• IRWIN, State in Time, Prishtina, 1 - 30 November 2012
Time for a new state

Time for a new state
Some say you can find happiness there
IRWIN

Curatorial by Albert Heta

Opening: 1 November 2012, 19:00hrs.
1/11/2012 - 1/12/2012

 

Thanks to the particular circumstances at the beginning of nineties, it was possible for us to produce the passports of the NSK State in Time in cooperation with the Slovenian Ministry of Interior Affairs. As a result, NSK passports do not differ from the usual standards for such products with regard to the mode and quality of production. So far, several thousand persons have applied for and obtained our passports and thereby become citizens of the NSKState in Time, while retaining their previous citizenship, as one can imagine. Most of them can be regarded as belonging to the so-called "art scene". Several years ago, applications for the NSK passport began coming from Africa: from Nigeria, specifically from Ibadan and Lagos. It started slowly but in a short time the number of applications from Nigerians exceeded 1,000. The cost of the passport is not high, but for the inhabitants of the so-called Third World it is hardly insignificant. We doubted that the interest of people from Nigeria in getting the NSK passport was related to art. It seemed more likely that in the politically, culturally, and economically deeply destabilized Third World, where mere survival is often a key issue and from where people emigrate in masses driven by a desire for a better life, NSK passports ceased to be artifacts.

With the help of Hansi Momodu and Lagos Institute of Contemporary Art, in July 2010 we finally succeeded to travel to Nigeria and get in contact with local passport holders. When we arrived in Lagos, our attention was drawn to huge posters displayed through the city. They were red and read: "Time for a new state." and below that in smaller letters: "Some say you can find happiness there." Just that, no mention of a company name or other information. It was left unclear what they were advertising. When we asked our hosts what they were supposed to stand for, nobody knew. Somebody mentioned they were promoting a new soft drink, but was not sure. It was one of those gradual propaganda campaigns, where different phases follow one another and the motive is revealed only in the final step. Parallel to the big posters, there were also full page adds in main newspapers. The only difference was that the horizontal composition on posters was changed by a vertical one in newspapers. Taking in consideration that the name of NSK's state is NSK State in Time, you can imagine that the relationship between these posters and the NSK State, which was the reason for our visit to Lagos, was obvious. It seemed as if they were there for us, to propagate the NSK State in Time. In the interviews we made with NSK citizens from Lagos, some of the interviewees, after they were assured that NSK does not have any territory at all, replied something like: "But our friends were there and some of them say you can find happiness there."
When we returned to Ljubljana we showed the photograph of the poster with the panorama of Lagos in the background to our friends. They were impressed by it but most of them considered it as being too cynical. "Didn't you cross the line this time?" they asked. They had no doubt that the posters were Irwinâ's Lagosproject. It was only a few months later, when Lagos artist and curator Jud Anogwih came to Berlin in a function of a delegate participating at the first NSK State in Time Congress, held in Haus der Kultur der Welt in October 2010, that we finally learned who did the poster: it was Coca Cola.

IRWIN

'Time for a new state. Some say you can find happiness there', a billboard project in Prishtina by IRWIN, is part of the project 'Identity Restoration Reloaded' by Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina.