SUPERFLEX has been commissioned for the 2019 exhibition at Cisternerne.
It Is Not The End Of The World
In our current form, humans have roamed this planet for a mere period of 300,000 years-–less than 0.01% of the history of Earth. During our short stay we have managed to create a footprint on the entire ecosystem comparable to that of major natural disasters. A dystopian future seems to approach, at least for us humans. But it is possible to redefine the end of human life as a new beginning. Throughout history, Earth has shown its ability to transgress and redefine life again and again, and will continue do so in a post-human era. SUPERFLEX’s installation offers an alternative narrative about the shifting relationship between humanity and the environment while drawing attention to the cycle of human waste and the future of climate change.
Upon entering the exhibition the visitors are met with a “changing room”, allowing them to transform into archaeologists of the future and explore human structures submerged in a flooded space. To enter - and participate - visitors must wear waterproof footwear. Their travel through the water-immersed space will add to the subtle futuristic soundscape comprised of a reworked version of the 2002 Justin Timberlake hit "Cry Me A River".
The first work encountered is a landscape of toilets partially submerged in water, titled Power Toilets/UNFCCC. As an exact copy of the executive toilets of the Bonn headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it appears as a portrait of human consumption and our global struggle to counteract the damage this has inflicted.
Beyond this work visitors will find It Is Not The End Of The World, a work which presents the familiar title phrase as an LED light sign installation reminiscent of a commercial or informational billboard. The phrase proposes a different and more optimistic narrative and our role in – or absence from – the future development of our planet.
An omnipresent force, water is found within our own bodies and is essential to our survival. It is a crucial actor in the story of humanity and all life on Earth, but powerful enough to determine the fate of our species. Thus far, we have perceived ourselves to be the protagonists in the story of Earth’s life--but we are not in fact needed for this story to continue. Though often a nurturing and loving force, water may soon put an end to our destructive hubris and have its revenge.
Within a few human generations, it is estimated the global sea level will rise up to 2.5 meters. It is certain that we will become at least partially submerged--in the far future, perhaps completely underwater, and the human species will become but a myth. Perhaps we need to diverge from a human-centric narrative.
Perhaps we can even find closure knowing that the ruins of humanity will become infrastructure for Earth’s future inhabitants.
Power Toilets/UNFCCC is designed in close collaboration with NEZU AYMO architects.
Visit Cisternerne: https://cisternerne.dk/en/