Still Defending denmark Images

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Still Defending denmark Images

DEFENDING dENMARK is "an international campaign to rebrand the country of Denmark". The project is part of a lager study of the nation state and its contemporary condition by Wooloo Productions. Utilizing performative means to explore the on-going crisis experienced by Western welfare states, the DEFENDING dENMARK project evolve around a number of interventions and performances that took place in Denmark and Morocco between 2005 and 2006. For a better understanding of the project , it can with advantage be divided into three main parts: Part 1: Traveling to Morocco in the wake of the Muhammad caricature crisis to promote Danish products. Part 2: Intervening internally with the ultra-right Danish People’s Party through membership (for 18 months) of the party’s youth wing. Part 3: Intervening externally with the ultra-right Danish People’s Party by officially establishing the organization “Defending denmark” and publicizing videos of the Danish People’s Party mocking the Prophet Muhammad. PART 1 On Sep. 30th 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Muslim organizations opposed the publishing and due to gross mismanagement of the situation from official Danish side, the controversy evolved into an international crisis in early 2006. This crisis caused severe setbacks for Danish industry and commerce – primarily in the Middle East. As a response to this situation, Wooloo Productions went to Morocco in March 2006 to promote the qualities of Danish products in the region. Wooloo Productions smuggled Danish beer and cheese to Morocco. It was then put back on supermarket shelves and sold to locals. At the medina in Marrakech, Wooloo Productions also set up a small stall with the sign: “Danish Caricatures – 1 Dirham”. Two Wooloo Productions members then dressed in red-and-white and drew caricatures of pass-buyers for money. The stall turned out to be quite popular. PART 2: In March 2005, a member of Wooloo Productions joined the youth wing of the Danish People's Party (DPP) to document the Party's extreme right wing associations and develop a strategy for changing the party’s racist image. For 18 months, the Wooloo Productions member went to official DPP gatherings and documented party meetings by still camera and video. The member followed two rules during this period: He never told a lie and he never used a hidden camera. Using his official party member status, the member introduced the DPP leadership to the organization “Defending denmark” in the summer of 2006. Defending denmark suggested helping the DPP denounce all forms of racism and hate speech. As all other parties in the Danish parliament, the DPP is officially anti-xenophobic. However - and as expected - the DPP refused all attempts at changing their “image.” Such attempts included Wooloo Productions giving a talk at a DPP meeting, suggesting ways (inspired by self-help/marketing books, such as The Power of Full Engagement by J. Loehr and T. Schwarz) in which the party could change their outward attitude by change of dress, speaking, eating and exercise. For a while, a dialogue with the DPP leader continued, but this finally ended on Sep. 7th 2006 when the DPP expelled the Defending denmark member from their party. PART 3: On October 5, 2006, after several failed attempts at dialogue with the Danish People’s Party, Wooloo Productions (as “Defending denmark”) released video material - recorded at DPP's official youth party gathering in August the same year. The videos was published on www.defendingdenmark.com and documented the youth wing of the extreme-right party drawing the Prophet Mohammad as a beer-drinking camel and a drunken terrorist attacking Copenhagen. The story went on national TV and from here on to Al-Jazeera and the rest of the world. Before long, media outlets everywhere were portraying the Muslim community in both Denmark and abroad as being on the verge of violent protests. Images of burning Danish flags were re-used from the media archives of previous crisis, while the fact was that every major Imam dismissed the current episode as being of no great importance. The videos were only uploaded for a total of 72 hours (Oct 5th-8th 2006), but received several hundred thousand views in this period. Having generated the desired attention to the fact that the Danish government collaborates with the extreme right, Defending denmark removed all videos in respect for religious sentiment. CONCLUSION In conclusion, the Defending denmark project aims to make a “cultural DNA sample” of Denmark in the beginning of the new millennium. It becomes clear that the current socio-political situation in Denmark in no way is unique. Rather, it must be understood as part of a widespread nationalistic upheaval, taking place throughout Western Europe. Facing the challenges of an increasingly globalized economy, combined with internal demographic questions such as the issue of an aging population, and a growing number of immigrants and refugees, the traditional social democratic welfare state is undergoing vast transformations everywhere. Unfortunately, this includes a rise in new forms of xenophobia fuelled by the media and capitalized upon by populist political parties. Fat, 264 pages, Published by Peoples Press, 2006

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