Recognize Me!
MOCA Taipei
At the close of the nineteenth century religion and language in Europe were not in 'universal unity', and economies and cultural resources were also quickly diversifying. The primary make up of so-called 'nation-states' was in accordance with their respective religions, common languages, and the areas in which they lived, so that people of the same nationality came together as one. Ideally these conditions would be beneficial based on the idea that possessing a high level of similitude will promote and preserve economic, political, and cultural equality within a territory. After the first and second world wars countries all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America continued to 'ferment', and at the pursuing national independence became an important goal for the old western colonies.

Recognize Me! Ceremony - MOCA Taipei,2006.

The pursuit of the internal equality ideal for nation states has, of course, never been realized, and right up into the twentieth century, the political and economic environments that gave rise to a trend towards large scale migration/immigration resulted in the terms: nationality and nation, becoming even more difficult to both define and link together. Furthermore, here in the twenty first century, transnational economies and the blurring of cultural differences have placed the concept of the nation-state and the basis of its function under direct attack. The trend towards globalization with regards to cultural identity, economics, and so on, is having dramatic effects on everyone. This unavoidable trend is making it so that even developing countries or areas of extreme education disparity stand a good chance of sidestepping obstacles such as time and distance, and of holding similar values and beliefs. At the same time, digital technologies that provide platforms for long distance exchange also, in a very realistic sense, increase the opportunities for individuals to cross national boundaries and connect with each other.

This is the basis for the emergence of 'micronations' - an innumerable amount of like-minded individuals scattered all over the globe who on the basis of this like-mindedness, form their own countries, declaring themselves as states, and even create their own national emblems and flags. Micronations can stand for certain political viewpoints, sexual orientations, for amusement and interests, or simply pure fantasy. For example, the 'Gay Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands' is formed by gay rights activists who strive for independence, and refuses to recognize any nation or government that claims authority over the islands. The 'Baxfen Internet Kingdom' believes that family and individuals are of the important entities; otherwise national imperialism or corporate fascism will be created. The 'Wonderful Kingdom' includes six television series, and has annexed Eel Pie Island in the Thames River. Perhaps some of these micronations have their own base where their 'citizens' can congregate, however the vast majority of micronations exist only on the Internet.

YKON is a group of five people from Finland who closely follow the development of the micronation phenomenon. As they see it, different and diverse ideology and wonderful values are embodied by microcountries, especially when compared to stubborn and segregated mainstream countries. While the word 'utopia' originally referred to a non existent place, the term: heterotopia then refers to 'the other place', a place with real or imagined possibilities.

YKON then state that the reality and future of microcountries may be able to make up and again demonstrate the utopia in heterotopia – an amazingly virtual place that lets all different values bloom freely.

In 2003 YKON began to make preparations for the 'M8 Summit of Micronations' by way of engaging in dialog with all manner of different kinds of micronations and received invitations to the 'Singapore Biennale 2006' fabricating all manner of playful microcountries such as 'The Farm', and microcountries with completely free market economies, no crime, or no taxes. Actors were invited to perform as representatives, and one of these actors played the part of retired Singapore Prime Minister, Lim Kong Soon to deliberate over any possible relationships with Singapore, and to discuss the pursuit of progress with regards to Singapore's national ideology and even instigate political deadlock.

In this work entitled 'Recognize Me', YKON have brilliantly set up a micronation, in Taiwan, mutually recognizing each other as existing entities in a solemn ceremony. On the one hand, humorously responding to the plight of Taiwan's eagerness to have a national identity, while at the same time giving some serious consideration to the issue of structure international recognition, while at the same time, considering the the deeper meaning of "international identity" toward the architecture of micronations, as micronations, in actuality, don't have real relationships with real nations, and neither are they involved in international business, governed by common international rules.

If any country establishes a relationship of mutual identification with Taiwan (even in a virtual form), it is a statement that an international community is created, with each participant in the community holding a place of mutual commitment, and has the opportunity to take responsibility and enjoy certain rights. Can such thinking regarding international communities lead to a significant improvement in the evolution of micronations? This is what this new project aims to accomplish.

Anke Mon

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