Signal Flags

One of the most famous uses of marine signal flags - Admiral Nelson signalling to his fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar 'Englerand Expects that every man will do his duty'
 One of the mains communication strands in NothingAboutUs is the use of Signal Flags to convey messages over long distances - we got interested in these flags a while back and they feature strongly in Sophie Manhire's lovely wee Flickr gizmo on the top right of the blog.

As you look deeper into the subject you begin to realise that there is more to this than initially meets the eye - there is no one universal flag code...in fact there are loads of them:

Compare the two systems above eg look at the flag for the letter M...completely different

NothingAboutUs using this phenomenom to underline the idea a multiplicity of voices are present in any conversation about the nature of a place.......the idea of somewhere 'speaking with one voice' is a dangerously outmoded idea.

In the project we are working with 4 specially created and different flag codes - one created by the crew of the Tallship (permanently moored on the North bank of the Clyde, opposite Govan) and the other three created by artists working with local groups in Govan. The artists working on the flag project are Geraldine Greene, Alexandra Bowie and Fiona Fleming

A group working yesterday on creating a set of flags around the role of women in Govan - projected image on the wall is Agnes McLean the prominent Trade Unionist from Govan who campaigned all her life for equal pay and conditions for working women.

Page from Alexandra Bowie's sketchbook with a list of the countries of origin of the people in the group she is working with to create a set of flags based on people who have newly arrived in Scotland
The Tallship will start signalling to Govan with flags on Monday 23rd April, the new Govan flags will start going up that week too - codes for reading the flags will be available in local shops and public places.

1 comment:

  1. Signal flags meant live or death in the past, and in some cases still today, especially at sea. Fascinating project!