Photo: Lonneke van der Palen – Souvenir

Mar 23–25, 2017

Now is the Time of Monsters

What Comes After Nations?

A manifestation of research, theory, and art

Mar 23–25, 2017

With simultaneous translation into German and English

The present moment is marked by one central political idea: the nation-state. It installs itself through a system of nation-states and a corresponding global framework that originated from a new world order after the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Since then, it has become so deeply embedded in our thinking that alternative forms of political organization have become practically unimaginable—even though serious alternatives, such as transnational anti-colonial movements and communist internationalism, existed at the time.

By laying bare the framing conditions of the nation-state, their exclusionary mechanisms and the structural violence anchored within them, Now is the Time of Monsters picks up a phrase by Antonio Gramsci to open up a space for the decisive question: How can one think beyond the limits of the nation-state system? Today, neo-nationalist threats and the failures of a nation-state system facing global migration make it clear that we need to reclaim such a zone of political transformation and radical imagination.

Curated by Rana Dasgupta, Nanna Heidenreich and Katrin Klingan, this three-day discussion will draw on international voices from art, literature, theory, and science. How did the nation-state system replace all other ideas of political organization, and what was lost in this process? How do inequality and global power asymmetries get transferred into international systems of state and law? How can migration allow for a radical reconsideration of existing structures? How should one understand the role of the state in the relational network of globalization and financial capitalism, and how does this influence our idea of the actual character of the state?

The event is organized in four thematic sections:

Read the curatorial statement

With Antony T. Anghie, Arjun Appadurai, Cemil Aydin, Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin with Sébastien Canevet & Sylvia Preuss-Laussinotte, In Koli Jean Bofane, cinéma copains (Arne Hector & Minze Tummescheit), Ann Cotten, Kudzanai Chiurai with Zaki Ibrahim, Slavenka Drakulić, Keller Easterling, Susan George, Avery F. Gordon, Bernd Kasparek, Ramzi Kassem, Brigitta Kuster, Lawrence Liang, Charles Lim Yi Yong, Sandro Mezzadra, Christian Nyampeta, Kim Rygiel, Isabelle Saint-Saëns, David Scott, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Felix Stalder, Hito Steyerl, Zoran Terzić and Samar Yazbek

Part of 100 Years of Now