Advertisement spring 2016 / Picture by Lauren Raaijmakers
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Exhibition Overview / Brussels Art Departement, BE (2015)
During one of my previous projects, Explanatory Clippings: Q4 2014, I took a close look on how the printed news media brings certain narratives. One of the big breaking stories that got a frontpage follow-up nearly every day, was the Jihad-story. It was prominently present on a daily basis, if not on the front page then on the second page.
The feeling this word communicates evolved, and became more and more a container of fear. Just mentioning it generates a spark of fear, and even when it is presented every day on the front page of your newspaper, the power of this container of fear only gains in strength. The new pop-culture word, a commodity. Used as a political tool, a box which fits a vast amount of thoughts about threat, hate and fear. A box that is opened every day for us, letting out all that is inside.
I started an experiment in which I tried to open this container of fear myself, empty it, and fill it with something else. My first thought for a stuffing was sports related, as during my research I saw a great analogy in the terminology this jihad-story is described, to the the way sports are described. Both in image and in text. Wins and losses, gaining ground, losing ground, the big mouthing; ‚we’re going to crush you’, waving flags of their team colors, wearing uniform clothing, embracing certain symbols, making a lot of effort to create a proper fan-base etc..
So the experiment started, and I took the first steps in creating a sports-fashion label which uses the container of this word for new purposes, hoping the presence of the word in this westernized context will differentiate the feeling that comes with it, and starts the dismantling of this word-bomb. Start wearing Jihadis: the official merchandise, and join the force!
Mail me if you are interested in a jacket, shirt or pin.