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The nation state has largely established itself as the international organizing principle of modernity. However, what do forms of resistance and alternative models to its conflict-laden demarcations and capitalist motivations look like? The political scientist James C. Scott examines “Zomia”, an upland region extending across South East Asia and the Tibetan Plateau whose indigenous population has resisted incorporation into empires and nation states since time immemorial. An excerpt from his groundbreaking book “The Art of Not Being Governed” (2009). To article...

For his installation in the exhibition “2 or 3 Tigers”, Chia-Wei Hsu, together with the frog god Marshall Tie Jia, reconstructed his temple in Wu-Yi that was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. In the journal interview the artist discusses the common features of spiritual and digital worlds, his process-driven work with local communities, and the valuation of multiple variants of history. To article...

How to develop a non-essentialist conception of identity? What strategies are conducive to decolonize the imagination? Anselm Franke and Hyunjin Kim, the curators of the exhibition 2 or 3 Tigers, discuss the colonial beginnings of worldwide surveillance, the dangers of nationalism in history and today, and the possibilities for emancipation from understandings of tradition in both East Asia and the West. To article...

Is democracy dead? For the launch of the program series STAAT 1-4 (2016-2018) from Rimini Protokoll to post-democratic phenomena and the gaps in the system, the philosopher Boris Buden illuminates the historical “truth” of modern democracy. Focusing on the purification of the idea of democracy against the background of a “dirty” history he explains the reasons for history’s contemporary return from ideological repression. A look beneath the cloak of the sublime instance of democracy. To article...

Artist Kader Attia – observes the film maker and composer Manthia Diawara – has a special gift: He can talk about alterity and the traumas caused by the colonial “Other” without lapsing into antagonisms. Attia’s “Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures” provides a clear demonstration of this. The work shows familiar looking masks and sculptures from Africa and Europe, all of which are damaged and disfigured and in need of repair. Perhaps it is the trauma that Attia alludes to which generates a sense of commonality: The shared longing to be restored, to be repaired. The carnage of modernity – the guilt of colonialism and the First World War – is the starting point for the relationship between the self and the “Other”. Even if they are only relationships between damaged identities which Attia so emphatically postulates in his work. To article...