The project aims to explore the dilemmas of working with the controversial topic of nationalism and the contrast between the emotional and rational / academic world. The video represents a situation where I present my work to the academic committee (all the roles played by myself) and receive criticism. However, in the end it remains unclear which attitude is rational and which is emotional.
The context of the work is contemporary Estonian society with a Russian minority population of approximately 30%. The aim is to find a common ground between two ethnic groups, with examples of Russian speaking Estonians enthusiastically attending Estonian national celebrations.
I have been interested in national events of both ethnic groups, as well as my own personal involvement with the topic.
I find the nature of the events fascinating despite the color of the flag. However, as a PhD student and researcher I acknowledge the
profound effects of national identity rituals; therefore my involvement is a source of conflicting emotions. One would think that participating in such a mindless mass event would be attractive to only those unaware of the impact of propaganda mechanisms at work. But what does it mean if I am aware of the potential pitfalls of rampant nationalism, yet I still enjoy being part of the events? Should I cower in shame?
The installation consists of two videos (“Public displays of nationalism where I was present 1 and 2): on the first floor there is video of video presentation of nationalist events, commented by members of the academic committee. All the roles were played by myself.
On the ground-floor there is a second part, which deals more explicitly with the topic of shame.
The installation has been also presented in NauART Gallery, Barcelona. 2014, 30.05–28.06. “The Hypnotist Collector”, curated by Stacey Koosel.