Germans think that showing the national flag is sinister. World Cup football in 2006 brought about a notable change. Germans overcame — temporarily — their fear of the association with right-wing nationalism. They were proud of their fatherland and held up flags en masse for the first time. Flags were still fluttering six months after the World Cup and Florian Thalhofer wanted to find out why. Were he to be afraid of the owners of these forgotten flags?
From 30 March to 11 May 2007 Mediamatic held an exhibition, Vergessene Fahnen, by the German artist Florian Thalhofer. Using an interactive road movie and photos, he gave an account of fellow countrymen who, months after the World Cup football in 2006, were still hanging the national flag out.
Thalhofer started searching for people who had kept their flags flying, together with photographer Juliane Henrich. These encounters resulted in an interactive road movie that may be read as an image of the times, not just of Germany, but also of Western Europe.
The exhibition moved into the concept of homeland and the ambivalent feelings that national symbols may arouse. The flag appeals to feelings of unity and identity. But uneasy feelings about right wing radicals are never far away. Vergessene Fahnen poses questions about the stereotypes and prejudices of the viewer, and of the maker.
An edition of the cd-rom magazine Mediamatic Off-line was published alongside the exhibition with the complete Korsakow version of Vergessene Fahnen. The photos in the exhibition are by Juliane Henrich. A programme with accompanying workshops such as making sausage for vegetarians and a Nina Hagen Fan Club night, wentwith the exhibition. We also served Weißwurst with Bavarian beer.
Making the film Vergessene Fahnen was partly possible thanks to the Goethe Institut, in the context of German chairmanship of the EU.