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Berlin Opening Address

Congress delegates,
Photo c. A. Monroe

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 18.10.2010,
Photo c. A. Monroe

Full text of my speech at the exhibition opening last night...

Firstly, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Herr Scherer and the team at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt for agreeing to host this unique and complex event. This has been a very intensive process and the venue have made a sincere effort to help us realise our vision. I am also very grateful to my colleague Haris Hararis for his tireless and visionary work. I must also mention the entire team at the buro fur kulturelle angelegenheiten, without whom none of this would have been possible. There are many others who have played some role in realising the project and I am grateful to all of them.

The NSK Folk Art display that you see presented here represents a crystallisation of a process we have been aware of for some years now. The Citizens and followers of NSK have begun to create their own spontaneous and organic folk culture around the founding iconographies of the NSK State and the NSK groups. Working without authorisation they are continuing the process of cultural reprocessing of which the NSK State is one result.

Both Folk Art and the NSK State are the result of improbability – this is one of the most important principles underlying what you see here. NSK's emergence as a state was already improbable, if not unimaginable before it took place. My own involvement with NSK is an improbable story and the same is true of many of the artists, delegates and citizens here tonight. The founder members of NSK themselves cannot have imagined what would emerge from their creation.

This exhibition and this Congress mark a point of maximum improbability and the start of a new chain of improbabilities whose consequences we cannot yet foresee. We can already see how the selected artists have begun to respond to NSK's body of work but we can also anticipate that there will be future responses to these responses. We also cannot anticipate the outcome of this Congress but it is certain that the fascinating improbability that the original NSK artists first unleashed in the 1980s will be present at its heart. You are witnessing a new phase in the history of the NSK State, which is also the history of a nascent culture and identity. We cannot yet define its significance and perhaps this will not become clear for several years. This, after all is one of the beauties of truly inspiring art and ideas and we should savour this uncertainty. Only time will tell in which directions we are being led and what our destinations may be, but until that time please join with us and create your own meanings and associations.





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