Offenbach / 2016 / Installation and sound
The work Philotas is an artistic examination of the contradictoriness of German patriotism. I tried to make this ambivalence perceptible by a banner, as they are known from sport stadiums, but have also been used to demonstrate the power of military or state. In addition to the demonstration of unity, the mechanism of such choreographies also contribute to establishing the identity of the participants. The work is named after a piece written by Lessing in 1759 in which the protagonist Philotas dies as a martyr for his fatherland. Lessing firmly rejected this attitude. He chose a rhetoric which has been used and is still in use in Germany over the last 100 years, even of the respective prehistory. Be it in war memorials as a remain of the two world wars, during the German reunification, to the men’s football World Cup 2006 or in connection with recent movements such as Pegida, Identitäre Bewegung or other volkish nationalists. The installation stimulates the reflection and sensitivity of patriotism and rhetoric in the respective contexts, not didactically, but directly. For years, Germans have demanded a “healthy patriotism”. I wonder if there can be such a thing at all, because all the fragments are that closely linked and leading to exclusionary ideologies.