Flag Forensics/Microscopy of the Union Flag is a project which is a forensic visual examination of the union flag, utilising extreme macro photographic and microphotographic techniques. The resulting images will be reproduced at large scale as digital prints and video pieces.
The body of work is a reflection on the crisis of national identity in Britain and is a reflection on the period if frantic introspection in which the nation finds itself. The national collective self seems characterized its rifts as much as common values; rifts between the constituent nations of the Union, as well as the potentially deeper rifts between those of diverging views about the nation’s place in the world at large. The work is a reflection on nationalism and patriotism and is in a literal sense a search for meaning within these concepts; patriotism to country has very different meanings between people, and vastly different emotional weight between individuals.
The project will examine the graphic elements of the flag and increase in intensity to slowly explore more deeply; into its construction and stitching and finally down to the fibres themselves in a process analogous to that of forensic science. The project will result in a video works, alongside a series of large photographic print works designed to be viewed in series. Where the print works will focus on creating richly detailed images which represent a myopic view blown up to panoramic scale, the video works will focus on tracking and movement across the fabric of the flag to ever increasing degrees of magnification.
Several examples of the Union flag will be used; contemporary synthetic fibre flags versus older, distressed flags bearing patina and age-related imperfections and contaminants from exposure to the elements. The images will also be intended to refer indirectly to landscape painting as a means of reinforcing the relation to land and a sense of place inherent in concepts of nation.
The project is a result of my attempts to find a way to explore the cultural fallout of the political climate of recent years which avoids the polarised political positions and oppositional ‘othering’ utilised by both ends of the political spectrum buy focusing on the symbol of national belonging.