What is a state? What is its territory? Do we accept the way they are defined? Who will need to recognize us, besides us ourselves? These questions keep reappearing throughout history. A case in point is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a de-facto state in the north of the island of Cyprus that is not recognized by the international community except for Turkey – but the state does in fact exist. And it is not the only one of its kind: examples include South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Artsakh or Transnistria, to name but a few. Another example hails from the realm of art: in 1992 the art collective NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) declared its transformation from a collective into a state ("State in Time"). All examples show that to create facts, a declaration of sovereignty as a state is often sufficient, while acceptance by some majority is not mandatory. Viewed objectively, a state is nothing more than a social administrative structure.
Our project MOBILISTAN is to be understood purely as an ART PROJECT dealing with issues of mobility, territorial limits, recognition, marginalization, freedom to travel and the desire to belong. Mobilistan will be established within the area of a stretch limousine or state limousine, thus forming a territory which can be entered or exited through the doors of the vehicle. Mobilistan has its own flag, anthem and passport. There are four permanent residents of Mobilistan, simultaneously playing several roles such as State President, Foreign Secretary, Minister of Finance, Interior Minister etc. The four permanent residents are: Barbara Repe, Anne Manss, Manaf Halbouni and Christian Manss. They will determine the fortunes of Mobilistan: who is allowed to become a citizen, who gets a visa, or where Mobilistan is temporarily located.
On the trip from Berlin to Istanbul to the Mahalla Festival, the state leaders are planning state visits to Dresden, Prague, Cracow, Vienna, Zagreb, Belgrade and Sofia. Of course, the duration of the trip depends on the pandemic conditions in the respective countries. However, the aim is to arrive in Istanbul in the last week of August for the opening of the festival with MOBILISTAN.
As the culmination of state activities in 2021, MOBILISTAN will be on display as part of the exhibition ZONE by Manaf Halbouni at the “Center for Persecuted Arts” in Solingen on November 18, 2021.