Researching and using the materials from the fields of cartography, environmental, political and urban geography, urban photography and design, architecture, macro and micro economy, political philosophy, international relations, political and social science, Imagining New Eurasiais a project to visualize the continental and urban structure of the New Silk Roads; the new relations and networks that are beginning to reshape Eurasia.
Imagining New Eurasia Project proposes to present three chapters over 3 years. Each chapter will be accompanied with video projections within a New Eurasia Pavilion, exhibition, and publication. The following iteration will be presented from November 2015 to 2017. [The topic and the order of their sequence are subject to changes and further developments.
Mine, Yours, and Ours: Borders, Territories, and Unions
By affirming that every place in Eurasia has been occupied by different people, languages, and states, this chapter will visualize the ephemeral condition of land-based identity and culture. The focus will be on border cities and regions that continue to challenge the stasis of territories, while endorsing the integrative quality of the border over its divisional mandate.
James W. Scott write in his book “Bordering, Border Politics and Cross-Border Cooperation in Europe,” the study of borders has been moved from a dominant concern with formal State frontiers and ethno-cultural areas to the study of borders at diverse socio-spatial and geographic scales, ranging from the local and the munificap, to the global, regional and supra-state level. The robust growth of border studies can partially be attributed to the emergence of counter-narratives to globalization discourses of late 1980s and early 1990s. For a rather short but influential period, prophesies of “borderless world” abounded in which global technologies, cyberspace, capital flows, East-West political convergence and interstate integration would make political borders obsolete.
However, perhaps ironically, borders have become ubiquitous–not always visibe, but always with clear social impacts. The present state of depate indicates that the field of border studies has opened up possibilities for questioning the rationales behind everyday border-making by understanding borders as institutions, processes and symbols. Borders are thus not given; they emerge through socio-political border-making or “bordering” that takes place within society. Rather than focus strictly on physical borders as formal markers of territoriality, the bordering perspective is about the everyday construction of borders among communicates and groups, through ideology, discourses, political institutions, attitudes and agency. The concept of border politics raises a series of interesting questions regarding the power relations involved in the making of borders.
“Borders are complex human creations that are perpetually open to question.”
–John A. Agnew, “Border on the Mind: Re-framing Border Thinking”
John A. Agner notes that Territory and related spatial terms (place, space, territory) offer a profitable theoretical lens through which to analyze the workings of governance and politics. Governance, in this construction, extends beyond formal government into the realm of various forms of authority exercised by agents other than states at and across a variety of geographical scales. Politics, likewise, is not simply the machinations of national politics, elections, and so on, but also the operation of local politics, various forms of supranational political organization, and the nexus between private power and public authority. The past 20 years or so has been a reframing of political thought, away from the totally state-centered narratives. Much of this had to do with the rise of thinking about globalization that puts in question the modern territorial state as the sole unit of contemporary political account.
“We are in the midst of a global upheaval, due to the economic crisis and the strengthening of a capitalism that I qualify as extractive. It is shaping a new geography of world power. In this new geography of power, new intermediate spaces were formed between the global and local realities. These areas formed the space where global and local realities have lost the opacity, which differentiated them to become distinct but interdependent moments with each other. They are “frontier areas” that have nothing to do with geography, but are the places, the dynamics that lead to decisions that overwhelm the work of both the supranational institutions as well as the national and local ones. Over time, they popped the old division between North and South of the planet, between East and West, between central and peripheral countries of capitalism. Let me be clear, it is not that the frontiers have disappeared, but were jumped over in the sense that they are no longer central. Therefore, it is not relevant whether or not the nation-state will return, which has already undergone changes in constitutional setups, in the balance between the judicial, legislative, and executive powers, to be in line with the needs of world economy. It surrendered that part of its sovereignty over a given territory.”
–Saskia Sassen, in the interview from the article “A world unified by the golden rule: expropriation,” Il Manifesto, March 21, 2017, following up her last book “Territory, Authority, Rights.”
The year 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Treatise of Rome, forming the European Union.
“Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together. Leaving Europe is not leaving a market, it is leaving shared dreams. We can have a common market, but if we do not have common dreams, we have nothing. Europe is the peace that came after the disaster of war. Europe is the pardon between French and Germans. Europe is the return to freedom of Greece, Spain and Portugal. Europe is the fall of the Berlin Wall. Europe is the end of communism. Europe is the welfare state, it is democracy.”
–Esteban González Pons, speech at the European Parliament, March 25th,2017.
Over the history we’ve witnessed various kinds of unions that endured its turbulences and challenges, and some collapsed. USSR and Yuglosavia were two powerful unions that had dissolluted with the rise of nationalism that overrode ideology. European Union, on the other hand, had emerged after a peace treaties following the two world wars, and consolidated as the member states become democratized, also as in synic with the economic benefits for all. Even with the Brexit, the EU is a strong unity with shared values. Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), East Asia Summit (EAS), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technological and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasia Economic Union (EEU), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Baltic Assembly (BA), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oragnization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), Arab League (AL), and others, there has been many forms of unions and associations for the economic, cultural, political, even religious cooperations. Can we call the ISIS a form of union? What would it be like to make a cross continental union, and what would each members benefit from it?
The Third Chapter of the Imagining New Eurasia, Mine, Yours, and Ours: Borders, Territories, and Unionswill test the idea to which extent we call ourselves “us.” This chapter continues to incorporate a fictional element to the narrative, by re-framing the Eurasian land as a discovery made from the future, while unearthing the traces of how people have used to live in a segregate and devided condition of 2017. In the year 20XX, the human race in Eurasia has been hybridized to an extent that the idea of ethnicity becomes obsolete. As a man from the future, Kyong Park will conduct an archeological expedition (which could be considered as a contemporary social study in today’s term) across Eurasia trying to understand the divisional madates of different places. Park’s physical travel across the Eurasian land–visiting 16 cities and 11 countries, from Seoul to London–is a quest to look for the omens of Eurasian constituency. Referencing from the second chapter’s traveler, explorers and conqueror’s traveling route, Park will adopt some of their goals, missions or security to devise ways in which his movement would enable to move something from one city to the next city, how something could accunmulate from all cities, how one thing be captured and delieverd from one end to the other end. One of the mechanism he will conduct would be to interview people of the places that are crucial sites of Eurasian transformation.
The hypothesis of this quest is that the Eurasian entity is shaped as an assemblage of many collectives that are innate with their own anxieties and complications, and yet in seek for harmony and unity. The evidence that Park expects to find along the trip could be gained by observing ways in which people draw “broders,” as they marcate “territories,” and how they form “unions” among different groups that reside within their territorial compounds. Park will engage in various conversations with people and create a dialogue marathon through different locals. Also, he will capture various places across the land, to be materialized as photographs, panoramic videos, interviews, audio collections and other matierals. Using multiple technologies and mediums, to capture, carry and display, the materials gained and experienced would be timely broadcasted via Vlog during the expedition.