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Solution 168-185America

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A Prelude
(p. 7-8)


Some years ago, Ingo Niermann offered ten muchquoted visions, or “solutions,” for the Federal Republic of Germany in his book Umbauland. In stern solemnity laced with a friendly sarcasm that is unmistakably his, Niermann argued how to make things better, on many a different level. Now I, among others, have been invited to pick a nation of my choice. In view of Solution's willfully imperial, supercilious bent — “sorry to interrupt, but here's how to improve this country of yours” — I opted for the USA, still the most proficiently colonial place I know. And from this perspective, I think the double colonial negative has served the book well.
The choice of nations aside, I'm a little less confident regarding the nature of my suggestions in and of themselves. The most engaging aspect of this writing exercise, from the writer's perspective, is that you begin to reassess whom your criticism — and the tips, compliments, complaints, and wisecracks of this text in particular — would benefit if it were to be read on even the smallest scale. This question is revisited in my essay, albeit without offering the slightest hint of an intelligent answer. (OK, maybe the slightest hint.) For answers of the kind we have other books, more discriminating but possibly less entertaining than mine, since the objective here is not to educate America so much as to produce a pleasurable text purporting to do just that.
Much of this essay was developed in late 2007, while I was teaching at two art colleges in Los Angeles: the Art Center in Pasadena and Otis College in Santa Monica. I am deeply grateful to Meg Cranston for making that stopover possible, but also to Bruce Hainley and Jane McFadden for their support. Some passages are partially borrowed from essays published in frieze and Bidoun magazines, to which I am equally indebted.
Tirdad Zolghadr : autre titre



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