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Interrogating the Invisible PDF Print E-mail
Pacific Rim artworks
Feb 12, 2006 at 07:18 AM

Ian Clothier


The Leistavian FBI will create an online survey form which allows for the input of multiple cultural identifications. Those that register one main cultural identity will become a control group, while those that register two or more cultural identifications, in particular those with at least one affiliation to a Pacific Rim nation, will be the target group. The form also collects information on attitudes to cultural identification issues. The data will be presented online as statistical summaries, in the installation area as large scale vinyl imagery (non-rectangular, adhered directly to wall, where image component size registers survey responses), and as a projected animation which registers change in survey responses.

The Leistavian Federal Bureau of Information acts as a data gathering and collation unit, providing hard data on cultural issues. At ISEA 2006 the Bureau wants to interrogate the hidden by gathering statistics on the culturally invisible of the Pacific Rim: people of multiple and hybrid ethnicity.

The San Jose region and Silicon Valley is now home to diverse cultural groups including Indian, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and to a lesser extent, Polynesian peoples. While these cultures have significant heritages and identity maintained under the conditions of diaspora, this project aims to locate people whose cultural identity falls in-between: Hispanic-Vietnamese, Japanese-Hawaiian or Indian-Chinese for example.

Wherever cultural groups have cohabitated, hybrid individuals have resulted. These people fall outside typical cultural formations which adhere to traditional heritage supplanted from a former homeland. Cultural hybrids must now negotiate multiple cultural influences, which may not have cultural coherence in the form of national costume, traditional dance and music, or even language.

Currently very little is known about cultural hybrids in terms of identification strategies. While first generation immigrants are well researched, attached to what and how does identity form, among second generation people of Pacific Island descent for example? Under what conditions do they reference second or third generation descent? These answers to these questions are unknown.

An invitation to participate

"Interrogating the invisible" is a District of Leistavia project that aims to gather statistics on how it is that people connect to their cultural identity. The data will then be visualised. We are looking for people who identify with either one or two cultures, and will be able to examine if there are differences between those with one, and those with two identifications.

This presents an ideal opportunity for those of mixed ethnicity - Vietnamese/Latino, Chinese/Polynesian or Indian/English for example - to have their thoughts and preferences recorded. Of course, the project also needs responses from those with one main cultural identification.

There is an online survey form which will be used as a context for gathering data, which will then be visualised both as still and moving image and presented at ISEA 2006/Zero One San Jose and elsewhere. All information is confidential. Here is the online form url:

Feedback about the form and the project is welcomed.


The District of Leistavia is a hybrid cultural micronation created by Ian M Clothier with contributors from around the world. The Federal Bureau of Information was created following the collation of statistics regarding the constitution of Leistavia.

The virtual community was created for ISEA 2004 and subsequently exhibited at 'prog:ME' in Rio de Janeiro and online at 'Public Assembly' curated by ZKM of Germany; in Auckland (Vodafone Digital Art Awards), at Graphite2005 in Dunedin, at Te Wa The Space and the Quay Gallery in Wanganui New Zealand.

Leistavian Federal Bureau of Information web page

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Last Updated ( Jul 17, 2006 at 03:37 PM )
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