Hunga Tonga, 2019

Still: Courtesy the artists
Still: Courtesy the artists
Still: Courtesy the artists
Still: Courtesy the artists
Still: Courtesy the artists
Still: Courtesy the artists

Single-channel video installation, color, sound
21 min 22 sec
Commissioned by TBA21–Academy

SUPERFLEX’s film Hunga Tonga navigates the dreamscapes of earth, sea, and space, seen through the eyes and senses of humans, microscopic organisms and the newly-formed volcanic island Hunga Tonga in the South Pacific. The film is the outcome of SUPERFLEX’s expedition to Hunga Tonga aboard the good ship Dardanella in 2018 as part of a larger research project, Deep
Sea Minding. Commissioned by TBA21-Academy, under their recurrent program The Current, Deep Sea Minding merges artistic and scientific research to surface relevant data from the depths and propose a material future to serve the needs and desires of both humans and marine creatures. 

The exploration of Hunga Tonga, a unique corner in our planet where the frontier between land and sea went through an extreme transformation, brings a new view in the relationship between human life in the surface and existence in the depths. Exploring further, transgressing the limits of the sea surface and of time, overlooking a near future covered in water. Diving into the darkest depths of the Pacific ocean, becoming extremophiles, a primordial organism with an endurance of mythical proportions. With the ability to thrive in geochemically extreme environments, the extremophile lives in the deep sea vents and can rebirth itself under any conditions. At least, up until the weakest and most destructive species on earth started to dig in their cavernous homes, looking for rare metals to power their superfluous machines. Deep sea mining, a real threat forcing them to abandon the depths and seek the surface. In another time and chapter, the cinematic metamorphosis will turn towards humans, a rare marine species seeking adaptation on land, in the newly born island of Hunga Tonga. Emerging from a long time in the sea, their retained capacity of producing technology is their only weapon to adapt to an extreme environment. As if landing on a remote planet, their need to use all resources in hand is awakened from their deepest instincts. Melting the earth to transform nature into civilization, again. But in this imagined yet possible future, survival on land becomes unendurable. Humans long again for the sea, which somewhere in time became their home.

As the humans depart towards the sea, it is the island who will gain consciousness. On its wrinkled skin, the memories of persistent extremophiles and past humans remain engraved. As the marks left by Tavi, the Danish explorer, who lived in isolation on Hunga Tonga escaping the harshness of modern human conditions and merging with the island and the sea. But even nature undergoes processes of destruction and upheaval. Through a huge volcanic eruption, Hunga Tonga reset and rebirthed itself. Lava swallowed the land and built a new island.

As Hunga Tonga will tell you, there is no life, no island outside of time.
Superflex is a Danish artist group founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen. Superflex describe their projects as Tools, as proposals that invite people to participate in and communicate the development of experimental models that alter the economic production conditions. Often the projects are assisted by experts who bring in their special interest, these tools can then be further used and modified by their users.

This biography is from Wikipedia under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License