In the Alien Hiker series, Finnish artist and researcher Maria Huhmarniemi stages ephemeral flags in the Austrian Alps using head scarves and hiking poles. The series has been updated to include three images of the Chugach Mountains surrounding Anchorage.
Flags often symbolize colonial or nationalistic agendas and carry connotations of conquest and domination. However, Huhmarniemi’s temporary scarf-flags are intended to make women’s presence visible within patriarchal structures and narratives.
Using scarves representing materials and designs from many different regions of the world, these makeshift flags signal the fluidity of culture beyond borders. Rather than tools used to divide, claim, and exclude, they aim to ‘make space’ for more inclusive and balanced relationships between people and land. The obvious impermanence of the flags speaks to an idea of sustainability predicated on movement and change.