Avenir Institute is a think tank at the intersection of epistemology, politics, technology and aesthetics with a focus on critical analysis of potentiality in futures. The Institute was founded by Denis Maksimov and Timo Tuominen in 2015. Timo Tuominen (FI) is an artist, designer and co-founder of Avenir Institute from Ulvila (FI). He is interested in the potential of art as a space for interdisciplinary research as well as the intersections between conceptual art and futures studies. He was living in Berlin (DE) from 2008 and relocated to London (UK) in 2013. Denis Maksimov (RU/BE) FRSA is an independent curator, writer and advisor active in visual culture, politics and interdisciplinary studies. He researches aesthetico-political phenomena such as mythology, ideology and regimes of power and engages with critical artistic practices. He was born in Bryansk (RU) and lived in Moscow, Brussels and is currently based in London and in Athens.
The nation state is a literal backbone of the present reality. Despite the perception of its immanence and eternal futures, it is actually around for less than two centuries in a known to us form. It is not a secret that its institutions are not fitting the challenges and aspirations we, as societies, have now. The nation states cannot effectively address the challenges of climate change, international governance and simply human needs.
And how about post-human needs? The AI and supercomputers empowering the alternative forms of self-organisation: however the nation state does anything in its grasp to survive, even if it is purely destructive. It is representing a very specific way of defining “sovereignty” – as a legal way to oppress and regulate, in a limitless fashion, via having complete and final control over interpretation of the present and defining the singular future. Apart of that, a nation state is completely unprepared for the challenge of expanding the concept of humanity to the next stage, where ‘homo sapiens’ will diversity naturally, artificially and legally.
In our talk, we will propose a radical and practical way of thinking and embodying an alternative to statehood as concentration of power and withholding of sovereignty by one, hierarchal, centralised mega-institution, a nation state. It is based on elaboration of potentiality of the technologies such as blockchain and crypto, state’s own potentially disruptive innovations like Estonian e-identity, open source services like The Open University – as an unstable, functional constellation of the interconnected, symbiotic platforms. They are located in horizontal space, which doesn’t imply dominance and based on the cross-checking possibility, evading fabrications and minimising possible manipulations. It is a living infrastructure that is meant to address the pertaining institutional problem: inertia.
We call it “State of Noland”: a condition of not aligning with nation state and particular geopolitical territory as well as possible formations of practical replacement of nation-state functionality with rhizomatic (from ‘rhizome’ – a modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes), pastiche, assemblage of alternatives. In our talk, we would like to present this structure and its potentiality to become a model for an alternative to statehood in post-humanist world.