Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nationalism and Sports: the only way to love exhibtion

Vivarium Gallery | Emilio Rojas | April 16- May 2

Emilio Rojas
Nationalism and Sports; The only way to love.
In collaboration with Patrick Blaeser.

What builds nationalism in sports? Why did thousands of people wear flags and paint their faces with Canadian maple leafs? Why does nationalism constructed through an identity of competitive sports excludes diversity? Is there any legacy left behind after these moments of vibrant Canadian "identity" fueled by a hockey game, and gold medals?

Nationalism and sport are repeatedly entangled, as sports provide a framework for symbolic competition between nations; one of the primary forms of banal nationalism.
Contrary to the fundamental ethos of sports this type of nationalist antagonism is charged with deep hatred, violence triggered by competition, and passionate behaviors that allow interactions outside of the norms of conduct. Traditionally the Olympic Games are the highest stage fornationalist competition, being reflected in their history of political conflicts going back to their re-establishment at the end of the 1800's. Consider a matter of national pride, sport events like the final hockey game (Canada vs. the U.S.), allow homoerotic interactions between supporting members of the same team, and homophobic remarks against the adversaries that otherwisewould be consider unacceptable.

Nationalism and Sports; The only way to love, a multilayered video installation by Emilio Rojas critiques the construct of the stereotypical Canadian male, translated into white, heterosexual, and hypermasculine. The video portrays the contradictions that these buoyant instances of nationalism offered, and the branding of nationalism present during the Olympics. Capturing an unrepeatable moment in Canadian history where two of the most homophobic spheres; nationalism and sports, ironically come together through homoerotic imagery and the fragmentation of the boundaries of Canadian politeness. Going far beyond a simple documentation of a performance the piece invites the viewer to reflect upon the futility of banal nationalism in this post-Olympic moment.

Vivarium Gallery.
2130 Yew Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Projected from dusk to 11pm.

Closing party TBA.