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Nationbuilding and artmaking, by Mike Watson / ArtReview

Nationbuilding and artmaking

Mike Watson on Santiago Sierra's 'Black Flag' project

By Mike Watson

Flags of the 12 original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, South Pole A raised anarchist flag, April 2012. Photo: Christopher Lucka. Licensed under Creative Commons

As Britain prepares for a referendum on its EU membership, the issue of what it means to inhabit an independent nation has been brought to the fore. This coincides with a rise in nationalism across Europe, which in turn has led to the increasing prominence of the symbols associated with identity, whether they be spoken, written or visual. In times of relative instability, the mechanisms of power – which are themselves in constant movement – are revealed. In the process,…

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