The Current II: Deep Sea Minding: Surface
Expedition #2, led by SUPERFLEX
October 20 – November 3, 2019
Papua New Guinea

‘The Current’ Cycle II: SUPERFLEX, Expedition #2 ‘Deep Sea Minding: Surface’ Papua New Guinea, 2019.


Danish artist group SUPERFLEX travel to Papua New Guinea for their second expedition as they continue their three-year cycle as Leaders of The Current.

Deep Sea Minding is a three-year transdisciplinary research project developed by SUPERFLEX. It explores the deeper parts of our consciousness, merging art and science to create new understandings of marine species at a time when the deep sea is closer than ever. Deep Sea Minding considers whether the water will become a destructive force or an element of transformation and proposes the creation of structures that could serve the needs and desires of both humans and marine creatures. Commissioned by TBA21–Academy as part of the three-year fellowship The Current, SUPERFLEX depart to Papua New Guinea on Expedition #2 accompanied by oceanographers, material scientists, marine biologists, activists, and curators. 
Expedition #1 was an exploration of the deep sea, in Expedition #2, we will rise to the surface. Humans are bound to the surface of the Earth. Even when we climb the highest mountain we are still bound to the surface of the mountain. Only in the ocean the opportunity arises to break free from this constriction, submerging ourselves below the surface and immersing ourselves in its boundlessness.

Why would we want to go beyond the surface?

We know about the depths of the planet. We know that about 80 percent of life on the planet exists below the surface and we know that we know very little about these life forms. This planetary unconsciousness is mirrored by the depths of our own minds. We awake almost every morning with strange dreams of which we cannot explain.

Perhaps the rising surface of the ocean invites us to reimagine all the world’s surfaces. What if we were to understand this not just as a shift in the relation between the oceans and the land, but between our rational minds and the deep unconscious, between being human and being fish, between being dead and alive, between past and present. 

Papua New Guinea, South Pacific
Deep Sea Minding
Derya Akkaynak
Derya Akkaynak is a mechanical engineer and oceanographer (PhD MIT & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ‘14) whose research focuses on problems in underwater imaging and computer vision. In addition to using off-the-shelf RGB cameras for scientific data acquisition underwater, she also uses hyperspectral sensors to investigate how the world appears to non-human animals. Derya has professional, technical, and scientific diving certifications and has conducted underwater fieldwork in the Bering Sea, Red Sea, Antarctica, Caribbean, Northern and Southern Pacific and Atlantic, and her native Aegean. Akkaynak is an honoree for the 2019 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in physics & engineering for her post-doctoral research resolving a fundamental problem in underwater computer vision -- the reconstruction of lost colors and contrast. She currently works at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Florida, USA.

Camila Jaber
Mexican freediving national record holder and student of Engineering for Sustainable Innovation specializing in water resources and treatment, Jaber is an advocate for women's empowerment in her country and a volunteer in social programs that aim to reduce the huge gap of opportunities caused by economic differences in the mexican society.
“As an athlete my motivation to perform is to make my voice louder and reach more people about the problems the Oceans are facing and as a professional, I am specializing on improving how we clean our water, making it more efficient and avoiding new pollutants entering aquatic ecosystems and in consequence the Sea, as well as to contribute to the reduction of the water crisis we will face in the next years. I consider important addressing the fact that as consumers and citizens of the world, we decide which companies we want to support and what problems we are contributing to. 
I invite everyone to take a break, pause, breathe and reconsider their life structure and to think if they are working for the future they want to live in. Our planet's future is created by each one of us living in the present. 
I've found my place in the Ocean, I go to it for advice, enjoyment and to remember what I am here for.”

Jun Kamei
Biomimicry designer and material scientist Jun is a biomimicry designer with experience in material science research and product design. Juggling between London and Tokyo, between advanced research and design. He is currently working at the RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab, an international collaborative initiative between the Royal College of Art and the University of Tokyo. He is passionate about nature’s hidden design and our interaction with the surrounding natural environment.He is currently reimagining a new amphibian way of living for when our cities become a mix of permanently flooded area and dry architecture.

Shanee Stopnitzky
Is a complex systems and marine scientist, evangelist of embodying wonder, and mother of submarines. She recently founded the Institute for Emergence, an organization that employs the science of emergent phenomena to grow community, generate culture, and optimize conservation, particularly of coral reef ecosystems. 
She is also the founder and director of the Community Submersibles Project, an org that is dedicated to bringing submersibles and the importance of awe back into popular imagination. Shanee has spent a year of her life underwater in aggregate and plans to use what she has learnt from the subs as a stepping stone to build a diving underwater house in the future.
When not underwater, she likes to make large experiential art installations using fire, living butterflies, and boats. She likes to co-create not consume experiences and try to be a builder and propagator of objects and sentiments whose only purpose is beauty, whimsy or silliness. 
Stopnitzky is - in her own description - benevolent, irreverent, dreamer and potty mouth, with complex thoughts and a simple, gargantuan heart.

Joey Tau
Originally from Papua New Guinea and currently a resident in Fiji, Joey has worked in the Pacific for the past 10 years. He has a media and policy communications background, having also served Pacific mainstream media. I’m currently the media and campaigns officers for the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).
About PANG:
The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) is a regional watchdog promoting Pacific peoples’ right to be self-determining. PANG mobilizes movements and advocates based on substantive research and analysis to promote a Pacific peoples’ development agenda.

Daniela Zyman
Daniela Zyman is chief curator and artistic director of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), a private foundation established in Vienna by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza in 2002. The organization’s multi-tier mission is to commission, collect, and present the best of contemporary art through an ambitious program of exhibitions and events and to pursue urgent ecological, social, and political issues, especially since 2011 via its research platform TBA21–Academy. Daniela joined TBA21 in 2003 and has played an instrumental role in shaping its exhibition and commissions program. In 2020 she will be curating Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation and in 2021 SUPERFLEX’s exhibition at the Ocean Space in Venice. Between 1995 and 2001 Daniela was chief curator of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna, which included the founding and programming of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles.
From 2000 to 2003 she worked as the artistic director of the Künstlerhaus, Vienna and as director of A9 Forum Transeuropa, a program of Q21 in Vienna’s Museumquartier. Daniela holds an MA in Art History from the University of Vienna and an MFA from New York’s Columbia University. She has taught at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and at the Art Academy in Linz, and frequently authors essays for art catalogues and magazines. She is currently finishing her PhD in Cultural Studies on forms of artistic counter-research in the framework political ecologies.
SUPERFLEX is an art group founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen. Through a complex and diverse practice, SUPERFLEX challenges the role of the artist today and explores the nature of globalisation and the systems of power. Describing their work as tools, multiple areas of application or use are implied. SUPERFLEX’s practice is, as the name suggests, not bound to any form or context.

Find out more about SUPERFLEX here