The Flag (Bayrak)
The work is displayed as part of the permanent exhibition
Two channel synchronised video projection, colour, with sound
Duration 9' 1''
Inv. No. 644/09
Köken Ergun’s works focus on the recording of dominant or minority social groups and their distinctive socially formative rituals. Likewise, in the work titled The Flag (Bayrak) Ergun records the celebrations taking place during the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, an important national holiday established to commemorate the founding of the Turkish state by Kemal Ataturk, held on 23rd April each year. In this work, a two-channel synchronised video projection reproduces images of a typical national celebration: Inside a stadium, school students and scouts recite patriotic poems for the eyes of their parents and numerous official army and state representatives, under the sound of a military band. The wide shots clearly demonstrate the way in which patriotic oaths and poems are integrated into a ritual resonating with those of a totalitarian regime. At the same time, however, a number of close-ups offer views of the innocence of childhood obscured by the veil of nationalism. As Ergun argues, The Flag “records a pompous patriotic performance devised by grown-ups to be performed by children”.
Stamatis Schizakis, text from the permanent exhibition guide ENTER EMST : Collection & History, A short guide, 2020