Citizens and Subjects is a project conceived as the Dutch contribution to the 52nd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The project consists of three parts: a new work by artist Aernout Mik in the Dutch Pavilion in Venice, a critical reader and an ‘extension’ of the Pavilion taking place in the Netherlands in autumn 2007.
Citizens and Subjects reflects on the notion of the nation-state in the present day circumstances of the so-called West and asks how we can negotiate its prospects vis-à-vis the challenges posed by the enduring state of anxiety stemming from various threats, real or imagined. This contemporary condition is co-defined by immigration, an issue of major political and moral consequence, which we seem to have been incapable of resolving. Instead, fear, ‘security’ and violence have increasingly become tools for maintaining the status quo. The project proposes this situation as the paradigm of our contemporaneity and prompts us to think through art about other possible ways that a new kind of political reality could be constructed.