Over the past six years many people have asked me about the flags and the symbols of Landskeria. About their meanings and origins. At least one person per year. There is no short, entertaining answer to the questions; so I usually provide an unsatisfactorily brief or flippant response for fear of boring the questioner to death. This blog-post is being composed without that fear, for the purpose of providing anyone with more than a passing interest with a proper answer.
In short, there have been two recognized (i.e. official) Landskerian flags to date, both as ideological concepts and physical objects. There was no overlap between them in terms of their official function as representative banners of the Landskerian people; but both have held official status at different times. Their names are The New Leaf and St Dogmael’s Cross. We will address them chronologically:
1. The New Leaf: the flag of the Most Serene Republic of Landskeria
The first flag used to represent the Landskerian people and the Most Serene Republic of Landskeria (a state identified with a property at which we then lived), was officially called “The New Leaf”. It was a black-white-black Canadian pale design (i.e. measuring 1:2 in ratio, with a central white square bounded on both sides by black rectangles exactly half its size). The central motif was referred to as the “punctus”, short for “punctus interrogativus”, and sometimes an “eroteme” or (erroneously) a “doubt point”. The symbol was a stylized adaptation of a digitized picture of one of the earliest known instances of a question mark, scrawled by a medieval monk in Roman script in a document written in Latin. The symbol was adapted by Alexander Velky (me, hello) and graphically rendered by design professional (and brother) Zef Cherry-Kynaston for use on the national flag and coat of arms of the Most Serene Republic of Landskeria – a micronational entity which was declared during the reading of a poem called “Landskeria” in London on December 1, 2015. A mural of the coat-of-arms incorporating the flag on a Polish shield was painted on the side of the house that we lived in circa 2015. Since we no longer live there I can’t say for sure if the mural still exists.
The physical flag was made to order by MrFlag®, Swansea based on Alexander Velky’s design, and was displayed at the Most Serene Republic on numerous occasions, indoors and out, between 2015 and 2017. When the Republic was dissolved (in August 2017) the flag ceased to be a state flag and became (for the period of time between August 2017 and the receipt of the new flag in summer 2021) the de facto flag of the Landskerian people (who had become temporarily stateless). Thanks to its focal symbol, the punctus, the New Leaf had a close association with Doubtist Books, a publishing company printing and distributing Alexander Velky’s poetry books, using a modified version of the same logo with the point corresponding to the O in DOUBTIST since as early as 2013. The borrowing of the punctus from the logo of the publishing company is indicative of the cultural origins of the “Republic”.
In terms of its symbolism, the black and white was intended to be visually striking (of course) and to provide a jovial counterpoint to the philosophically grey “doubtism” that the punctus represented. The “New Leaf” implied a blank page upon which, instead of words or symbols denoting messages of certainty, or adherence to an accepted creed, the nation would be guided by the spirit of questioning, and doubt.
The New Leaf became slightly mouldy during storage in an outbuilding in 2018, but it’s now on temporary display in the mill, and it is intended that it will one day be an exhibit in the Museum of Landskeria. It no longer represents the Landskerian state or people; but it is not illegal for Landskerians to display the physical flag or to reproduce its image.
2. St Dogmael’s Cross: the flag of the Glorious Kingdom of Landskeria
The new flag was arrived at by accident. The Landskerian people needed a new flag as the Republic had been dissolved and the old flag was thus laden with the political baggage of that episode. While tending a bonfire in summer 2020 I noticed an old corroded brass knob in the embers, which had become separated from a rotten desk drawer.
I removed it and cooled it, and trimmed the broken fragments which attached the knob to its drawer from around the central circular motif. I polished it with wire wool and rotated it 45 degrees around its central axis. Being pleased with the shape, and its potential potency as a symbol, I searched for previous uses of the symbol to ensure it wasn’t already associated with any known political entities (or hate groups!) Being satisfied that it was not, I decided it would be the new symbol of Landskeria, and the central motif of the flag of the Glorious Kingdom of Landskeria.
So to say that the symbol is taken from an old drawer knob is entirely true. And this is what I usually tell people. But it does not tell the whole story; because as a symbol it is laden with meaning, in that I have bestowed a meaning to it: and that meaning is Landskerianism.
I am wary of reducing the philosophy of Landskerianism to words, because this risks limiting it. To put it as simply as I am able, Landskerianism as of this decade is characterized by pantheism and doubtism. Pantheism is a belief that reality is synonymous with divinity; that life and existence and matter and natural law equate to god. Doubtism is an approach to art and life (with its origin in the cultural history of Landskeria) focused on a quest for questions. Thus the symbol of St Dogmael’s Cross in simple terms represents everything (alternatively: the universe, or god). But it is also intended to serve as a call to enquiry and a nurturing of the spirit of wonder.
(The Glorious Kingdom essentially functions more or less the same as the Most Serene Republic. It just has different branding…)
St Dogmael’s Cross has no historical link with the medieval Welsh saint Dogmael/Dogfael after whom numerous villages and churches (including our own local church) are named. Nor is it a Christian symbol, inasmuch as the cross incorporated into it is no more representative of a crucifix or a following of Christ than it is of anything else in existence. (Remember: it is a symbol found on a drawer knob which represents everything.) Nevertheless, the symbol and the flag are named after St Dogmael because of his close association with this area and its history, and because of the popular imagined version of Welsh saints in the age of miracles: their quests for god, and their spirit of wonder. No records remain of miracles attributed to St Dogmael, but in Landskerian lore the cross represents his spiritual quest (i.e. his life) as much as all of ours.
The flag was designed by Alexander Velky using the template of the New Leaf but replacing the punctus with St Dogmael’s Cross in a brick-red hue, chosen to emulate the readily available outdoor paint colour previously used on the Cofiwch Gwmcerwyn rock, and harking back to the utilitarian artistic inspiration for Landskeria observed in the anarchist commune of Christiania, and its iconic flag.
It is important that the symbol is easy to replicate.
That is all.
A Velky, 27/09/2021.