Posts Tagged ‘Nationalism’

“U.S.N.Z. Flag” (Digital Paintings, 2009, thanks to Tao Wells)

Friday, December 4th, 2009

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Designs for a new New Zealand flag representing our nations unconscious split-personality (the motherland on one side, the fatherland on the other). Inspired by Tao Wells’ Global American Flags, Michael Billig’s Banal Nationalism (thanks to Robyn Kenealy) and the Herald’s call for a new NZ flag in 2009 (given support by National leader and current prime-minister John Key, as well as 11 members of the so-called ‘Order of New Zealand’).

“The central thesis of the present book is that, in the established nations, there is a continual ‘flagging’, or reminding, of nationhood. The established nations are those states that have confidence in their own continuity, and that, particularly, are part of what is conventionally described as ‘the West’. The political leaders of such nations – whether France, the USA, the United Kingdom or New Zealand – are not typically termed ‘nationalists’. However, as will be suggested, nationhood provides a continual background for their political discourses, for cultural products, and even for the structuring of newspapers. In so many little ways, the citizenry are daily reminded of their national place in a world of nations. However, this reminding is so familiar, so continual, that it is not consciously registered as reminding. The metonymic image of banal nationalism is not a flag which is being consciously waved with fervent passion; it is the flag hanging unnoticed on the public building.” (Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism)

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“Triumph of the Walt” (Video Art, 2010)

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

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Video mashup of Walk Disney’s speech at the opening of Disneyland, one of Hitler’s speeches and Star Wars. All footage sourced from YouTube.

“Werner von Braun entered the consciousness of America as its prophet of space travel on a Sunday evening in 1955. He had been hired by Walt Disney to develop a series of stories for his Disneyland television program With his smooth German accent, von Braun came across as foreign as outer-space; yet with Disney as his patron, he became familiar as Mickey Mouse and he seemed as squeaky clean as Snow White. We eventually learned – if we did not know already – that von Braun had designed the V-2 missile that had rained terror on London during World War 2 According to his story, von Braun had little choice but to let his genius be exploited by the Nazis. Now, in the mid-1950s, he was working for the United States Army to build rockets that would defend us from the Communists. About a decade ago, as many government documents from the end of World War II were declassified, von Braun’s true story began to emerge. The documents told of the Nazi activities of von Braun and other German scientists who came to the US after the war. It was no longer credible for them to say that they were not dedicated Nazis and only did what they did to protect their jobs They belonged to the Nazi party, the SS, and other Nazi organizations. They were honored by the Nazi party and by Hitler specifically. They were indirectly – and in some cases directly – responsible for the deaths of thousands of concentration camp slave laborers.” (Dennis Piszkiewicz, The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War)

In 1933, the German American Bund was founded by Fritz Kuhn. An association of German immigrants to America, the Bund had a definite pro-Nazi slant. Disney animator Art Babbitt claimed his boss had a strong interest in, if not outright sympathy for, the Bund; “In the immediate years before we entered the War there was a small, but fiercely loyal, I suppose legal, following of the Nazi party… There were open meetings, anybody could attend and I wanted to see what was going on myself. On more than one occasion I observed Walt Disney and [Disney’s lawyer] Gunther Lessing there, along with a lot of prominent Nazi-afflicted Hollywood personalities. Disney was going to meetings all the time. The German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose documentaries in the mid-30s had helped to glorify the Nazis, claimed that “after Kristallnacht [1938], she approached every studio in Hollywood looking for work. No studio head would even screen her movies except Walt Disney. He told her he admired her work but if it became known that he was considering hiring her, it would damage his reputation.” (Marc Eliot, Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince)

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“Stolen Land” (NZ Parliament/Thistle Hall, 2011)

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

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Conceptual/sculptural piece exhibited in two parts: 1) the confiscation of a patch of land from Parliament grounds, and 2) this piece of land exhibited as part of The Briefcase Project (group show, curated by Richard Bartlett, Thistle Hall, 8-14 August). 19 artists were featured in the show, including Hannah Salmon, Ben Knight, Lance Ravenswood, Tui Harrington and Turrence Turner (among others).

“My favourite pieces are the visual discourse on the concept of “stolen land” and a beautiful piece of sound design, delivered on a very old school reel machine.” (Martyn Pepperell, Word on the Street)

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“New Zealand 100% Pure Activism” (Digital Images, 2012)

Friday, June 8th, 2012

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