small states on un-certain stereotypes

Interview to Friedeman Malsch - Director of the Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum

Liechtenstein, Vaduz
February, 2005

PIER PAOLO CORO – I think that in small states, we have a different perception of distance. In your opinion, how is distance experienced in these small countries?
FRIEDEMANN MALSCH – I think that this kind of experience can also be had in the Alps, or in the mountains in general: it’s the perspective of the valley. The valley as a whole world. It’s the same in Switzerland. How do people move around in Switzerland? Short distances, mentally, become enormous, but you just have to catch a plane and you can reach the US, Japan, Indonesia, Bali… All beautiful places… But going just 100
km away, from here or from another city, is impossible… You feel like it’s an excessive distance. For example, on the other side of the Rhine, which is 500 meters from here, there’s a whole different world. You don’t go there. But of course, you go to Zurich to get the plane. You can do that more easily than reaching a village 20 km away.
PPC – That opens up another aspect of the discussion surrounding identity.
FM – There’s a problem regarding small states, that of the search for identity. But it’s a false problem, a contradiction, in my opinion.
RITA CANAREZZA – A contradiction on the outside… but also on the inside.
FM – Many people think that small states need to find a national identity… It’s an endless search… It can’t be done. The lack of an identity actually has a great advantage that people don’t realize. 
(interview extract)