Pennant - Warsaw MoMA 2012
High fidelity copy of a fan scarf for the speedway team Falubaz. The 40 meter long and 4 meter wide original was made by Falubaz fan club members in 2011 before the final race in Poland's national championship. Members of the club hung the gigantic tricolor on the statue of Christ the King in the nearby town of Świebodzin one night, and it was subsequently removed by the city's services the following morning. This "performance" gained popularity as images of the act spread rapidly via the Internet. Members of the fan club responsible for hanging the scarf currently face charges of religious offense, and the original scarf has been kept as material evidence in the ongoing investigation. As material evidence, the scarf is considered state property and will most likely be destroyed after the closing of the case.
[This faith was shared in 2011 by over 20 XIXth century orthodox iconsnwhich were brought to Poland illegally.]
The actions of the Falubaz fans and their consequences provide interesting material for discussion. Although the Polish Constitution solemnly declares a clear separation between Church and state, this incident lays bare the Polish state’s institutionalized defense of Orthodox Christian beliefs. The state’s choice to give preference to this set of beliefs has meant the denigration and punishment of the Falubaz fan club’s. Many sociologist warn against the same mistake being made against sport fans. Does it mean we should reconsider this values - specially if we want to claim separation of state and church?)
Another interesting element of the incident is the statue of Christ the King. How does it function in Poland’s symbolic landscape? We could also consider the importance of the performance in relation to its images, which are the "final product" distributed among fans and through the media. How does the physical scarf - or rather the photo of it - differ from the photoshopped collages and memes circulating in the net space? Do the legal consequences of the act heighten its importance? Or is its importance embodied in its “realness” and the as yet undescribed value associated with this quality, praised by individuals and communities in the virtual realm?
Wittgenstein’s conceptual investigation into the relation between word and object also comes into play: the original scarf is now by definition a piece of material evidence, the copy is an artwork, and both are too large to be truly worn as scarves. Additionally, at which point does such an object turn into an artwork at all, and by what means? Did the artist decide? Is the institutional context responsible? Is the hooligan scarf a scarf at all or is it a symbol, an attribute, or an artifact?