Anticipatory Representation: Building the Palestinian Nation(-State) through Artistic Performance
By Chiara De Cesari
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 82-100
This article aims to illuminate the ways in which artists and cultural producers can participate in forging the nation(-state) by performing its institutions, and by mocking its operations. It explores two experiments in setting up a Palestinian national museum, which are also art projects in themselves. It also discusses the recent Palestinian art biennials, organised by a Palestinian non-governmental organisation in 2007 and 2009 in various locations across the Mediterranean. It is my argument that the experiments with the Palestinian national museum and the biennials constitute a kind of artistic practice that does not just represent or imitate the social world: they are artistic practices that purport to produce new social arrangements – in particular, a set of new ‘state’ (art and cultural) institutions under conditions of statelessness. I also discuss how such a tactic of anticipatory representation, which calls into being, by representing them beforehand, institutions that do not yet (fully) exist, bears resemblance with recent policies adopted by the Palestinian political establishment.
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