Border Glitches and Territorial Proxies

daveYesterday Dave Young projected right into Ahland and presented on Border Glitches and Territorial Proxies. As a recently formed boundary, Ahland made a relevant location for such discussion. Young’s focus was on the geopolitical history of Rockall, a small uninhabited islet in the North Atlantic Ocean.

This talk extended the essay the artist wrote for the Ahlandian Writers Award, which can be read here. He also informed the audience of 20 about the history of the Bir Tawil triangle and there was discussion on ways to find loopholes in boundaries.

Dave played out to The Wolfe Tones, Rock on Rockall.

Oh rock on Rockall, you’ll never fall to Britain’s greedy hands
Or you’ll meet the same resistance that you did in many lands
May the seagulls rise and pluck your eyes and the water crush your shell,
And the natural gas will burn your ass and blow you all to hell.

And the floor was opened up to questions for the next half hour. We in Ahland would like to thank Dave Young for dedicating his time to this presentation and for sharing his research with us.

Ahland Welcomes Dave Young

Dave Young Poster

Border Glitches and Territorial Proxies


Why are Ireland, Britain, Iceland and Denmark all trying to claim
Rockall, an uninhabitable and apparently uninteresting islet in the
north-west Atlantic ocean? This talk provides a brief geopolitical
history of Rockall, and considers some other unusual instances of
contested borderlines around the world.

Dave Young is an artist and researcher. His research deals with the Cold
War history of networked culture, exploring the emergence of cybernetic
theory as an ideology of the information age and the influence of
military technologies on popular culture. His practice critically
engages with open source soft/hardware, copyright, and also in retaining
neutral and free public access to the internet.

Green, Pink and Grey

The Ahlandian flag is flown proudly above the meadows

The Ahlandian flag is flown proudly above the meadows

The now iconic Ahlandian flag with its inseparable green, pink and grey is today a  permanent fixture flying proudly above the country. The colours, which represent the founding members of the young micronation, are arranged into a design, which reflects the Kingdom’s creative ethos, and founding principles of its people.

From the country’s conception, the flag has been an important symbol of the Ahlandian independence movement. It has also been seen blue-tacked above the Scottish Embassy, the then headquarters of the government during its days in exile.

Flags have always been important politically, whether it is a mini shop front touting political ideas or, references to a nations past. James VI after being crowned James I of England used the union flag as propaganda in his own personal pursuit of a political union. Also, during the years of the Soviet Union, the hammer and sickle added to the flags of the member nations as a symbol of communism.

An early, rejected design, which references the Scottish flag.

An early, rejected design, which references the Scottish flag.

The design is strongly tied into one of the main founding ideals of Ahland; the staging of a platform for creative debates and discourse, surrounding notions of territory. The micronation acts as a stage and meeting place for these discussions, encouraging measured debates between visitors and citizens.

To this end, the green and pink section represents the stage, with the diagonal line the response. The straight, but angled line,  symbolises the considered yet creative responses it is hoped the discourse will produce.

Another early design, this time with a different take on the creative space

Another early design, this time with a different take on the creative space

Tourist Information


gggAhland Welcomes you!

The Ahland Tourist Information Office is located just outside of Ahland. Here you can find some information about Ahland and micronations complete with a map pinpointing other micronations, can sign up for citizenship, and purchase badges, postcards, screenprints and The Ahlandian Writer’s Award pack.

 

“A micronation is an entity that claims to be an independent nation or state but is not officially recognised by world governments or major international organisations.

Micronations are distinguished from imaginary countries and from other kinds of social groups by expressing a formal and persistent, even if unrecognized, claim of sovereignty over some physical territory. Several micronations have issued coins, flags, medals, stamps, and other items, which are rarely accepted outside of their own community.

 

On the 7th of April the Nation of Ahland requested independence and in line with the Lack of Reply Means Yes bill, have consequently seceded from the United Kingdom.

A consensus was reached of a need for a land in which creative people could live together in funness and metaphor. Since then population has grown by 25%, with a community of over three artists. Both precursory and arbitrary in nature, Ahland encourages a resourceful outlook on life. In recent weeks Ahland has established an embassy in Scotland, has developed an efficient newspaper, and is currently working on a national space program.”

 

 

Jeroen Laureyns takes the Speakers Circle

shot 4Jeroen Laureyns is a professor of Contemporary Art at St. Lucas Visual Arts, Ghent. Today he travelled to Ahland and took the Speakers Circle to talk about Flemish nationalism.

Ahland is a fitting location for discussions of nationality and independence. The Ahlandian Speakers Circle, geographically located close to the boundary with Scotland, provides a platform to discuss issues pertinent to the formation of boundaries (and for general ‘get it off your chest’s). The talk was followed by an informal Q&A which led to discussion on the upcoming referendum in Scotland, geopolitical debate, the European Union and boundary divisions in India.

Laureyns expressed his views against the separation of Flanders from wider Belgium. He talked of a hundred year struggle to implement the speaking of Flemish in schools, a particular achievement, and discussed the cultural attributes of both Flanders and Belgium. Language and its correlation to class structure was broached in reference to the French speaking monarchy. Laureyns, who has strong connections to both cultures, enjoys the collaboration of the two. He told the audience that to split the country in two would be to ‘cut his heart in two’.

Language and culture were identified as the main source of reluctance. Laureyns claimed it would be unbearable to only have one language to express himself in. The audience of visual artists and Ahlandians empathised with the need for expression and the desire to not sever ties with this.

Rational arguments were identified as being the sole campaign for Flemish independence. A need was expressed for the movement to identify more social and sentimental concerns. In issues of self-determination, wealth is not the only factor to consider. Jeroen Laureyns is uncomfortable with the ethnic nationalist approach of the Flemish independence movement. He described the Scottish Nationalists as ‘more progressive’ than the conservative views of the Flemish. It was interesting to hear the anti independence perspective on Flanders and to identify differences between this movement and what is currently happening in Scotland.

Jeroen Laureyns donated his book to the National Library of Ahland after his talk.

Neil Mulholland commented that issues of national independence should not be specific to ethnicity but to who physically resides in that country. The Scottish Independence debate is relevant not to Scots, but to people who live in Scotland.

Ahlandians, by default, have dual citizenship. I am Ahlandian: I am equally tied to my Scottish citizenship. I understand Jeroen Laureyns reluctance to have his culture divided but am aware that it is important not to generalise. Arguments on independence are specific to the countries they affect, and so the Scottish debate is not directly comparable.

Jeroen Laureyns is of Ahlandian citizenship too, and wore his pink Ahland badge while discussing the complications of multiple nationality. Tomorrow Ahland will welcome Dave Young to the Speakers Circle, also a citizen. Young will be addressing ‘Border Glitches and Territorial Proxies’. Both talk events are relevant to the Ahlandian cause and yet diverse in their specific subject matter.

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Beagles Bay

John Beagles, icon of the popular holiday destination Beagles Bay on the Ahlandian Islands, paid the mainland a visit.

Ahland opens to tourists in less than two hours and we eagerly anticipated Beagles reaction to all our efforts to get the nation into shape.

Beagles had this to say.

Beagles had this to say.

 

See you soon, tourists!