Neue Slowenische Kunst

By greenteapanda

November 15, 2008

Category: Travel

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Today I went to the Taipei Museum of Fine Art, which unlike previous times I’ve been, had quite a few things that were very relevant to Taiwan. This included a series of videos of Vietnamese and Indonesian women that came to Taiwan in search of a better life (only to have things work out very poorly for them), but moreover, a way to get another passport.

There is an art project called Neue Slowenische Kunst, or NSK for short. They give out passports if people go to one of their "embassies" or "consulates." It used to be possible to apply for one online, but at some point, Nigerians discovered it and thought it was an actually valid travel document that would allow them to get to Slovenia and hence the rest of Europe if they had one. NSK was founded in what is now Slovenia several decades ago, hence the association with that particular country.

In any case, one of the rooms in the museum had four different videos playing of different people describing their experiences with NSK passports. Some of them had gotten out of a bind when their actual passports were not accepted for whatever reason. One of the videos showed Nigerian experiences using the passport (which is made to European standards). Another screen showed Taiwanese people that had taken up the NSK passport. A number of them liked the fact that NSK citizenship was like citizenship in Taiwan – not necessarily recognised elsewhere.

I found it particularly interesting that the video made it appear as Taiwanese are enthusiastic about NSK, because certain sections of the agreement to be an NSK citizen seem to violate some celebrated aspects of Taiwan’s culture. For example, in this land of the free, they would have to abide by this NSK rule:

Once a member is inducted, the association denies each member his own freedom of choice regarding his religious persuasion, and political and aesthetic affiliation.

I can’t get the passport here, at least for now – the period to get it expired on the 20th of August. Seems I have an excuse to go back to Slovenia though!

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