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The Interactive World of May 12, 1999



Liz Stirling: the virtual State, it is it (babelfish translation for the non french thanks to babelfish and -

Guillaume Fraissard

For two years, Liz Stirling has been the numerical ambassadress of a country which exists only on the Fabric, Lizbeksitan

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September 9, 1986
Birth in Australia.

Departure for Berlin.

Painted Liz of the mural frescos in hospitals ougandais for the account of a humane organization.

Arrived to Paris, where Liz works as artist.

First voyage in Ouzbékistan.

Birth of Lizbekistan.

September 9, 1999
Programmed stop of Lizbekistan.

Photo Jeremy Stigter

DO NOT SEEK the borders of Lizbekistan on an atlas. This country exists only on the Fabric. And in the imagination of Liz Stirling, an Australian artist installed in Paris since now twelve years. No the gilded plate nor flag. Just an address at the bottom of a flowered dead end of XIVe district of Paris. The embassy of Lizbekistan is well with the image of its country: untraceable for the uninitiated persons. The ambassadress is however well there. Funny of character besides that Liz Stirling, this big girl with the soft face. Tennis shoes with the feet, relaxed behaviour and elocution with the manner of Jane Birkin, it accomodates the visitors as if it were at it (it is the case). For the protocol, it will be necessary to go to see elsewhere. In this a little special embassy, the coffee is caught with good the franquette, on a table strewn with various objects, of which a potato collection in the shape of court.

Lizbekistan starts here, between the walls of an apartment nicely decorated pop way art. The country is prolonged on the Fabric for the happiness of thousands of Net surfers who discover the joys of the membership at a virtual community "A through Lizbekistan, I would like that people put themselves in the skin of the refugees, exiled, those which have neither country of fastener nor papers." a profession of faith for virtual country, caught up with today by realities of a European war which uproots hundreds of thousands of people. An extreme topicality which gives to the experiment a particular connotation "the Network is incredible for that. It makes it possible to people to remain in contact even while being separate."

The Communities

FOR a few years, the virtual communities have had the wind in poop on Internet. The idea is to gather the Net surfers in a factitious world and to recreate a social fabric, common rules of life, identical or different from those founded in the real world. The ambition of the virtual communities is, generally, to dissociate reality to invent a new space in which each one can invent a name, a function and a way of life.
In some of them, the Net surfers are materialized by misadventures which live and interact with hundreds of thousands of others. Presented like places where all the audacities, all the meetings are allowed, the virtual communities however do not collect always the adhesion of the Net surfers. Enticing, they must remain relatively confidential to be able to function correctly. The failure of the Second World of Channel + showed that to want to make take part too much people one makes such worlds not easily livable.

In Lizbekistan, not of misadventures. Just a site on which the citizens can come to take the last news of their country. And, rather than of miser on technology, the representation in three dimensions and virtual reality, Liz made, it, the choice of art and derision to develop the feeling of membership. The logos, passports, stamps and other forms of Lizbekistan are used to bind the citizens and to make Lizbeks truths of them.

Liz chose the expatriation. Wished even. And the concept of this country to the consonances of Central Asia was born in its imagination from artist. Its studies in the completed Art schools of Sydney, it feels the need to so leave this native Australia "far from all". "the fact of leaving its country, adds it, gets feelings of very useful danger and discomfort to artistic creation." Even Parisian, Liz always smells expatriée. "Even if I am well integrated in France with a good network of friends, I would be always foreign in this country."

In 1987, Liz Stirling thus arrives to Berlin to approach the rest of the world a little. But the bags hardly posed, it embarks for Africa with a humane organization then these will be two voyages one year in Ouzbékistan which will give him the idea of a virtual country "My starting idea was to work around questions such as: What a group? What a border? Which are papers necessary to belong to a country?" contours of Lizbekistan were born from these multiple interrogations. And also of a formidable need for derision "I wanted to also put a key of humour and to criticize all heavinesses of the administration and the inconsistencies of the political world", adds Liz without separating itself of his tone posed.

After a rapid turning by New York to learn graphic creation on Web site, the gates of the kingdom lizbek open in the world in August 1997. Its currency will be " Freedom, Égalité, Virtualité ". At its head, Liz obviously, eccentric princess reigning as an absolute monarch on his reticular subjects. Very happy subjects to be able to obtain a title, a ministry or a station with responsibilities in this country where all is allowed: **time-out** charge of Gotha, Minister for time lose, minister of font, of justice, of sharpening and of cleaning dry... Frederic Dard itself would not have imagined such a republic marionette for the adventures of his famous police chief San Antonio! *** TRANSLATION ENDS HERE ***

Liz has fun. For its visitors, it became a emblematic figure. " Those which require nationality lisbèke are people who like the feeling of >membership at a community. They want also to know the dual nationality and to flee one moment quite real political realities of their everyday life. " To fill them, Liz calls upon his talents of artist. In the vein of fine Warhol of century, it prints truth- forged passports, stamps, factitious currency and all the panoply to feel a " truth " Lisbek. Play then consisting in for the citizens lizbeks making plug their passport at the time of their voyages. " What is funny, it is that the American or Canadian customs officers immediately agreed to plug our forged passports. " Less inclined with the joke, their French counterparts had a little evil to re-enter in this small play. " But, when they see the American buffers, they laugh and end up doing it. "Liz is proud of sound opens. She nevertheless makes a point of keeping a distant oil on this adventure. " My work remains conceptual nevertheless. My goal is not too to imply me but to make well contribute the visitors to the life of the site. "
Thus, she would like one capacity day to expose its open elsewhere than on the white walls of her four-parts. " It is true that I would like that. On a site, the things are not beautiful to look at. I would like to be able to create an environment and to assemble a transitory exposure at the time of the destruction of Lizbekistan. "

Of an ultimate foot of nose to those which can destroy the world while pressing on a simple button, Liz will put fine at the Lizbekistan experiment of simple a clic on the computer which furnishs one with the corners of the embassy. The fatic date was never a mystery for Lisbeks. " on September 9, 1999, it will be the end. " Liz is moved. It did not think that it would be necessary to stop the experiment at the time when the requests for passport increase. "Too much éprise of transitory to let itself lock up in the long term.

But the Community spirit which chaired intended of Lizbekistan should reappear soon. Like any artist, Liz swarms with projects. To thirty and a few years - Liz does not like too much to reveal the last figure -, it should soon give rise to a new virtual place: Liz Vegas. This time, the gilded plates will be with go. Those which are used for the players to dream of a hypothetical fortune.

Dossier web réalisé par O.D.

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