NSK State in Time is delighted to announce the launch of the NSK State Pavilion, occurring in the context of the 57th Venice Biennale, which will open with an inaugural lecture by prolific philosopher, psychoanalyst and critic Slavoj Žižek.

View of NSK State Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Jaka Babnik.
Photo by icon View of NSK State Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Jaka Babnik.

NSK State in Time was founded by artist collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) in 1992. It was conceived as a utopian formation, which would have no physical territory and would not be identified with any existing nation state. Along with organising temporary embassies and consulates in cities such as Moscow, Berlin, Florence, Sarajevo and New York, NSK State in Time began issuing passports in 1993. There are currently about 15,000 NSK Passport holders around the world, with well known citizens including including Marina Abramović, John Baldessari, Boris Groys, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Slavoj Žižek.

Public lecture by Slavoj Žižek
Photo by icon Public lecture by Slavoj Žižek

The NSK State Pavilion will provide an added and new dimension to NSK State in Time, built upon a collaboration with migrant communities, humanitarian protection applicants, and stateless individuals who are looking for new citizenship. With the unique opportunity of the Venice Biennale, the project aims to rethink what a contemporary state can be, offering an open form of citizenship which contrasts with that generated by spatially-defined states.

Looking beyond Europe’s current fragmentation and inner antagonisms

The Pavilion does not stand in opposition to the national structure of the Venice Biennale, but rather seeks to stand as an independent Pavilion that will redefine the idea of the state and proffer a new type of citizenship. It will engage with a range of issues that most trouble current contemporary states – migration, citizenship, heritage and identity – and generate ideas from a wide spectrum of individuals about how to build new collectivities and shared histories across national borders, looking beyond Europe’s current fragmentation and inner antagonisms.

NSK State Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale
Photo by icon NSK State Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale

Commissioned by artist collective IRWIN (Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek and Borut Vogelnik), the project is curated by Zdenka Badovinac and Charles Esche, and is directed by Mara Ambrožič.

In total it will involve contributions from more than 200 individuals, including citizens of NSK State in Time, artists, philosophers, students, young art professionals, cultural institutions, social cooperatives, and international universities.

Irwin with Ahmet Öğüt and NSK State Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale
Photo by icon Irwin with Ahmet Öğüt and NSK State Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale

NSK citizen and contemporary artist Ahmet Öğüt has been invited to shape the installation of the Pavilion, where the notion of state, and the definition of citizenship and its related bureaucracy, are questioned through the conceptual and physical experience of gravity. To enhance the understanding of these issues, 100 different individuals were asked by NSK Delegates to respond to a questionnaire about their views on Europe.

The Pavilion space will be experienced in two parts: a room of ‘global disorder’ including over 100 responses from contributors and an NSK Passport office where passports will be issued. The NSK State in Time Pavilion in Venice will be equally governable by its community from sans-papiers to migrants and citizens. For this specific occasion, an apology was written on behalf of the liberal western world to the refugees, as well as to those who were unable to chose to not to flee, in collaboration with the scientific consultancy of Tomaž Mastnak.

Additional to launching a book, a newspaper and a seminar for the students of the MA in Visual Arts at the IUAV University of Venice, NSK State in Time will also open also a collateral premise NSK State Venice Pavilion in Vienna, in the context of Wiener Festwochen, curated by Birgit Lurz and Wolfgang Schlag, presenting an installation by Ramesch Daha and Anna Jermolaewa.

Made possible thanks to the collaboration of Blaž Peršin and to the co-production of MGML – Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, the project is commissioned and produced by IRWIN and co-organised by Temple Productions of Paris and Društvo NSK informativni center.