Can citizenship – the right to belong somewhere – exist without nation states? This question underlies the latest film by Christopher Kulendran Thomas presented by A Tale of a Tub.
In his film ’60 million Americans can’t be wrong’ (2017) Christopher Kulendran Thomas (together with curator Annika Kuhlmann) unfolds his long-term exploration into the future of citizenship based on distribution networks instead of nation states. This extensive research is rooted in the artist’s personal history. The Tamil homeland of ‘Eelam’, from which his family originates, is a place that no longer exists. For three decades during the Sri Lankan civil war, ‘Eelam’ was self-governed as an autonomous state led by a neo-Marxist revolution. But this independence movement was brutally silenced in 2009 by an authoritarian Sri Lankan president, protected by the cloak of national sovereignty.
What could a new ‘Eelam’ be if the idea of a self-governed state based on equality for all its citizens was imagined as a distributed network rather than a territorially bounded nation? Rather than attempting self-governance by force, could technology now enable a more liquid form of citizenship beyond borders?
In a time where the call for sovereignty and self-governance is becoming ever louder, we take Thomas’ visionary project as an outlook from which to consider how technological innovation might allow for alternative forms of societal organization to develop.
The solo exhibition ROME by Christopher Kulendran Thomas is on show until the 21th of January at A Tale of a Tub.
A Tale of a Tub
Operating from the former bathhouse at the heart of the monumental Justus van Effen complex in Rotterdam, A Tale of a Tub stimulates new developments in contemporary art and explores their meaning within the realm of art and beyond. A Tale of a Tub offers a testing ground for ideas stemming from the practices of artists, curators and theorists. Research, dialogue and reflection lie at the center of A Tale of a Tub’s programming. Intertwined with the presentation program, a local public program is organized, consisting of performances, screenings, artist talks, publications, lectures by curators and scholars, and theory development with regards to the practices of participating artists.
Tweewekelijks wisselende presentaties in de foyer van Het Nieuwe Instituut. Een spraakmakend ontwerp, opzienbarend onderzoek, werk van een jong talent of een nieuwe aanwinst van het Rijksarchief voor Nederlandse Architectuur en Stedenbouw krijgen een plek in de spotlights.