The nation-state—a nation (a people) presided over by a governing body with jurisdiction over a defined territory (the state)—is either going through a renaissance or demise, depending on one’s perspective. There has been talk about the nation-state’s end for years—from a 2013 United States National Intelligence Council report forecasting a potential ‘non-state’ future world, to the naming of a chapter in H.G. Wells’ 1916 book What is Coming? A Forecast of Things After the War, ‘Nations in Liquidation’.
But these predictions have been challenged by neo-nationalist resurgences in recent years, particularly in Europe, where the European Union has been rocked by populist calls for harder borders. It is against this backdrop that the exhibition Extra States: Nations in Liquidation, at Antwerp’s Kunsthal Extra City, aims to map both the nation-state’s becoming and undoing in the 21st century (22 September–16 December 2018). Curated by ILiana Fokianaki, the show includes the work of