Tag Archives: michael abouzelof

Official Zaqistan Press Release

Zaqistan is consuming my life to such a degree that I’m questioning who I am in the first place. Why am I working so hard on this insane project? Who knows. Anyway, we have a couple events coming up, so I thought I’d share with you our official press release I’m sending media outlets. Take a look if you’re interested…

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The 10th Anniversary of the Republic of Zaqistan

November 19th, 2015, marks the 10th year anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Zaqistan, and to celebrate Twilite Lounge is hosting an Independence Day party. CUAC is buying a beer for every official Zaqistani citizen in attendance, and Zaqistani citizenship can be applied for and granted by Rep. Michael Abouzelof at a pop-up kiosk in the bar. Citizenship is free for those who meet the criteria of truly wanting it.

This event will be followed up by an academic symposium held at CUAC on December 3rd. On that night, we will be discussing the concepts behind Zaqistan, the recent media frenzy, as well as how the micronation fits with the history of Utah.

In case you are unaware, here is a quick background on Zaqistan. In 2005, New York artist Zaq Landsberg purchased two acres in a remote Utah desert for $610 off of eBay. After venturing out to the land that summer, Landsberg and a few friends who would become the first Zaqistani citizens declared independence from the United States and founded the Republic of Zaqistan. Ten years later, and with the help of writer Michael Abouzelof, Zaqistan has morphed into an international phenomenon that calls into question what it means to be a nation is in the first place.

Over time, Landsberg has built an array of monuments and public works on the land, including a Victory Arch, a customs booth immigration station, and robotic sentinels that protect the borders. Zaqistan has opened a temporary Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina and a Consulate-General in New York City in 2012. The Zaqistan State Department has issued more than 175 passports to date, and more than 300 people around the world hold Zaqistani citizenship.

Described as a “sovereign nation” by Conan O’Brien, “conceptual art project turned into a literal example of nation-building,” by Vice Media and acknowledged by US Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as a “country,” the Republic of Zaqistan exists on a multitude of different levels. While public figures joke about the micronation, refugees from around the world have sought asylum there. It is a plot of land, a severely weathered sculpture garden, a national identity, a conceptual art piece, a de-facto sovereign nation, and a probe into the meaning of sovereignty, legitimacy, nationalism, perception, and reality.

To date, Zaqistan has been reported on in 40 countries and in more than 27 languages. It has been featured in Vice, the NY Daily News, PEOPLE Magazine, ARTE (France), The New York Times, Deseret News, KSL, WGN Radio, New York Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, USA TODAY, Fox News, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo! News, Business Insider, The Seattle Times, The Miami Herald, The Denver Post, SFGate, Salon, DunyaNews Pakistan, Emirates 24/7, Irish Examiner, Egypt 1, Singapore News, Kenya Central, and many others.  

Michael Abouzelof is a writer and representative of the Republic of Zaqistan. In the past he has been described as “a living example of the dysfunction of the American medical system.” Currently writing for VICE Media, he specializes in radical economics with a pop culture twist, late night existential discourses, and potentially treasonous conceptual art projects.

CUAC, formerly known as the Central Utah Art Center, is an artist-run contemporary art venue located in the heart of Salt Lake City. Their aim is to continue to be a pioneer in contemporary art in Utah and to take a multifaceted approach to community development through education, exhibitions, symposia, criticism, education about art collecting, and collaboration.

Twilite Lounge is a Salt Lake City dive bar that has been in operation since 1947. Home to an assortment of people from all walks of life, it is a popular neighborhood spot for young and old alike. On the night of the decennial party, they will be serving an assortment of drinks that feature the finer points of Zaqistani mixology.

The Salt Lake City event on November 19th is part of a global celebration of Zaqistanis coming together to mark the country’s decennial. Concurrent festivities will be held in New York, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam and Paris. The event is free and open to anyone 21 and older.

November 19th, 2015

8 PM–1 AM

Twilite Lounge

347 E 200 S

Salt Lake City, UT

The symposium on December 3rd will be held at CUAC. The discussion will be held from 6–7, followed by a general mingling from 7–8. It is free and open to all.

December 3rd, 2015

6 PM–8 PM

CUAC

175 E 200 S

Salt Lake City, UT

Contact zaqistanslc@gmail.com for more information.

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