Closing reception: Saturday, May 15, 7-10 pm
With a diverse practice that engages art, design and economic structures of dependency, Superflex challenges the role of artists in contemporary society. For this installation, the Copenhagen-based artists collective activates REDCAT with the independent manufacture of the natural soda, GUARANÁ POWER and a daily cinema featuring models of self-organization.
GUARANÁ POWER is a soft drink developed by a farming cooperative in Maués, Brazil in collaboration with Superflex. The drink contains guaraná, a plant native to the Amazon whose berries have long been harvested by indigenous communities for their medicinal and energy-giving properties. Recently, Maués guaraná farmers have formed the cooperative COAIMA to challenge the activities of multinational corporations whose sugary, diluted energy drinks have corrupted the physical and symbolic properties of the plant. These same corporations hold a monopoly on the purchase of the raw material, which has forced the price of guaraná down eighty percent, thereby undermining the sustainability of entire communities.
In 2003, Superflex was invited to collaborate with COAIMA by way of workshops to discuss new industrial and economic approaches to the situation. Together they came up with a variety of ideas including variations on existing products such as a popular energy drink, Antarctica. This became the model for a pirated or SUPERCOPY product called GUARANÁ POWER. GUARANÁ POWER is one attempt to disrupt the current economic equation of corporate dominance by appropriating the strategies of multinational capital, here global branding, in order to reclaim the integrity of local agriculture and industry. Turning the gallery into an independent bottling plant, SELF-ORGANISE/GUARANÁ POWER offers an example of how local economies can actively respond to the stranglehold of multinational corporations.
During SELF-ORGANISE/GUARANÁ POWER, Superflex will activate REDCAT with various presentations including a series of screenings focused on acts of self-organization. The members of Superflex - Rasmus Nielsen, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen - are visiting faculty in the School of Art at the California Institute of the Arts for the Spring 2004 semester.
Since its inception in the early 1990s, Superflex has developed a complex practice that brings together art, design, and commerce to challenge economic structures of dependency. Working in- and outside the physical location of the exhibition space, Superflex reinterprets the role of artists in contemporary society through professional collaborations and unusual types of activation of their audience. At the core of their practice is the development of what they call "tools" that enable activity, productivity, communication, and access. These tools connect communities to goods and technology. Ongoing examples include SUPERGAS an affordable, portable biogas project that processes animal waste into methane gas suitable for cooking and usable fertilizer, and SUPERCHANNEL, a network of local internet television studios used as discussion forum, presentation medium and physical gathering places, in which users control the creation and evolution of content. For more information on these and other projects, please visit www.superflex.net or www.superchannel.org.
SUPERFLEX/SELF-ORGANISE/GUARANÁ POWER is made possible in part by The Visual Arts Centre of The Danish Arts Agency with support from e-flux, RJ¹s Soda Service, and American Apparel. Gallery programs are made possible by the Booth Heritage Foundation and the JL Foundation.