Unlearning Nation

In the climate of raising nationalism this project explores the tensions emerging from the terms 'nation' and 'utopia'. The project's result is going to be realised as exhibition and/or publication. This project has gained support of Pro Helvetia. 

Herzl in Mini Israel

Nationalism as such is not bound to any political system, but it comes in handy for right-wing and neoliberal poltics and it finds in those an optimal environment to thrive. Now, what kind of (big) narrative does a nation need? A look to a normative narrative like the 5 Books of Moses may present us some insights. «Unlearning Nation» inspects what the situation is like in Israel and Palestine.

Israelisation of the world

"Israel is interesting for a discussion of the general disorder inasmuch as it shifted to regressive populist politics at least one decade before the global slide into populism we are now witnessing – what Christophe Ayad has called in a Le Monde article the Israélisation du monde (occidental)", as the Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz put it down down in her essay From the paradox of liberation to the demise of liberal elites. Ayad in his article is quite blunt: "La question identitaire a fini par se substituer à toutes les autres, pourtant bien réelles, à commencer par celle des inégalités sociales."

Carl Schmitt stated paradigmatically that who reigns (over) the emergency state is the one who really exercises power and therefore is able to determine the narrative of power. Nowadays Schmitt's axiom is put to use in the Holy Land on a daily basis.

The question now is what are the conditions for a change that surpasses the present militaristic and selfish politics, that is potentially self-destructive. Who are the ones who take initiatives and who are the ones who will likely follow?

Herzls tomb on Mount Herzl


Nowadays the settlers as calculating stirrers are the actual winners in politics. They stress an emergency state and put themselves above law, shown in the example, when they threaten to shoot at the photorapher without having to fear any consequences from the authorities. 'Law regards equity' as a principle is here annulled and this is considered in general terms as arbitrariness or despotism. This is quite remarkable for a religion or idealogy that put 'law' in the forefront of the shop window. 

«Unlearning Nation» travels between opinions, plans, groups, territories, humans, stones, bushes, donkeys and camels and is as such fiction und documentation at the same time. The title suggests to speculate for somehow other state – even if this (politically) hard to image and less to speak to bring close to realisation. Even when taking in account that Zionism started out as utopia and got off track on becoming a state - as many zionists early on admitted. Rosa Luxemburg's words "The [...] thing one can do is always to contest loudly what is happening" resound as a humanistic claim that places humans and not God or other supernatural instance in the focus of our attention.