Inkahoots: Vexed is Australia's latest typographic-focused interactive activism
“Is there anyone who wasn’t sick of 2020’s nationalistic sloganeering? Big and little Trumps all around the world rediscovered the brute power of propagandistic cliches” notes Inkahoots aka Australia’s disruptive design studio on their latest project called Vexed.
Vexed follows on from Unsettled, New Anthems and Hoisted, continuing Inkahoots’ critique of “sovereignty, nationalism and national identity through graphic design’s expressive modes of visual language.”
Inkahoots which was born as a community access screenprinting studio/arts collective literally presents a “gesture-controlled projected installation inviting participants to either wave or destroy flags displaying slogans of jingoistic nationalism” via Vexed.
“In Australia sound bites like 'gas-fired recovery' (using the pandemic as an excuse to cling to fossil fuel dependency) positions environmentalists as unpatriotic. Likewise, the unemployed – with rehearsed slogans such as 'you've got to have a go to get a go' (positioning the under-privileged as outside the national social-contract). While 'now is not the time' is the standard conservative cop-out, recently applied to everything from welfare and tax reform, climate change, First Nations rights, and pretty much anything that needs urgent action.”
As previously featured, vexillology which comes from the Latin vexare, meaning to shake, jolt or toss violently is the study of flags. “To be vexed is to be attacked, harassed or troubled” writes Inkahoots.
“Although there have been frequent efforts to criminalise the desecration of the national flag and make an offence of 'burning, mutilating or otherwise destroying a protected flag or ensign', it’s still legal in Australia. But the sensitivities around flags prove the potency of national symbols, and the related enduring potential of flag desecration for dissent and protest.”
Commissioned by the Institute of Modern Art for their Making Art Work initiative, Vexed aka Inkahoots’ invitation “to endorse or take revenge on Australia’s jingoistic nationalism” was live at the IMA in Brisbane from the 9th until the 22nd of December 2020.