LOST NATION, January 1999



In January 1999, at the height of the Lewinsky-Clinton affair, Herman Asselberghs and Dieter Lesage asked me if I wanted to go to ‘Lost Nation’. They explained that this was part of a project they were setting up in Brussels: a place slash library slash installation about vanished nations such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany, USSR, and Zaire. Intriguing, so I thought, and I told them I was in. But where was Lost Nation? And, since it was lost, where could we find it? Browsing through their library, Herman and Dieter stumbled onto Lost Nation, an American village located on Highway 136 in Eastern Iowa, with a community of 497 citizens. And thus, this little road movie came to be: a trip to a nation where the average citizen spends about 5 years of his lifetime waiting in line, 2 years trying to reach people by telephone, 1 year searching for misplaced objects, 8 months opening junk-mail and 6 months sitting at traffic lights.