Images 002



FR IMG index

FR—001: ”A brief study on Rojava” Medium article, written by Marisa Miller as a culmination of preliminary research.

FR—002: PKK flag, extruded and sculpted into a fantastical landscape.

YPJ flag 

FR—004: PKK flag

FR—005: YPG flag

FR—006: YPJ, YPG, and PKK flag forms, extruded and sculpted into landscapes and architectural structures. Clay, laser-cut wood, adhesive, pigment, and liquid latex. Displayed in the Design Academy Eindhoven MU space.

Chapter (4)
~ Flags, Rojava

We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.

 - Ursula K. Le Guin at the 65th National Book Awards, 19/11/14


Reading the Left Hand of Darkness in January a little before Ursula K. Le Guin’s death inspired a line of thought about stretching the imagination to envision non-capitalist futures.
The idea of building other worlds (and the heartbreak around it) set the tone for the research on Rojava. 

The cold plains of Left Hand triggered thoughts on the brutality of forming other worlds, an eerie reference for all the recent news on the Kurdish struggle against the Turkish state.  I had become unwittingly fascinated with an image of a female-presenting PKK fighter hauling a grass camo shield up a mountain. The act of looking felt wrong somehow, like watching someone else’s intimate pornography.

Rojava is one name for the contested territory of North Syria that Turkey began invading 20th of January. Rojava’s ideology and successes are surprising. Besides the Zapatistas in Mexico, there’s nowhere else on earth right now where a group of people have built a society based on truly radical principles.

It hit this part of me that’s been sapped of hope by American degradation and it’s poisonous global tentacles. The only thing that provides a glimmer of hope is the fight. And Rojava is a fight that’s won ground. Of course like any revolution, the purity of Rojava’s rhetoric doesn’t exactly match the reality. According to researchers Juan Masullo and Francis O’Connor, the PKK (allies of Rojava’s Peoples’ Defense Forces) collectively targeted and killed civilians and school teachers in the early 1990s as a strategy to weaken enemies. And regarding Rojava’s gender equality ideals,  “physical attacks on women nearly doubled in the first years of the revolution,” resulting in the creation of PYD women’s courts and justice committees to protect women’s safety. Lastly, Turkish media claims that the YPG (Peoples’ Defense Forces) has forced unwilling teenagers into military service.

However, based on the quality of English-language information available on Rojava, the good vastly outweighs the bad.

All over the world, symbols and flags connect the Kurdish diaspora and display its power in numbers. A glue for stateless people. Like ancient Median bronze crests sewn into leather flags, there’s a beauty synthesized into these representative forms that influence communal emotions much like religious iconography.

Flags, Rojava is an abstract blueprint for a world that doesn’t exist. Taking the PKK, YPG, and YPJ flags as a base model, the yellow, red, and green geometries are exruded into landscapes and architectural structures. The resulting 1:250 scale models are formed with the intention to transmit the intangible material found in the symbols themselves. Science-fiction helps facilitate the wild imagination in service of another world, free of the cynicism and systematic conditioning of Americanization. These are embryonic maps for that world.