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Turkey: Use of the flag in art

Last modified: 2006-10-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: art | zaimoglu (feridun) |
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The Kanak.Attack installation in Vienna (Austria), March 2003

Feridun Zaimoğlu, a German writer and artist of Turkish origin, has completely covered the neo-baroque Kunsthall, an art museum located in the center of Vienna, with 420 Turkish national flags. The flags are of various size, the biggest being 3.70 m on 2.40 m. The installation will stay until 28 March 2003.
The installation caused the wrath of the governmental, extreme-rightist party FPÖ. Heinz-Christian Strache, one of the Vice Presidents of the party, said to the weekly Observer that if Austrians accept such developemnts, the survival and the safety of the Austrian cultural identity will be endangered. The populist daily Heute called the installation a provocation, saying that the Kunsthalle is now a "Turkish tent" and an "Ottomanized public building".
Zaimoglu admitted that his installation was a bit provocative; he named it Kanak.Attack - The Third Turkish Occupation?. Kanak is a derogative word used to designate foreigners. He wants to show that the second and third generations of Turks in Europe do no longer live separately but constitute an active movement.
The director of the Kunsthalle, Gerald Matt, said that the installation was a test for the society of Vienna.

The installation is associated to a series of discussions and lectures on "Islam and Occident", which shall take place for one week in a café in Vienna. These events should contribute to the debate on the incorporation of Turkey to European Union, which is massively rejected in Austria. Some 148,000 Turks lived in Austria in 2003, mostly in Vienna.

After AFP, 8 March 2003; full text and images are available on the Info-Turc website.

Ivan Sache, 24 May 2005