Identity Politics is an audiovisual art installation that questions the relationship between self and nation through a figurative flag (represented by a video projection) and the sculptural object of a flag pole. The video projection portrays human forms tangled in the colors of the U.S. flag, in perpetual actions and reactions. The nationalist colors constrain the figures and mask their underlying identity.
This installation is on the grounds of a former United States Immigration and Naturalization Service building. Questions of nationality surround not only the installation but the building itself and those who were strategically denied citizenship or detained within the walls for long expanses of time. The flag pole is gold, which refers to the millions of dollars the city made off of the Klondike Gold Rush just two decades ago, when the purpose of the building was to process and assess the value of gold brought in by miners from Alaska.
While the flag is in constant motion, pulled by shifting political ideologies, allegiant only to the hegemonic national discourse; the flagpole remains constant, fixed, and structurally solid - willing to erect any flag after the fall or rise of a nation. The act of planting a flag pole is a historic one, rooted in narratives of colonialism and cultural imperialism, symbolizing a “claiming of ownership” of land and its native inhabitants.