State of Noland
Denis Maksimov | Avenir Institute

This episode of Pythian School of Futures sets off to envision a form of state that neither occupies land nor holds borders. The title of the episode refers to a project by Avenir Institute in which artists aim to bypass the bureaucratic convention of naturalization. The symbolic protocol to obtain citizenship does not require any paperwork but paying a visit to the website of the state: www.stateofnoland.info 

The host of the podcast, Denis Maksimov, puts the concept of state under scrutiny to discover how the outdated notion of statehood could be redefined according to the needs of the new world that is to come. He dives into speculative future scenarios to pose questions about how states could be useful rather than forceful. 

Episode Notes:

1. The first article within the statement of principles describes the state of Noland as a state of mind not aligned with any geopolitical entity and a state-after-state, a constellation of practices that replace political monopolies. The statement of principles is available at:



2. The nation-state is an ideal in which cultural boundaries match up with political boundaries. According to one definition, “a nation-state is a sovereign state of which most of its subjects are also united by factors which define a nation such as a language or common descent”. It is a more precise concept than “country” since a country does not need to have a predominant ethnic group. 



3. The process in which a notionally non-European subject (be it a culture, a language, a city, or a nation) adopts several European features (often related to Westernization). Europeanisation in political science has been referred to very generally as ‘becoming more European-like’. More specifically than this, it has been defined in several ways. One of the earliest conceptualizations of the term is by Ladrech (1994, 69), who defines Europeanisation simply as ‘an incremental process of re-orienting the direction and shape of politics to the extent that EC political and economic dynamics become part of the organizational logic of national politics and policymaking.’



4. Peace of Westphalia, European settlements of 1648, which ended the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and the Dutch and the German phase of the Thirty Years’ War. The peace was negotiated, from 1644, in the Westphalian towns of Münster and Osnabrück. Some scholars of international relations credit the treaties with providing the foundation of the modern state system and articulating the concept of territorial sovereignty. 



 5. Leviathan, is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and published in 1651. Written during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan. The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. 



6. Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate authority over other people in order to establish a law or change existing law. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme legitimate authority over some polity. In international law, sovereignty is the exercise of power by a state. 



7. Mega Man, known as Rockman in Japan, is a Japanese science fiction video game franchise created by Capcom, starring a series of robot characters, each known by the moniker “Mega Man”. The original Mega Man series consists of eleven main games, a side game titled Mega Man & Bass, as well as all Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, and other console games featuring the original design of Mega Man. Mega Man, released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987, was the first in a series that expanded to over 50 games on multiple systems. As of December 31, 2019, the game series has sold 36 million units worldwide. 



8. Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi (October 13, 1958 – October 2, 2018) was a Saudi Arabian, journalist, dissident, author, a columnist for The Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 by agents of the Saudi government, allegedly at the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia in September 2017 and went into self-imposed exile. He said that the Saudi government had “banned him from Twitter”, and he later wrote newspaper articles critical of the Saudi government. Khashoggi had been sharply critical of the Saudi rulers, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.



9. WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organization that publishes news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous sources. Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organization Sunshine Press, claimed in 2015 to have released online 10 million documents in its first ten years. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director. Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnsson has served as its editor-in-chief.



10. In moral and political philosophy, the social contract is a theory or model that originated during the Age of Enlightenment and is usually concerned with the legitimacy of the state’s authority over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order.



11. Gilles Deleuze was a French philosopher who, from the early 1950s until he died in 1995, wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. Many scholars consider his metaphysical treatise Difference and Repetition (1968) to be his magnum opus. Although he once characterized himself as a “pure metaphysician”, his work has influenced a variety of disciplines across the humanities, including philosophy, art, and literary theory, as well as movements such as post-structuralism and postmodernism.



12. Rhizome as a philosophical concept was developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972–1980) project. It is what Deleuze calls an “image of thought”, based on the botanical rhizome, that apprehends multiplicities. Deleuze and Guattari use the terms “rhizome” and “rhizomatic” to describe theory and research that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation. 



13. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary organizations in Ireland throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Organizations going by this name have been dedicated to irredentism through Irish republicanism, the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic free from British rule.