Net.flag is a flag for the Internet. Every nation
on earth has a flag that identifies the territory of that nation, and
the flag is a symbol of conquest of new territory. One of the most memorable
images of the 20th century is a scene of the United States flag planted
in the rocky terrain of the moon, the emblem of an earthbound territory
apparently identifying the entire planet, or laying claim to the moon
In the new millenium we see nations trying to
lay claim to a new kind of territory, the Internet. This virtual territory
is no longer a geographic location, a new land with resources to be claimed.
It is a space created by man-made infrastructure that carries the potential
of information, group identity, economic and political advantage. Nations
and terrorists alike use the Internet to carry out their agendas. Those
who control the structures, both hard and soft, that make this new space,
control the nature of the space itself, providing or limiting access to
the resources of the network.
In the midst of this new space are the users
of the Internet, the early pioneers and later visitors that explore the
potential of this worldwide public space. These early adopters have had
an unprecendented freedom to explore new concepts of national and personal
identity in the distributed geography of the net. The familiar "dot com"
of the Internet domain
replaces the nation-state in a world where most nations do not yet have
official representation. Yet our experience tells us that political power
structures will move to control this space. What relationship is possible
between the existing national identities and the more fluid, distributed
domain branding that flourishes on the net?
Net.flag explores the flag as an emblem of territorial
identity by appropriating the visual language of international flags.
An online software interface makes this language of shapes and colors
available to anyone with web access. The visitor to net.flag not only
views the flag but can change it in a moment to reflect their own nationalist,
political, apolitical or territorial agenda. The resulting flag is both
an emblem and a micro territory in it's own right; a place for confrontation,
assertion, communication and play.
Mark Napier firstname.lastname@example.org