12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Messy Glossary


Non-Aligned Movement


Proposed by Sinthujan Varatharajah

The Non-Aligned Movement emerged at the height of the period of so-called decolonization. A number of formerly colonized populations found themselves at that time in new state entities that were no longer formally tied to the colonial metropolises. At the same time, these new artificial state entities also found themselves on a new world map. In an attempt to claim their new place allotted to them on this imperial map, they began to create a means of navigating along imperial lines. They tried to imagine a political existence and order independent of the former colonial metropolises. At the Bandung Conference in 1955, they drew up utopian goals reflecting their wish for collective existence and growth, contrary to the many dictates imposed by the imperial powers. Although the movement was committed to conceiving and creating a different world, ultimately, it was not possible for them to break out of the world into which they were violently thrown, and they gradually began to align with it. Their promise remains unresolved to this day.