Nationalism and Sports; The only way to love

In collaboration with Patrick Blaeser.
Video Projection. 3 Channels.
Dusk to 11pm 
Reception April 30, 2010. 
Performance from 9-10pm

What builds nationalism in sport? Why did thousands of people wear flags and paint their faces with Canadian maple leafs? Why does nationalism constructed through an identity of competitive sports exclude diversity? Is there a legacy left behind after these moments of vibrant Canadian “identity” fueled by a hockey game, and gold medals?
Nationalism and sport are repeatedly entangled, as sports provide a framework for symbolic competition between nations; one of the primary forms of banal nationalism.
Contrary to the fundamental ethos of sports this type of nationalist antagonism is charged with deep hatred, violence triggered by competition, and passionate behaviors that allow interactions outside the norms of daily conduct. Traditionally the Olympic Games are the highest stage for nationalist competition, being reflected in their history of political conflicts going back to their re-establishment at the end of the 1800’s.

Considered a matter of national pride, sport events like the final hockey game (Canada vs. the U.S.), allow homoerotic interactions between supporting members of the same team, and homophobic remarks against the adversaries that otherwise would be consider unacceptable.
Nationalism and Sports; The only way to love, a multi-layered, 6 Channel video installation by Emilio Rojas that critiques the construct of the stereotypical Canadian male, translated into white, heterosexual, and hyper-masculine. The video portrays the contradictions that these buoyant instances of nationalism offered in Vancouver on the day of the closing ceremonies, and the branding of nationalism present during the Olympics. Capturing an unrepeatable moment in Canadian history where two of the most homophobic spheres; nationalism and sports, ironically come together through homoerotic imagery and the fragmentation of the boundaries of Canadian politeness. Going far beyond a simple documentation of a performance the piece invites the viewer to reflect upon the futility of banal nationalism in this post-Olympic moment.