Vera List Center for Art and Politics

June 20, 2005

A General Assembly with Representatives of Real and Possible Countries
Thursday, June 23, 2005

Conference: 5:30 to 7:30pm
The Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, second floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

Party, Film Screenings, and Citizenship Drive: 7:30 to 9pm
The Vera List Courtyard
66 West 12th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

The New School
New York City
Free Admission

Scholars, diplomats, and spokespersons from both internationally recognized and self-declared countries will gather to consider, propose, and debate what constitutes a country. The evenings panel discussion, party, and citizenship drive concludes The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New Schools year-long investigation of the concept of Homeland and launches Cabinet magazines summer 2005 Fictional States issue.

Participants Include:
Jonathan Bach, Associate Professor of International Affairs, The New School Eames Demetrios, artist and Geographer-at-Large, Kymaeric Gregory Green, artist and citizen, The New Free State of Carolin Ambassador Raymond Loretan, Consul General of Switzerland in New York George Pendle, cultural critic and author of “Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons

Sina Najafi, editor-in-chief, Cabinet magazine

In recent years, a number of new countries have been created, from East Timor to Macedonia. Prompted by such real-world events (and just as often preceding them), many artists have also created countries that problematize the phantasms and fictions at the center of all nation-states. Building on a long literary and philosophical tradition going back to Sir Thomas Moores Utopia and Voltaires Candide, self-declared countries such the New Free State of Caroline appropriate the insignia and rituals of homeland to propose new models of citizenship and community.

The conference will be introduced by Jonathan Bach, Professor of International Affairs at New School University, and cultural critic George Pendle who will talk about the historical, political and philosophical underpinnings of the modern nation state and provide a historical overview by of utopian (and often failed) attempts to create new countries. The conference will also feature presentations by Ambassador Raymond Loretan, Consul General of Switzerland in New York, artist Gregory Greene (citizen of The New Free State of Caroline) and artist Eames Demetrios (Geographer-at-Large, Kymaerica). Examining contemporary notions of nationhood, each will speak about their country as a political, social and emotional institution, and the rituals, objects, and symbolism involved.

The evening will culminate with a party and citizenship drive during which leaders from self-declared countries will orate on the virtues of their respective homelands and invite guests to abandon their involuntary national affiliations and instead choose the citizenship of a country whose values they consciously endorse. Merchandise and citizenship forms from various countries will be available.

Gen Ken, Minister of Lamination, and Lary 7, Minister of Audiology, both of The Royal Kingdom of Elgaland-Vargaland, will be screening qualified citizen applicants.

Intermittent film presentations will include Zush by Jaime Davidovich, and documentary films on Sealand and KREV. Soundscapes incorporating various national anthems will enhance the evening.

For further information, please visit or call 212.229.5353.

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About The Vera List Center for Art and Politics:

The Vera List Center for Art and Politics is The New Schools forum for discussion, reflection and research concerning the relationship between art and politics. Through public events, webcasts and occasional publications, the Center responds to the pressing political and social issues of our time as they are being articulated by visual and performing artists and attempts to define new possibilities for civic engagement.

About Cabinet magazine:
Cabinet is non-profit quarterly magazine of art and culture that reflects a wide range of subject matter of interest to contemporary artists, from the scholarly to the scientific and the curious.

Vera List Center for Art and Politics
June 20, 2005

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