Faux Citizenship at Art Basel in Hong Kong Costs Only $10,000

Sun Xun, Republic of Jing Bang country seal on citizenship
Sun Xun, Republic of Jing Bang country seal on citizenship "application" (2014). Photo: courtesy the artist.

Jet-setting collectors visiting Art Basel Hong Kong this week have the unique opportunity to apply for instant citizenship to the Republic of Jing Bang, reports Bloomberg. The ephemeral country is the creation of Chinese artist Sun Xun, and is meant to critique the concept of nationhood as it relates to art and commerce.

Prospective citizens will be treated to a glimpse of the “Divine Country Jing Bang” at an installation at the fair titled “Jing Bang: A Country Based on a Whale.” Curated by Yuko Hasegawa of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the booth will be overseen by “immigration officials” from the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, who will process up to 100 registrations at a special checkpoint.

The quirky faux nation, located within Singapore, apparently does not operate under the normal constraints of space and time. According to the artist (in a press release, linked above), “in Jing Bang, every split second is a season. To compare the season with heart, it snows suddenly, then brows the wind of autumn, soon after which comes the frost.” As for Jing Bang’s native denizens, “they lived in the sea, just urfacing in night; their back emerged from sea, looked at starry sky and they were feed on starlight.”

Interested? For a cool $10,000 all the perks of Jing Bang citizenship can be yours: a passport, identification card, an animated DVD, an aluminum “Citizenship Box” briefcase, the country’s national flag, and a hand-printed, hand-bound book about the nation. As an added bonus, you can brag about belonging to a “metaphysical state, [where] people treat wind as entertainment, dew as food. GDP seems like festival fireworks for us, short-lived, mere dross, not essential, not important.”

The application asks for a recent color photo with a white background and basic personal information—name, address, phone number, email, occupation, and job description—and must be signed or marked with the prospective Jing Bangian’s thumb print. While dual citizenship is okay, the fine print does commit you to living in your new motherland (“I intend to reside in Jing Bang during the existence of the country”) as “a true, loyal, brave, and fearless citizen.”

The artist has hinted at the existence of other unknown republics (“Lansylier, South Golden, Biggest Stone, Unautumn, Siyuland, Black Land, Sun Forever Land, Harji, Cujikula, Tongkoshiga, Elephland, Sky Land, Sun, Lingphocor, Fuslysia, and so on”), but isn’t selling citizenship to these other realms as of yet.


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