Envelopes of Occupation

November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Étienne Balibar on the vagueness of and reuse of maps from French colonialism.

Eyal Weizman on a lexical approach to examining occupation as a regime in relation to the Palestinian context. Transversal Space, Middlesex University occupation, May 2010.

‘In short, today, the contemporary (the fictive relational unity of the historical present) is transnational because our modernity is that of a tendentially global capital’

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

‘Increasingly, the fiction of the contemporary is primarily a global or a planetary fiction. More specifically, a fiction of a global transnationality has recently displaced the 140-year hegemony of an internationalist imaginary, 1848-1989, which came in a variety of political forms. This is a fiction – a projection of the temporary unity of the present across the planet – grounded in the contradictory penetration of received social forms (‘communities’, ‘cultures’, ‘nations’, ‘societies’ – all increasingly inadequate formulations) by capital, and their consequent enforced interconnection and dependency. In short, today, the contemporary (the fictive relational unity of the historical present) is transational because our modernity is that of a tendentially global capital. Transnationality is the putative socio-spatial form of the current temporal unity of historical experience. […]

Territorial frontiers or borders (basically, nation-states) are subject to erosion by ‘globalization’ in two ways. First, they have an increasing albeit still restricted physical ‘permeability’. ‘Borders are easily crossed from metropolitan countries, whereas attempts to enter from the so-called peripheral countries encounter bureaucratic and policed frontiers, altogether more difficult to permeate’ (Spivak, Death of a Discipline. p. ix). People mainly cross borders from the so-called periphery to the metaphorical centre only as variable capital — including as art labour. (Art is a kind of passport. In the new transnational spaces, it figures a market utopia of free movement, while in actuality it embodies the contradiction of the mediation of this movement by capital.)’

Peter Osborne. ‘The Fiction of the Contemporary: Speculative Collectivity and Transnationality in the Atlas Group’. In Aesthetics and Contemporary Art edited by Luke Skrebowski and Armen Avanessian.

Aucklantis and Oracle Drive

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Livedspace and the people’s republic of rice and beans are pleased to present an evening of film and discussion, from 8pm on the 3rd November 2011, featuring Gabriel White’s film AUCKLANTIS (2008) from 8.15pm.

In Aucklantis, White interrogates his own city as a metaphor for all cities.

“He stalks the city like a latter day Baudelairean flaneur, weaving a complex meditation on the bizarrerie of the ordinary lives and landscapes we take for granted.”  – Jack Ross

Location: Rice and Beans, 2nd floor, Albell Chambers, 127 Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin, New Zealand

Mini State, from Gabriel White’s Oracle Drive, a feature film in progress.

Producer: Amelia Harris

Soundtrack: Chris O’Conner

Graphics and post production: Markus Hofko

all rights reserved C Gabriel White

Brief description of projectOracle Drive is a sideways look at Auckland’s North Shore – a sprawling suburban superville. Using landscape shots, monologues, performances, drums and graphics, the film fancifully maps a landscape which (like an oracle) babbles out cultural and historical references ranging from Pythagoreanism to medieval fortresses to the US Space program. If ‘The Shore’ stands for everything that is taken as standard in contemporary New Zealand, it becomes here the location of everything that is peculiar and dreamlike, provoking unexpected, even magical ways of seeing habitually overlooked, slightly haunting territories.

Bio: Gabriel White is a performer, writer and filmmaker based in Auckland, New Zealand. White has concentrated for the past decade on exploring and remapping landscapes. He has a particular interest in working with verbal material, whether in his more serious oral histories, Stories of Tāmaki (2010) and The Unplanned Masterpiece (2009), or in the more playful and poetic works of The World Blank series (2001-2010).

The works of The World Blank series (Dry Dock, Aucklantis, Tongdo Fantasia, The Tree of Tule, Journey to the West) are travelogues characterised by an irreverent, stream-of-consciousness, in situ approach. Speaking to a handheld camera as he wanders far (and not-so far) flung regions, the artist weaves monologues into intricate, whimsical mappings of his surroundings.

A First Biennial

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

‘By virtue of their power of assembly, international biennials are manifestations of the cultural-economic power of the ‘centre’, wherever they crop up and whatever they show. In short, they are a research & development branch of the transnationalization of the culture industry. The international biennials are emblems of capital’s capacity to cross borders, and to accommodate and appropriate cultural differences. Art labour is variable cultural capital. Furthermore, currently, it is only capital that immanently projects the utopian horizon of global social interconnectedness, in the ultimately dystopian form of the market.’ Peter Osborne. ‘The Fiction of the Contemporary: Speculative Collectivity and Transnationality in the Atlas Group’. In Aesthetics and Contemporary Art edited by Luke Skrebowski and Armen Avanessian.

‘To Scale, Everyday Sovereign’ Opening

October 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Subversively Affirmed and Over-identified

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment


Étant donné (Sans) Tout Ça

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Inaugural lecture and constitution from our friends at the République Sans Tout Ça.

Discours d’inauguration (à l’occasion de la déclaration de sécession du labo I.D. en tant que territoire de la République Sans Tout Ça)

” Étant donné que le désordre est source de créativité et de convivialité, et que l’absence de lois est la meilleure des lois, si l’on veut ouvrir les possibles et construire ce monde ensemble.

Étant donné que l’atelier, le lieu de création, le laboratoire d’expérimentation, sont des lieux de désordre où le processus de création est plus important que son résultat, et s’applique à toutes les activités.

Étant donné que la société capitaliste moribonde craque de toute part, justement parce que l’ordre règne partout, stérilisant nos vies et interdisant l’application au quotidien de mots vidés de leur substance, tels que “égalité” ou “fraternité” ou “liberté”.

Étant donné que nous voulons partir de rien, d’un vide émancipateur depuis lequel nous pouvons créer un désordre nouveau, ensemble, une société qui soit le fruit direct de nos vies et de nos pensées, un monde à notre échelle.

Étant donné que “le présent que nous créons, nous voulons qu’il ressemble au futur dont nous rêvons”.

Nous déclarons officiellement, en ce jour solennel du 22 mai 2011, à tous nos frères humains, que nous renions nos appartenances aux idéologies, aux marques, à l’ordre, et annexons ici-même et irrévocablement un bout du territoire du royaume de la Belgique-Europe, délimité par ce container, afin d’en faire un territoire indépendant, un espace libre, un lieu de tous les possibles, toujours en mouvement, toujours tributaire de ceux qui l’occupent, un territoire qui fait sécession avec l’Europe pour devenir le Laboratoire Officiel d’Incitation au Désordre de la République Sans Tout Ça. “


Article 1 : 

Toute loi peut être proposée, modifiée ou abrogée par négociation et consensus entre toutes les personnes présentes sur le territoire de la République au moment de cette prise de décision. Le présent article est le seul qui restera immuable à chaque occurrence de la République Sans Tout Ça quel que soit le lieu et la durée d’apparition de la République. Tous les articles qui suivent ne sont que des propositions à faire approuver à chaque apparition de la République.

Remarque : cette version informatisée et réseauifiée ne constitue qu’une part infime de la constitution santoussienne, qui est essentiellement de tradition orale et télépathique…

NSK State in Times of Emergence

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

NSK State in Time is a federation of five main groups: IRWIN, Laibach, Novi Kolektivizem, the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy and the Noordung Cosmokinetic Cabinet.  “The NSK State was created in the aftermath of Slovene independence. It has carried out a series of temporary ‘Embassy’ and ‘Consulate’ events in locations including Moscow, Ghent, Berlin and Sarajevo plus other collective actions. The State is conceived as a utopian formation which has no physical territory and is not identified with any existing national state. It is inherently transnational and describes itself as ‘the first global state of the universe.’ It issues passports to anyone who is prepared to identify with its founding principles and citizenship is open to all regardless of national, sexual, religious or other status. It now has several thousand citizens across numerous countries and all continents, including a large number in Nigeria. The NSK State itself is a collective cultural work, formed by both the iconography and statements of its founders and its citizens’ responses to these and to the existence of the state. It is also part of the wider ‘Micronations’ movement which has grown increasingly visible and received growing critical and theoretical attention in recent years.”

NSK State will be presenting their book State of Emergence- The First NSK Citizen’s Congress at the Horse Hospital in London on October 25th.

October 5, 2011 § 1 Comment


October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

This site will be updated during the course of the exhibition To Scale, Everyday Sovereign, at Rice and Beans. For this project, the contested territorial claims, national fictions and aesthetic gestures of micronations will form the background of a speculation on notions of autonomy in micronations and artist-run centres. What inequalities are carried through the notion of scale in reaction to state-sponsored institutions? What territories share a subversion, in themselves, of ideological state apparatuses? What are there limits in speculating on the scales of sovereignty? In addressing these questions, the exhibition space with its reading room and screening programme, will become a kind of embassy lounge for its own ‘known unknowns’.


Often dismissed and relegated to the terrain of fetishists, megalomaniacs and misanthropes alike, micronations (also referred to as new country projects and model countries) have often been established by individuals seeking out the ultimate achievement of autonomy and individual sovereignty. Staking claims and conceptualising new nations in an attempt to decipher ways to constitute new and alternative forms of living, individuals from bedrooms to squats have devised ways to reimagine their relation to diplomatically-recognised states, employing modes of resistance to renegotiate or re-appropriate the mechanisms of state apparatus.

The rise in micronations during the last century speaks to claims of citizenship and definitions of nationalism that resonate with the history of nation-building as well as the nuances of colonial expansion. Indeed, the act of staking territorial claims over seemingly uninhabited land deemed terra nullius, and proclaiming ownership by the right of occupation, is taken for granted in the history of most recognised states. As micronations are barely recognised, they often take on an air of seemingly fictitious conjecture and speculation, but it is the persistence by which the individuals or groups stake claims that creates and maintains the very concept of micronations.

The Internet has further provided a cyber space by which a multitude of alternatives are possible. With the creation of D.I.Y. micronations within the cyber world, claims to sovereignty have become multiplied as aesthetic acts or simply dubious online representations. Are micronations too easily construed as the overtly political, territorial incarnations of personal online spaces? Or rather, are the latter too easily given the sovereignty of a separate ‘social space’?

Furthermore, in recent years the platforms of major political parties in the US and UK have increasingly tended towards a colonization of the everyday, harnessing personal fears and anxieties to catalyse campaign rallying points. As these platforms, aligned with neoliberal imperatives, tend ever more visibly towards the minutiae of a politics of the self and the endless consumerist everyday, a growing number of contested spaces have also emerged through both privatisation and occupation, addressing the very radicalisation of sovereignty which the claims of micronations speak to.

Do micronations then form an opportunity to question, or simply re-appropriate -in a paradoxically democratised proliferation- institutional hierarchies or the repression of state organs? Is the proliferation of micronations a symptom of the desire for total branding, promoting the speed of a life-sized politics rather than criticality towards repressive state measures? The complexities of territorial claims, modes of subversion and branding as queried by the existence of micronations will form the background of a speculation -through the exhibition- on the relations between micronations and artist-run centres. What territories are shared by cultural production and political ideology? Opening these fields to issues of autonomy, privatisation and resistance, many of the questions raised by micronations will be addressed directly through the space of Rice and Beans, its reading room and screening programme, as well as a website to be updated throughout the exhibition.