Beyond States

On crossing national borders

Project description

Our times are rife with contradictions. Border walls are being breached or demolished and, in some cases, newly erected. Nation states have lost significance to supranational organisations, although nationalistic tendencies are on the rebound. The transdisciplinary exhibition explores these contrary developments. Based on the concepts of state territory, citizenry and power, it focuses on the current and future importance of the state. International artistic positions reflect on dystopian and utopian realities and fantasies, right-wing libertarian ideologies and conspiracy theorists bent on combating democratically constituted nation states, whistleblowers who call state structures into question and call out human rights violations, and the concept of flexible citizenship modelled after subscription plans and video streaming portals. The mixed-media installation “prepared” by Vera Drebusch and Florian Egermann, for example, offers insights into the prepper scene whose followers are prepared for the collapse of state order. The Italian artists’ collective Forensic Oceanography presents a video installation which highlights the militarised border region in the Mediterranean. Using diverse geodata, the piece examines various human rights violations in the border regions. In a film by Nevin Aladaǧğ, the Turkish artist draws water samples from the deepest point in Lake Constance to reflect on state sovereignty based on the paradox that a fluid element like water can function as a border. This topic is especially relevant to the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance, as the early days of aviation once held the promise of a borderless experience, allowing people to effortlessly cross hard-fought territorial boundaries. For artists condemned by the Nazis for their “degenerate art”, crossing the border into nearby Switzerland allowed them to escape persecution by the Nazi regime.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive educational programme with workshops, screenings, a floating campus and a conference.

Artistic director: Claudia Emmert
Curators: Jürgen Bleibler, Ina Neddermeyer
Artists: Nevin Aladağ, Simon Denny, Vera Drebusch & Florian Egermann, Forensic Oceanography, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman & Daniel Keller, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Henrike Naumann, Jonas Staal and others


  • 5 February, 2021 to 6 June, 2021: Exhibition


    Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen

  • 4 February, 2021 : Online Opening | 6 pm



Zeppelin Museum

Seestraße 22
88045 Friedrichshafen (external link, opens in a new window)