Sonja Hornung‘s Emptying Flags exhibition project last year displayed “meaningless” flags in public locations such as Haus am Köllnischen Park. Described as ‘interventions,’ Hornung hoisted her flags at international and state institutions, as well as dull, forgotten spaces. For this week only, reactions to her project, such as letters and documentation from embassies, are on view at the Neue Berliner Räume.
Sonja Hornung – view of “Emptying Flags” at Haus am Köllnischen Park (2013); courtesy Neue Berliner Räume, photo by Ben Busch
Hornung created the flags by rolling a die to determine design elements such as color and shape. With no historical or symbolic significance, these flags are technically meaningless, but when raised, they draw attention because of their conventional function as territory markers. As Hornung describes them, the reactions of passersby ranged from cynical to philosophical. However, the institutional reactions recorded and displayed at the Neue Berliner Räume were not so honest or spontaneous. Some of the letters are responses — and mostly rejections — to her inquiries about whether she could include her flags outside of embassies. The replies possess the passive political speech with which we are all familiar.
The reactions are mixed, suffused with suspicion and sometimes irony. In this follow-up exhibition, the archives and documentation present the range of responsive voices that offer a complete vision of the project and its influence.
More information about the original exhibition:
Blog entry by AJ Kiyoizumi in Berlin; Monday, Apr. 07, 2014.