Friday, June 17, 2005

Creating Your Own Micro Nation

by Mary Mattingly and Paul Middendorf

The Lifeboat is a no-yield, nongovernmental organization. Its members are a mounting group of active artists curated by Paul Middendorf and Mary Mattingly, dedicated to providing solutions that will safeguard humanity from the growing threat of terrorism and technological cataclysm.

Paul and Mary have constructed a seaworthy island, register it under a carefully selected flag of convenience, and are using it as a mobile base of sorts; a floating Freetown that roams waters and sometimes establishes semi-permanent settlements. Stealth, mobility, obscurity, legal loopholes, and some good old firepower will result in a very decent level of practical autonomy.

It is aboard one of such vessel that, perhaps, the more "radical" technologies (advanced genetic engineering, GPS tracking, bio-mechanical enhancements, neural interfaces, AI etc.) will best be developed and experimented with. This becomes more and more sought after on our own soil after cases under the veil of Homeland Security bring up situations like the fall 2004 predicament with the Critical Art Ensemble, whose art and bio genetics research lab was seized and confiscated by the FBI.

No longer, in most cases, does the nationality of a ship's owner have anything to do with the flag the ship flies. Most of the oceangoing vessels owned by Americans are registered abroad, their ostensible "home offices" in places like Panama City or Monrovia, Liberia. In the turn lies the question, does the globalization of exchanges put an end to the universalizations of values, or further it? The universal has become globalized, and human rights circulate exactly like any other global product (oil or capital for example).

In midst of the gallery-world, Paul and Mary include artists’ works that are concerned with topics of environment, politics, language, technologies, and social communities.

Mary Mattingly is an artist who participates in a community-based arts organization in New York. She is represented by Robert Mann Gallery in New York, and has ongoing national and international projects including residency in Rotterdam, Holland and work with her continuous project A New Breed. Resident of the Lifeboat.

Paul Middendorf, graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is an artist/curator living and working in Portland, Or. He is also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Disjecta Art Center, and Founder of Manifest Artistry Organization. Resident of the Lifeboat.


Blogger manfred said...

Is this 'seaworthy island' still floating somewhere? I would certainly like to hear more.

I am gathering information on this topic, at a resource about creating micronations named A New Land. If there are any more technical details on keeping up that island - technically, or politically - please share.

2:23 PM  

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