JOHANNA VAN OVERMEIR
Washing Flags

Washing Flags – AINEROS, performance, ‘How to document a Performance’ Belgium Performance festival III, 2016, 1620'

For this performance I look at each of the 193 national flags of the world, and calculate what would be their average colour by mixing their individual components. I apply these new colours to 193 new flags by dyeing and drying them, after which I put them up in the manner of Tibetan prayer flags on the site of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). As these flag cords are flying in the wind, I sit by and keep watch. After sleeping a little I start calculating again. This time I take the English names of all the countries and mark the number of letters in every name. The average is seven letters, as many as there are in the word BELGIUM. Then I compute how often each letter of the alphabet occurs in the collection of country names. While noisy fraternities hold their initiation ceremonies on the university site, I randomly configure the word AINEROS out of the seven most common letters. Searching for a possible meaning I am told by the Italian Wikimedia that the similar word 'Aineros' is a synonym name for the Greek mountain Athos on the peninsula Calcidica, and that it is derived from the Turkish language where it means 'sacred mountain'.