Exploring micro sovereignties


I often think about the group slow walk Hamish Futon ran in Birmingham in 2012 for the Ikon and Fierce Festival where he got people to walk lines marked behind Curzon Street Station, some very short, some the length of the site, as slowly as necessary to complete the walk in the time allowed. Here's a short interview with him, filmed by Chris Keenan.

I was reminded of this when reading about Rubén Martín de Lucas's art project Minimal Republics where he marks off a 100m2 area of land, declares it to be a sovereign nation, and inhabits it for up to 24 hours. He documents them using aerial photography which looks very pleasing.

The work is about the absurdity of the concept of nations, which I approve of because nations are absurd concepts, but I'm intrigued by the idea of forcing yourself to stay within a specific boundary for up to a day, especially when that boundary is set up in an "uninteresting" area.

It's doubtless meditative with an element of endurance, but the idea of exploring that 100 square metres, of really getting to know every rock in the sand or mark on the tarmac, is really interesting to me.

I've often wanted to do an hour-long photography workshop where people can only explore a small patch of land that they wouldn't consider interesting at first – the corner of a car park, for example – forcing them to look beyond the obvious and start to see patterns and beauty in the details. I think the photos that would come out of such an exercise would be really interesting.

I wonder what it would be like to make one of de Lucas's pieces, to define a micro-country and occupy it for a day. Once the boredom passes, what would you see?

Via the always excellent and inspiring Geoff Manaugh. Photos from, and credits in, the Lens Culture article.