Irrational Exuberance Flags

The Irrational Exuberance Flag project is a participatory, site-responsive activation of a series of five flags and sashes. The flags declare unabashed enthusiasm. Rather than state or institutional power, these flags suggest emotional states or states of mind.

On January 26, 2013, the Irrational Exuberance Flag project was inaugurated with a public Flag Raising Ceremony at Montalvo Arts Center, in Saratoga, CA.

During the Flag Raising Ceremony, the first officially raised Irrational Exuberance Flag was selected by public vote and raised by a volunteer. Mini flags were distributed for voting and as keepsakes.

Over the course of the exhibition, the public was invited to sign up to select one of the five flags to hoist with the help of a staff member. Matching ceremonial sashes were available for use during the changing of the flag.

While traditional flags are heavily symbolic, what these designs and colors represent is not predetermined by the artist. They are intended as open-ended patterns upon which viewers project their own positive psychological affect. They form a semaphore of personal sentiment.

The project is also inspired by the acts of looking up, physically and figuratively; as well as the sensations of being airborne and feeling free.

Caption: Christine Wong Yap, Irrational Exuberance Flags, 2012–13, five flags and five sashes; flagpoles, bases; participation; flags: 48 x 48 up to 48 x 80 inches each, poles: 8 to 30 feet each. Supported by Lucas Artists Program at the Montalvo Arts Center. Photos: Susan O’Malley.

It was part of the exhibition, Happiness Is..., curated by Donna Conwell and organized by Lucas Artists Program at the Montalvo Arts Center.

Special thanks to Montalvo Arts Center, Lauren, Donna, Leah, Rick, Elizabeth, Susan, Dan, Kellen, and the Sicat family. Thanks also to all participants.