In this lecture, Karen Fiss will share her current book project on ‘nation branding’, engaging postcolonial ideas and critiques of how a ‘nation’ is formed alongside an investment in integrating differing communities of people with vast networks of information technology and international trade.
‘My book examines the impact of government branding/propaganda campaigns on conceptions of citizenship and the construction of historical narratives, particularly in the wake of political conflict and trauma. I place these “top-down” efforts in tension with the work of artists’ collectives and alternative spaces that offer competing ways of imagining “collective memory” and identity within local, national, and global contexts. In many respects, the book critiques the way in which globalization has been conceived within the dominant (often neocolonial) paradigms of the art world, and seeks to identify alternative frameworks with which to understand these mechanisms of exhibition, exchange, and cultural representation. While my book considers a wide range of examples, my research abroad has concentrated on South Africa. After spending my last sabbatical there, I realized that current cultural practices in Vietnam would be a highly relevant and interesting comparative direction to take my research – hence my interest in San Art’.