Contemporary geopolitics indicate that primordial conceptions of nations reproduce exclusionary frameworks that are no longer capable of expressing the complexities of contemporary identities. These ideas, the ideas of nationalism are not so much sustained through explicit ideological exhortation, but through implicit, repetitive, and symbolic reinforcement.
Through IV acts, the project examines landscapes as vernacular artefacts and follows the different roles they play in the construction of national canons. Act I looks at the impact of a new culture entering a landscape and its political implications. Act II looks at how through time these new landscapes become appropriated and in Act III how their histories and origins get neutralized through cultural production. Finally Act IV scrutinizes the weaponization of national canons in nationalist rhetoric.
The project uses narrative power of design to create new mythologies around our material culture and reveal a history of a world in flux. A world where primordial conceptions of nations are foundational, not fundamental and where contemporary cultures emerge over time through social exchange. Rather than burning bridges with history, it examines and unfolds the complexities of cultural cannons, digging up denied aspects of the past.
The project is supported by a thesis titled ‘(E)MERGING IDENTITIES’ exploring the intersection of design, art and national identity. Focusing on on nationalist rhetoric perpetuating an image of a past existing in apparent isolation, the thesis uncovers neglected histories of internal diversity and transnational networks that constitute the national.