How to build a micronation

Uit: TED, 24-01-2014

TED2014 Fellow Jorge Mañes Rubio is an artist and perpetual tourist who investigates invisible, forgotten places — Chinese cities submerged by the Three Gorges Dam Project, a little-known Pacific island paradise destroyed by mining. He creates art that reimagines and revives these sites as attention-worthy destinations. Here, Rubio describes to the TED Blog his latest art project, in which he created a new micronation. He shares how this was a response to the social struggles of a small neighborhood in Amsterdam.

The Columbusplein public square in Amsterdam West has long been a hotspot for social issues, among them bullying and lack of community cohesion. The demographics in the area are quite unique — it’s a very multicultural and multiethnic population which includes immigrants from Turkey, Morocco, Dominica and Surinam, as well as native Dutch. While more than 20 organizations have been active in the neighborhood for years, helping struggling families and organizing activities for kids and parents, local politicians and social workers in the area are still struggling to find ways to tackle these problems.

As part of a new initiative led by SOCIALDESIGNFORWICKEDPROBLEMS — which studies how designers and artists can work with governments for social impact — I was asked to team up with design studio Muzus and come up with a proposal for an art-based solution to what ailed Columbusplein. To this request, I said: yes.

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