towns, cities and villages, the actions of many made possible by the simple actions of one.
In Modern Fuel Gallery, Prier will exhibit the Nomadsland charter and videos from “The Nomadsland Citizenship Video Series” housed inside a phone-booth sized state kiosk. Also, Prier will present a Nomadsland commission, “Monument to the Fourth Anniversarial”, by Gareth Lichty (Kitchener, Ontario). A nomadic multi-component structure as a nod to government monuments celebrating government landmarks. For the offsite component to this presentation, Prier will temporarily install the Nomadsland passport office & consulate (in the form of a tent and flagpole with chipboard office sign) in Confederation Basin, downtown Kingston. Here, Nomadsland consul ‘Alex’ will welcome new citizens to the state and issue passports. Central to this project is use of the passport as the key to understanding utopian citizenry and non-conformity.
“Art as state is a direct form of independent state art.”
- Robert Jelinek, SoS
Robert Jelinek first initiated SoS as a multi-faceted organization to promote covert infiltration into such arenas as the art market, the music industry, and unclaimed public spaces. Since 2003, SoS has been redefined as a new nation; one with constantly expanding citizens and territories, but without the limitations of national borders. Intent on preserving its independence and right to self-rule within the framework of international law and artistic freedom, the main interests of SoS are cultural and economic cooperation with partner states whose societies and cultural facilities operate according to their own state laws. The assets of the SoS state are the creation, protection, mediation, and positioning of art and culture.
For his Canadian debut, Robert Jelinek will exhibit a wide range of work from his ongoing project, State of Sabotage (SoS). Installing a SoS embassy in the Modern Fuel Gallery, Jelinek will screen a 50 min film documenting SoS activities on four continents, and display materials produced by the state: artist publications, flags, passports, currency, CA$H perfume, stamps and DVDs. As an additional element to the presentation, Jelinek will lead a ceremony to define a new state territory, the first in Canada. This event will transpire on a small plot of land on scenic Carpenter Point Road (North shore of Wolfe Island), dedicated by Kingston artist and educator, Rebecca Soudant to the State of Sabotage. The ceremony will culminate in a participatory event called "SoS Stoning", involving new state citizens marking a perimeter by throwing prepared stones from the center of the terrain - using the muscle power of the citizenry to define the SoS territory.
Refreshments will be served, including the Soup of Sabotage - an ancillary project on social metaphor by artist Anabelle Hulaut (Coutances, France), as created by members of Kingston’s Sleepless Goat Cafe Workers Co-op.
SoS Stoning performance video still
Robert Jelinek, State of Sabotage
Wolfe Island, Ontario
September 14, 2007
"If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."
- W. I. Thomas.
Our times are marked by shifting sociological paradigms; politics of identity, border-blending economies of trade, transnationalism and forced migration, all of which contribute impact on our individual observations and our experience of increasing global connectivity, popularly known as globalisation. Caught in the muddy middle is the status of the nation-state - once the epitomized strategic construction of social and political power.
With cultural interests, diffusions, and overlaps creating multicultural and moral blendings within the individual and within society (Keating 2001), the experience of new nationalisms can appear as a refreshed cosmopolitanism. But, applying definition to this new nationalism, this plurinationalism, carries not only problems associated with support for multi-faceted social interests, but reassignments/alignments with regard to culture and its origins, manifestations and possibilities.
Throughout these undulations, that fundamental of sociological thought, the state, has remained the symbolic basis of functioning for society. Imperfect but entrenched, the state claims to maintain its citizenry and organize them according to conventions meant to achieve stability and order, despite lagging helplessly behind developments in culture, science and technology.
With particular credit to emerging technologies and its related augmentations, individuals have become the new threat to this order. Individuals, with proper tooling and propulsion, can now circumvent the state to become players within a globalized socio-economic and political realm (Todorov, 2007). In other words, within the growth of this new global paradigm, individuals can have as much power as a state.
Curatorial statement, excerpt