States of Uncertainty / Ingrid Burrington

November 2nd – 30th, 2012
Opening reception on First Friday November 2nd (Facebook event page)

States of Uncertainty / Ingrid Burrington

In today’s crowded societies, once again many people are feeling the drive to break away from existing cultures and establish their own institutions. Ignorant of human history, most people treat such an idea with scorn. The world of here and now is the only real world, they say. Talk of starting a new country is ‘escapism’. One’s duty is to direct one’s energies toward making contemporary society a better place to live, and so on. But those who know better realize that schism is the fundamental human method for dealing with frictions within groups of people.”

–Erwin Strauss, How to Start Your Own Country

Throughout the world there are a number of places that, technically don’t exist. That is, they function to some extend on the international stage but are still outsiders on it, and are generally not included on standard political maps. These breakaway states, micro-nation projects, and other illegitimate governments form out of civil wars, colonial rule, and, on occasion, simply stubbornness. The unrecognized state is a place of uneasy suspension, revealing that nationhood is not a fixed position but a place in a perpetual process of becoming.

The work in this show is made up of artifacts, texts, and graphics documenting a few case studies of unrecognized nations, part of a larger ongoing body of research. It is by no means complete and I am by no means an expert in this field. I am not interested in presenting an authoritative collection on this topic or declaring what places have a “right” to sovereignty more than others. Rather, I hope that through an examination of these spaces and the performed gestures and symbols that shape them, that viewers might gain a new insight into our own fragile understanding of place.

Ingrid Burrington is an artist living in America who makes work about place and language. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009. Her work has been covered in the Village Voice, Harper’s Online, and some crazy Japanese television show that she still has never seen.