The Other Us/Ceilalți Noi
workshop on re-imagining identity
20 November - 9 December, 2012
On the verge of the re-emergence of nationalisms due to recent geo-political changes, the Other Us is an attempt to draw a critical political position towards national identity. Organized through an open call to participation, the workshop gathered about 40 participants including about 10 facilitators. The program included artists, social scientists and activists that engaged in various forms of discursive exchange with the participants and public. By reconfiguring identity politics and through a practice of active critique, the participants of the workshop engaged in a process of re-imagining national identity and the politics of art in the makings of this identity.
The workshop was composed of three slots: 1) a program of lectures and debates, 2) a performance with alternative (other) flags created by participants and 3) an exhibition open to the public consisting of interventions and resources developed throughout the duration of the workshop.
Debates and lectures program
The Circle for Feminist Readings (Cercul de Lecturi Feministe) inaugurated the workshop with an open session on „What is the nation?” starting from a reading of Nira Yuval-Davis' Gender and Nation and developing the inherent genderized structure of the nation-state. Irina Costache's intervention, “The Fathers of the Nation: the European dimension of attempts to limit access to abortion” effectively illustrated the real anti-women consequences of nationalism. The role of affect and the genderized affective roles in the “Love for the Nation” were explored by Florin Poenaru. Ovidiu Tichindeleanu outlined the possibilities of linkage with the local Romanian context of post- and anti-colonial concepts and struggles for creating a new, emancipatory “Us”, situated in a geo-political context. Through a visit to the National Military Museum organized by the Fan-club of Romanian Successes (Fan-Clubul Reuşitelor Româneşti), the contemporary institutional textures of nationalism were explored in the historical representation of the military men of the nation. A historical approach was also conceived by Cristian Cercel with his analysis of the foundational text of the Romanian Proclamation of Independence, the same text that marks the 1st of December, the nowadays national day. Ovidiu Pop together with Veda Popovici sketched a portrait of the national subjectivity by investigating its creation by 19th century scholars and revolutionaries. The status of the national day was problematized by Marian Ursan as he talked about the difficulties encountered by AIDS activists such as himself in the Romanian context because of the coincidence of the AIDS international day with the Romanian national day. The position of the “Other” was also tackled by Mihai Lukacs and Ovidiu Anemţoaicei in a theoretical approach on the body and bodies of Self and the Other. The debates and lectures series of the workshop ended with a lenghty discussion on the political potential of art and its relative harmlessness in the context of national identity formation (with Simona Dumitriu, Alice Monica Marinescu, Veda Popovici and David Schwartz).