The Nation-State System

The Abandoned Futures in the Era of Nations

Charles Lim Yi Yong, Sea State 8: The Grid, 2014

How did the nation-state system manage to replace all other ideas of political organization? By shedding light on curtailed political options from the past, we hope to reclaim once again the possibility to imagine other forms of political belonging–within, between and across nations. The narrative of self-determination propagated by the nation-state still contains echoes of the immediate past and present of (post) colonialism. In view of a present which is informed by the catastrophic experiences of the 20th century, how can possibilities for an emancipatory future arise? And, finally the decisive question: How can one think beyond the limits of the nation-state system?

With Cemil Aydin, Kudzanai Chiurai with Zaki Ibrahim, Ann Cotten, Lawrence Liang, David Scott and Hito Steyerl